Panchakarma: Complete Mind/Body Purification

Spending the Christmas holidays undergoing Panchakarma in India was quite an unusual yet expected scenario for me this year, given I’ve spent the past 12 months studying Ayurvedic Medicine. A time usually spent with family and friends, eating, drinking and being ‘merry’ has turned into 30 days of complete in-ward attention as my body works to restore itself.

While I often get questioned why someone so young would need to engage in such a thing, I can confidently and proudly say that it really is the most beautiful gift you can give to yourself. Your whole self: Mind, body and spirit. Because Christmas is all about giving, right?

What is Panchakarma?

Panchakarma is a high-level purifying therapy of Ayurveda and is the oldest scientific system for natural detoxification and rejuvenation of the body in the world today. It brings transformative results on all sorts of levels including strength and youthfulness to the body and calmness to mind. It is said that Panchakarma therapy reduces your biological age by one to five years. 

According to Maharishi Ayurveda, some of the benefits include:

  • Purifies the body by draining out toxic substances.
  • Prevents the reoccurrence of disease and makes the body healthier.
  • Brings order to the digestive system and improves metabolism affected by irregular food habits.
  • Reverses biological age.
  • Provides luster to the skin.
  • Reduces free radicals which are the leading cause of all disease, cancer and death.
  • Reduces bodily complaints, irritability, bodily strain, and psychological inhabitation.
  • Decreased anxiety, depression as well as greater emotional stability.
  • Reduces doctors visits by 80%.

Benefits are usually not felt until 40 days after your first day of treatment.

How does it work:

A full Panchakarma treatment cuts no corners and works on both the inside and the outside of the body all at once. From the outside it uses a combination of precise treatments such as Abhyanga (oil massage) Shirodhara (head oil application), Basti (herbal oil application on key marma points) and Nasya (nasal, sinus, head treatments). While internal lubricating/eliminating therapies and rasayanas (rejuvenate herbs and tonics) work on the inner body to beautify you from the inside out.

Generally, a minimum of 23 days is required to work through three phases.

“The first stage is devoted to loosening the impurities and imbalances (excess doshas) in the physiology; the second phase continues this process and moves the toxins towards the nearest opening where they can leave the body; the third phase is focused on the complete removal of toxins and restoration of balance between the three doshas (fundamental mind/body humors or functions)”
– drraju.com  

Ayurvedic View on Disease

According to Ayurveda, everything in the universe lies within us. Interaction between a person and the environment happens through the interplay of bodily doshas (Vata, Pitta, Kapha) and the energetic qualities of the given environment. Inappropriate diet, bad habits, unbalanced lifestyles, suppressed emotions, stress, relationships etc. experienced throughout life contribute to the disturbance of our internal balance of the doshas.

Overtime, these things manifest and directly affect our Agni (digestive fire). When our digestive fire is weak, indigestion and confusion result, making even the most naturally wholesome organic food a source of Ama (toxicity).

Once toxins enter the bloodstream, they clog the channels and gather in sites where energy is low. It clouds the mind and with an unconscious mind we are less likely to make good choices that support our health. E.g. drugs, alcohol, coffee, take-out, toxic relationships etc.

Panchakarma is the best way to hit RESET and really get back to our true nature.

My Experience

As you read this, I am at Dr Raju’s Institute of Ayurveda in Hyderabad, India to experience authentic Panchakarma therapy.

I’ve been no angel when it comes to some of the choices I’ve made in regards to food and substances I’ve put in my body. Being so driven to achieve study and work goals for most of my life, I often lived an unbalanced lifestyle and neglected and showed no love to my body.

Since taking on an Ayurvedic lifestyle I’ve seen incredible improvements to my health on all levels, but the reason I took on Panchakarma is because I know there was still deep-seated stress and suppressed emotion (ie. vitiated doshas) needing to be released. 

I could write pages on all the experiences my body has gone through during this process but I’ll keep that personal. Instead, I’ll simply say, GET ON A PLANE TO INDIA AND SERIOUSLY DO IT!

Best Part: The treatments. I have experienced Ayurveda in Australia and parts of India and I can honestly say the treatments here are the best I’ve ever had. All of the oils, herbs and preparations used for the treatments have been processed with ancient vedic procedures to enliven the healing and are given according to the condition of your body on the day.  My absolute favorite treatment is Shirodhara, (oil stream to the forehead) mainly used for Vata problems (issues with movement and neurological problems). You completely bliss out every time!

Hardest Part: Fortunately, I didn't experience much physical pain but I found the hardest part was letting go of old memories. I’m an emotional person but I don’t think I have ever cried this much! So many people suppress their emotions because they are scared to feel pain. Feeling emotion is good. I’ve learnt to feel it, enjoy it and let it go. You feel so much lighter and clearer after an emotional release. 

My Highlight: Having the opportunity to see both Dr. J.R. Raju and Dr. Krisha Raju for my pulse diagnosis. It is absolutely incredible how both Vaidyas are able to tell you everything that is going on in your physiology all by looking at you and feeling your pulse. It takes years and years of practice and the Raju family have knowledge passed down for generations. I feel absolutely blessed to get to experience this in this lifetime.

To Summarise

Panchakarma should never be considered a quick fix for an inappropriate diet and lifestyle, but rather a part of ongoing self-care. In fact, it’s recommended that standard PK is taken annually.

A better you means a better person to everyone you come in contact with in this lifetime. I’m a big believer that what you are is what you attract and if you want to attract good things into your life, then you need to start loving yourself and treating yourself right first. And it’s never to late to do that.

Start now. I encourage you to take some time out for yourself to truly go in-ward and focus on what you want to achieve this year. I never would have imagined myself in India a year ago, but it’s amazing what you can do when you reset your focus to what is truly important to you. For me, it’s health and happiness - the ultimate goal of life.

A blessed and happy 2016 to all x

For more details about Dr Raju’s Institute of Ayurveda and Panchakarma, head to drraju.com. There are some amazing testimonials worth reading!

To be able to experience these authentic treatments in Australia, please contact me