What is Pancha Karma?
Pancha Karma is Ayurveda’s elegant system of purification and rejuvenation. The procedure is simple, yet the effects are profound. Physical impurities and accumulations become layers of a mask that keep us from our essential nature, true health, and radiance. The ability to be a clear, loving, and effective presence in the world is clouded by the toxic accumulations in body, mind, and emotions. Pancha Karma is a process of slowing down, taking a closer look at yourself, and identifying with the divine light within yourself from that place of silent observation. It is the cornerstone to Ayurvedic management of disease, which gets to the root cause of the problem and re-balances the body, mind, and emotions, allowing healing to occur. Pancha Karma leads us inwards to our center. It is an ancient 5,000-year-old Ayurvedic therapy that opens up a conversation between ourselves and our bodies, in a gentle, loving way. Toxins on a physical or mental level act as barriers to the harmonious flow of our life-force within our bodies. Pancha Karma softens our tissues, so the toxins can liquefy, and flow back into the digestive tract from where they are purged.
How is Pancha Karma administered?
The body is prepared through gentle and luxurious practices to allow for effortless elimination of toxins (ama) and imbalances in the body, mind, and emotions. Abhyanga is a traditional full herb-infused oil massage designed to open energy channels in the body. This treatment balances, harmonizes, purifies, and rejuvenates the body and mind. Swedhana, which follows Abyanga, is a purifying herb steam bath. This treatment dilates the scrotas (body channels) promoting the elimination of toxins by activating the sweat glands. Shirodhara is the next treatment which begins with a special preparation of herbal oils. The oil is heated, and a soothing, steady stream of this oil is poured onto the forehead directly over the third eye. This treatment calms and nourishes the nervous system.
In conjunction with these Ayurvedic treatments which are the basis for Pancha Karma Treatment, the gastrointestinal tract is cleansed and nourished with herb-infused enemas (bastis). Through the inhalation of special oils (nasya), the sinuses and the entire head region are opened and purified of ama, providing greater clarity. The removal of ama is additionally facilitated by a special diet which rests the digestion. A specially designed medication also assists in pulling ama out of the tissues and the gastrointestinal tract. It is important during Pancha Karma to be in a relaxed environment and state of mind. Spending time in nature, meditation, and practice of yoga are important in bringing awareness to habitual thinking, and to allow release of mental and emotional toxins. For ama to be released in body, mind, and spirit, the mind needs to be relaxed and willing to let go. During this time, phone calls, television, and normal daily activities should be avoided. Taking time to be with your self is part of the healing. The time away from our daily routine aids in healing and reconnection with our own natural rhythm.
The Pancha Karma treatment concludes with a purgative. After softening the tissues through Abhyanga, Swedhana, Basti, Nasya, Shirodahara, and calming activities, ama is easily eliminated through the gastrointestinal track on the last night of treatment
Following this cleansing, we have the opportunity to rebuild the body at a new level. Ayurveda uses tonic foods and rejuvenation herbs (rasayanas) to give renewed strength, radiance, and improved overall heath.
What is the difference between Pancha Karma and other detoxification programs?
The main difference between Pancha Karma and other modalities of detoxification is that while others tend to cleanse the colon and body in a drastic, impersonal way that can often be harsh on the inner lining of the intestines and also demanding on our mind and emotions, Pancha Karma works in a gentler way and penetrates more deeply into the tissues for the removal of ama. Always in connectedness, and from a holistic place, under the guidance of an experienced practitioner, with the help of herbs, oils, steam, and emotional nurturing, toxins soften, liquefy, and dislodge. Through the gentleness of the therapies and personal support, the overall message the body and soul receive is one of acceptance, nourishment, and release.
People receiving Pancha Karma treatments often remark how much more connected they feel with themselves. Their weight and appetite balance out, they are re-vitalized and motivated. Bone and muscle pain can minimize or disappear. Deep sleep patterns reoccur. Digestion and assimilation harmonize. This ancient 5000-year-old practice of detoxification, while evolving to suit the times of modern culture, carries with it the eternal knowledge of life.