Q&As: The Basics

What is Panchakarma?

Panchakarma is an intensive, highly personalised Ayurvedic detoxification and cleansing programme.

Meaning ‘five therapies’ in Sanskrit, it uses a series of five elimination treatments to help remove deep-rooted stress and illness-causing toxins from the body, while balancing the bio energies (doshas) that govern all biological functions. These treatments are followed by a strict dietary and herbal regimen, a rejuvenating therapy and recommendations for daily routines.

Why do I need it?

The human body is constantly undergoing detoxification through natural processes like breathing, urination, bowel elimination and sweat; but it also accumulates a variety of other toxins from environmental, dietary and lifestyle factors that are harder to process.

These toxins may include micro organisms and their secretions, toxins from food (pesticides, colouring agents, alcohol etc) and environmental toxins (from smog, dust etc). An accumulation of toxins in the body results in diseases.

The purpose of Panchakarma is to eliminate and reverse the effects of these toxins, restoring the body’s natural state of health.

Does it work?

Ayurveda has millions of dedicated followers across the globe, many of whom use regular detoxification therapies like Panchakarma to maintain robust health and treat various illnesses.

In the modern world, it is almost impossible to avoid the environmental and lifestyle toxins that directly affect the internal harmony of the body’s bio energies (doshas). To counteract this imbalance, regular Panchakarma helps restore optimum health.

What does it involve?

Panchakarma comprises five elimination therapies, each split into three parts. Participants usually undertake a repetition of two or three therapies in accordance with their needs.

Each part of each therapy involves a variety of treatments, massages and therapeutic procedures to identify, liquefy, eliminate and remove toxins. In addition, Panchakarma is always accompanied by a special detoxification diet.

The five therapies are: Therapeutic Emesis (Vamana); Therapeutic Purgation (Virechana); Nasal Medication (Nasya); Therapeutic Enema with Decoction (NiroohaVasti); and Therapeutic Enema with oil or ghee preparations (Anuvasana).

The three stages are: Pre-treatment (Purva Karma); Elimination Procedure (Pradhana Karma) and Post-treatment (Paschat Karma).

Q & As: The Process

Do the intense detoxification treatments start as soon as I arrive?

No, Panchakarma begins with a Pre-Treatment or preparatory phase, which helps the body prepare for the main elimination stage.

How long is the preparatory stage?

It takes three to seven days to prepare the body, depending on the individual. Our Ayurvedic Physicians will meet you daily to assess your progress.

What happens during the preparatory stage?

During the preparatory stage, you have to drink a medicated ghee preparation, which will be prescribed by our Ayurvedic Physicians based on your health needs. The medicated ghee binds and encapsulates toxins in an oily layer, making it easier to dislocate and eliminate them from deep tissues.

You will also receive special Ayurvedic massages, yoga and a personalised diet plan during this period, comprising light, semi-solid, easy to digest meals (mainly rice-based preparations with proteins of plant origin). This diet is gentle on the digestive system, which is essential for regaining the optimum health of all systems in your body.

Will the ghee affect my body weight or cholesterol level?

The medicated ghee will not affect your body weight or cholesterol level. It will, in fact, help to reduce body weight and bad cholesterol. The human body needs fat for the proper functioning of all body systems, especially the nervous system as fat helps to neutralise/absorb and eliminate toxins.

My aim is to lose weight, won’t rice based carbohydrates increase my body weight?

Avoiding carbohydrates is not a healthy way to regulate body weight. Carbohydrate is the primary energy source of our body and the human brain needs a constant supply of carbohydrates to function. Avoiding carbohydrates will adversely affect all your body functions and make you more vulnerable to stress and diseases.

The special preparatory diet stage of Panchakarma helps your body cope with energy level fluctuations and will effectively metabolise medicated ghee to ensure a thorough detoxification. As such, the diet can help to achieve your optimum body weight.

What happens during the elimination stage?

During the elimination stage, our Physicians will prescribe specific medicines to eliminate the toxins. The elimination processes will be decided during your initial consultation and all will be done under medical supervision. In the case of emesis and purgation, the elimination will be completed in six hours. Enemas and nasal medication may be administered more than once based on specific needs.

What happens during the post treatment stage?

The post treatment stage is the rehabilitation stage where the body gains more strength. During this stage, the diet will be almost similar to regular food. You can take part in activities and will experience Ayurvedic massages, yoga, medicines and simple lifestyle regulations.

Why should I go through all these three stages? Why can’t I just do the detoxification / elimination stage?

The three stages are highly important for a safe and effective Panchakarma programme. The preparatory and rehabilitation phases ensure a deep and safe elimination of toxins and balancing of the dosha.

I want to do a detox programme but not with a strict diet plan or any lifestyle restrictions. Do you have any suggestions?

Without diet and lifestyle regulations, it is impossible to do Panchakarma. In this case, we would recommend experiencing one of our Ayurvedic Immersions instead, with minimal or no lifestyle and diet regulations. We can also incorporate a mild detoxification into your Immersion programme. Panchakarma focuses on providing high-level health benefits, whereas Immersions focus on the experience and education of an Ayurvedic lifestyle.