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How Panchakarma Can Rev Up Metabolism And Make You Feel Younger

The five-step mind-body rejuvenation treatment straddles elements such as massages, steam baths, cleansing enemas, purifying practices and a healing diet.

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Ayurveda, one of the world’s oldest medical systems, talks about the balance between the mind, body’s constitution (prakriti) and the life forces (doshas) to ensure that humans are free of diseases.

Panchakarma, then, is a five-step treatment to deep cleanse your body of toxins or ‘Ama’ and balance the three elements. The five-step mind-body rejuvenation treatment straddles elements such as massages, steam baths, cleansing enemas, purifying practices and a healing diet.

Extracting ama from the system

A lifestyle ridden with stress and the environmental pollution that has gripped several parts of India, a sluggish metabolism, our indiscrete diets and unhealthy eating patterns ensure that our doshas (Vata, Pitta and Kapha) often become unbalanced, turning our body into a disease zone for diseases - from gut ailments to even diabetes and at an extreme end, cancer. The destructive patterns lead to thrown the digestive enzymes, hormones, and Agni (or fire within), which regulate the body’s internal homeostasis, into disarray. 

The ‘five actions’ or Panchakarma straddles a host of cleansing and detoxifying treatments to balance the excess doshas and help to heal the body.  

The five stages of preparation for Panchakarma

Ayurveda delineates five stages of preparing your body for Panchakarma and the list reads like that:

* Abhyanga (oil massages): Full-body warm oil massage, a blissfully comforting ritual, helps rev up your body, gearing it up for Panchakarma. The long-strokes (often performed by two masseurs) help dissolve the accumulated stress and toxins. 

* Inner oiling (lubrication): Ghee helps penetrate the body and dissolve the ama, ensuring that the waste is carried to the intestinal tract and expelled. Chakra Samhita, one of the classical texts of Ayurveda, states, “The intake of ghee augments intellect and enkindles the digestive enzymes.”

* Virechana (purgation): Virechana is a medicated purgation therapy that helps balance the Pitta dosha (controls how we digest our food and how we metabolise our sensory perceptions). 

* Vasti (enema treatment with herbal oils or decoctions): It helps in eliminating excess Vata (corresponds to elements of air and ether, an imbalance of which can cause the body and mind to feel disassociated from each other or scattered). The toxins are flushed out through the rectum. 

* Nasya (nasal passage lubrication): The process involves lubricating the nose or nasal passageways with oil, to lubricate them and treat any sinus issues. 

Once your body is ready, Ayurveda prescribes one or more of the five Panchakarma cleansing procedures, depending on the ailment. The Panchakarma treatment has to be followed by Samana or Paschatkarma, where medicines or moderate therapeutic treatments, or both, can be used to strengthen the body. 

While undergoing Panchakarma, it is imperative that you stay away from certain food — anything cold, caffeine, dairy, white sugar and alcohol. The staple diet includes khichdi with ghee, porridge or dalia. 

Long-term effects

You will feel years younger, your body free of toxins, your metabolism revved up and your mind devoid of the stress of living and functioning in chaotic urban areas. Another little known aspect of Panchkarma is rarely spoken about but is extremely relevant. Each time one goes through a Panchakarma, especially the first time, it helps us deal with unattended emotional baggage leading to a cathartic release. Medical professionals across the world have come to identify consistent emotional baggage with underlying health issues. Panchkarma, clearly, is not for the fainthearted: it can be an intense treatment that will help you dig deep within and reflect on all the issues left untended – emotional and physical. It will require you to work hard on all aspects of healing, sometimes compared to an emotional rollercoaster leading to upheaval. 

Hold tight and you come out feeling rejuvenated in body, mind and spirit. The results are more often than not, fruitful, leaving you feeling like a whole new person, ready to deal with the vagaries of life with an outlook far more positive than before.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.

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Maneesh S

The author is Ayurvedic Doctor, Mekosha Ayurveda - Kerala

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