Where in the world am I?
I am in Kerala, India.At an Ayurvedic retreat called Kottakkal Arya Vaidya Sala . Kerala is one of the root hubs of Ayurvedic science which has been preserved since centuries.Kerala is also a preserve for some of the most ancient dance forms and self defense techniques which are almost extinct today.
Why am I here?
I am currently undergoing a 21 day rejuvenation treatment .Why? Remember in my previous post I mentioned a disruption in the balance of Vata, Pitta , Kapha in ones body causes issues. I am here to balance them out, the rejuvenation treatment clears your body of toxins , nourishes your body and brings it back to how it was when you were born as a baby.
You may say, Oh my body detoxes itself.No it doesn’t, when your body can assimilate nutrients from the food you take and water you consume into the cells, why wont it assimilate toxins?after all we live in a very polluted world and the elements of Water, Earth and Air are extremely polluted on our planet.You may say, “But im fit and healthy”,do you feel sluggish? Do you have gas, flatulence or constipation? Do you have low energy?Do you have mood swings? sugar cravings? Weakened immunity? Discomfort with dairy or Gluten? if you answered yes to any of the above, no you are not in perfect health, it may not be a clinical level of bad health now but its in indication from your body that it is getting there.
We are planning to have a baby next year, so it only made sense for me to reset my body to be able to give good health to the little one.All the allergies and other diseases we see in very young kids are due to an impaired digestive system of the mother which has hence been passed on to the baby.
How does it work?
The Ayurvedic doctor diagnoses the ailment in the patient, formulates a unique concoction of Ayurvedic herbs(All plant substances and powders and extracts, no pharmaceutical shit involved here) and designs a course of therapy.A pivotal part of the therapy is called PanchaKarma, which is a period of detox which has a pre cleanse phase, the actual cleanse phase and post cleanse phase. A specific diet routine is prescribed so that the food is easy on the digestion and doesn’t interrupt the process of healing from the herbs and the massage.
In the process of the cleanse the patient also undergoes a massage kind of treatment called Abhyanga and Shirodhara. As you can see in the above picture,the oil on the right was for the head and the one on the left was for the body, the patient lies on the table and 4 therapists work on the 4 quadrants of your body with warmed oils specifically designed for your ailment.Unlike the Thai massage we are used in in the US where a single therapist works on pressure points in your body, these therapists in the pre cleanse phase focus on loosening the toxins from your body cells with their rhythmic strokes of massaging the oil all over the body. 30 minutes into the treatment the therapists switch positions to facilitate even strokes all over the body, because every therapist has a different amount of pressure and style in their massage.The last 5 minutes of the massage the patient flips over and the back is massaged.This is the Abhyanga.
For the ShiroDhara 2 other therapists work near your head, the pot you see above the head is filled with a medicated concoction, in my case it was buttermilk with some special herbal powder that runs in a continuos stream over your forehead throughout the treatment.
The precleanse phase has easy to digest food without sugar, oils or nuts or dairy which are common allergens or harder to digest.The cleanse phase normally has a mono diet of kichadi made with moong dal and rice and again no oil, sugar,nuts or dairy.The patient sees the maximum transformation during this phase. Post cleanse phase is more to bring your digestive system back to eating what you normally do.The released toxins through the process enter the digestive system and then are forced to exit your body through your excretion with the help of medicine and diet.No two patients are similar and hence no two treatments are alike.
The above pictures is my morning wake up drink- a curry leaf and gooseberry concoction, on the right is a Kokum(Garcina Indica, a fruit from the mangosteen family) drink that I take after breakfast.
Some snippets of my diet during the precleanse period.
Image1: Oats without milk or sugar.
Image2: Lunch is a rice grits with cucumber salad, boiled veggies, moon bean dal, spinach, green beans and avial, all cooked without oil and dairy and minimum spice.
Image3: At 4 Pm I have a vegetable broth(not the processed one, fresh made without salt) with cabbage, carrot and beans.
Image 4:Dahashamani Vellam(Herbed water) , people in Kerala hardly ever have plain water, the water is often times a herbed concoction with either cumin, fennel, ginger, coriander seeds etc like a tea,When its made with cumin seeds it is called as Jeeraka vellam, if made with coriander seeds its called Malli vellam(extremely good for morning sickness in pregnant women) or when ayurvedic herbs are added to it, its called Dahashamani , Karingali ( a herb extremely good for diabetics) vellam, Chukkuvellam if dry ginger powder is added to it . These drinks are highly carminative, aiding digestion . According to Ayurveda improper digestion is the root cause to all diseases and hence having these drinks all day will help digestive issues away. And come on we have to admit these are so much better than the soda pop loaded with 54 grams of sugar which does no good to the body or even sparkling water for that sake(it vitiates Vata in your body)!
Image5/Image 6: Alternate days of dinner, moong bean sprouts salad with lemon juice, cucumber, tomato and carrots with a fresh fruit juice without any added sugar.
There are plenty of treatments in Ayurveda right from fever, to constipation, heartburn, diabetes, psoriasis, eczema, cancer etc.We often wait till an ailment gets to its final stage which is when detected by the allopathic doctor at which stage it becomes irreversable or very hard to cure.I have been following a course of Panchakarma that we can do at home since the past 3 years now and I can tell you my health is so much better now.I do it twice a year for a period of 14 days.
What do we gain from this process?
Starting this detox process early in life helps us live a longer healthy life, keeps us away from diseases,helps with maintenance of weight, helps us have more energy, wards away allergies both food based and airborne, prevents us from having gas, bloating , constipation and any other digestive issues.The moment we have repeated bouts of constipation or bloating etc its better to resolve it before it turns to something major like IBS etc. Did I tell you this process cured me from allergies and protein indigestion ??
More details on the at home Panchakarma, Ayurvedic daily routines, and Doshas in the following posts.
Do let me know what you think and leave me a comment.
DISCLAIMER:Please consult your physician before attempting any kind of diets, Im not an Ayurvedic professional nor a medical professional , so do not self medicate or do these diets without doctor supervision and Im not responsible for your health.The suitability of herbs is different for different body types so do seek the advise of some one who practices Ayurveda before using any herbs.