Ayurveda’s Ancient Detoxification Protocol
Jan 05, 2016 03:19AM
By Lorraine Gengo
One of the oldest detoxification protocols comes from Ayurveda, a longevity and health-promoting science that began in India 5,000 years ago. Thanks to the popularity of yoga, Ayurveda’s sister science, interest is building in this ancient art of maintaining balance in body, mind and spirit through proper use of food, herbs, lifestyle practices and meditation.
Panchakarma—which means “five actions”—is Ayurveda’s detoxifying and rejuvenating program for body, mind and consciousness. It refers to the five methods by which accumulated toxins—or in this system, doshas—may be expelled from the body and mind.
The five ways of getting rid of excessive dosha are through therapeutic vomiting to remove toxins that aggregate in the stomach; purgation or laxative therapy to remove those that collect in the small intestine; medicated enemas for removal of toxins in the colon; medicated oils administered through the nasal passages to help pacify the central nervous system; and blood purification via blood-letting or by ingesting herbal purifiers such as dandelion root, aloe or burdock.
With the understanding that some of these techniques will not be palatable to Western health seekers, Ayurvedic centers—like the newly opened Kairali World of Ayurveda in Stamford—offer alternatives to procedures like vomiting and blood-letting. (The latter is normally done with leeches, and both are common practices in India.)
“My first goal for any client is to make them feel good,” says Moumita Roy, who has a Ph.D. in botany and plant chemistry. She opened her holistic center in collaboration with Kairali Ayurvedic Group of New Delhi, which operates spas, yoga trainings, and has its own line of Ayurvedic medicines and herbal products.
The feel-good aspect of Ayurveda’s detox program is the daily series of warm-oil massages, herbal saunas, and the signature shirodhara treatments—which is a warm oil stream on the patient’s third eye that dissipates mental stress. They lead up to the expelling procedure, which is, in most cases, the medicated enema and the nasal application of oil. Those two methods work out to be enough for most people, according to Roy, who also insists that clients participate in light exercise and some form of meditation practice. Usually, a diet of rice and moong dal, known as kitchari, is eaten because it’s both nourishing and easy to digest.
Roy also swears by color therapy. The center will be introducing its own line of chakra jewelry, offering a rainbow of semi-precious stones. “If we use the right colored stone for the right reason, it really works. We have to resonate with the right frequencies,” she says.
Kairali World of Ayurveda is located at 56 West Broad St, Stamford. See ad, page 3.
Lorraine Gengo, LMT, is an experienced journalist and practitioner who provides ayurvedic massage and marma point therapy to patients at the New England Institute for Neurology and Headache and High Quality Home Therapy, in Stamford.