Read the interview with our vaidya dr. Kalyan Chakravarthy in which he explains the importance and the process of Panchakarma, an in-depth detox method that combines multiple treatments, whose main aim is the elimination of metabolic waste, as well as the elimination of toxins that entered the body from outside such as additives, pesticides and heavy metals.
Panchakarma should be done several times a year, but the spring season is exceptionally favourable for it, as the nature itself is going through the process of rejuvenation and rebirth.
What is Panchakarma used for?
It’s used for detox, for rejuvenation, revitalization, prevention of chronic diseases and also to decrease the biological age. It’s also good for arthritis, skin problems, stress-related conditions, cholesterol problems, migraines, allergies, hypertension etc.
How does it work?
It works from the tissue level. There are 7 tissues in the body – plasma, blood, muscle, lipids, bone, marrow, sperm/ovum. The toxins in the body are soluble in fat and in water but are deeply rooted in all the 7 tissues. They can be eliminated through external oleation like Abhyanga treatment; sudation like Swedana treatment; purgation and enemas like oil and herbal decoction enema; and through inhalation therapy like Nasya.
But, Charaka Samhita mentions that Ayurvedic enema – Basti is the central part of Panchakarma, because of its vast action of herbs due to good absorbtion into the physiology through the largest absorbtion area – the intestines.There’s a saying in Ayurveda: ‘Ayurveda minus Basti is equal to zero.’
How many times a year should one undergo Panchakarma?
A healthy individual can undergo a 5 day purification every seasonal change. A person who is diseased can undergo intense Panchakarma twice a year. Panchakarma then lasts for 14-21 days.
Why is spring a good time to do a Panchakarma?
Spring is the best season for Panchakarma because in the spring the budding starts, the fresh leaves grow… It indicates that all the old things are lost and nature is giving birth to freshness. In the same way the toxins in the body are also accumulated and than settled in the body, where in the spring every individual feels energetic with the new flowering and blossoming which gives new energy levels in the body. That’s why the spring is the best time to letting go old toxins. The climatic conditions are also favourable because of the energy in the nature.
What are the benefits of Pachakarma for ordinary, healthy persons?
It balances the vata – pitta – kapha. It improves immunity, helps detox, helps cell rejuvenation, reduces extra fat,it balances the nervous system, blood circulation, cholesterol, improves digestion, decreases loss of vigour and energy, increases joint mobility, improves skin texture and skin glow, helps restore metabolic power, strenghtens tissue functions, reduces stress…
In which old scripture is Panchakarma first mentioned? How old is the procedure?
In Charaka Samhita and Susruta Samhita. It’s around 5000 years old.
Has the procedure changed over time?
The procedure doesn’t change according to Ayurvedic principle, but according to the patient, according to the season, climatic conditions, according to the region. The dose and the form of the administration of herbs can be changed.
Are there any special recommendations for people undergoing Panchakarma?
Avoid exposure to cold, internal and external. Avoid incompatible and junk food. Maintain celibacy, avoid day sleep, avoid suppression of natural urges like sneezing, cough etc… Avoid being awake at night after 10 pm, smoking, alcohol, cold drinks, meat, fish,eggs, chicken. Avoid cheese and milk products during Panchakarma. Eat vegetarian food and drink boiled water throughout the day.
Are there any conditions under which Panchakarma is not advised? Is it suitable for everyone?
Panchakarma shouldn’t be done during menstruation, pregnancy and lactation. People suffering from debilitating diseases, such as HIV, should also avoid it. It is not recommended for people suffering from tuberculosis, emaciation, congestive heart disorders, cancer of lung and testicles, angina, active infections, lyphosarcoma and extreme obesity.
Can children also undergo the procedure?
Yes, from the age of 12. Younger children can undergo certain Ayurvedic procedures, such as Abhyanga, Pindasweda, Shirodara, Padhabyanga…
Now that you’ve been living here and treating Croatian patients for some time and you got to know our ailments – do you have an overall advice for the population – is there anything we should change in our life-style?
You should avoid eating red meat as much as possible. Don’t eat deep fried food, processed food, hard cheese, sausages, pickled food, meat products (even homemade)… Once in 3 months you should undergo toxin- reduction diet and start drinking boiled water daily. Also, drink a lot of herbal teas!