The Ayurvedic detoxification procedure is called panchakarma (PK) which means ‘five actions’.

The five actions are nasya, rakta moksha (blood donation), vamana, virechana and basti.  These actions can and are done outside the context of a panchakarma event especially if there are complicating clinical circumstances, but they are most effective when done in the context of panchakarma.

Detoxification has a very specific meaning in this energetic science of Ayurveda. It means that during the process of panchakarma the Vata, Pitta and Kapha energy patterns are brought back to the gastrointestinal tract (GIT) for elimination. In addition to the doshas, accumulated toxins or ama which have been peripherally spread from the GIT to the tissues and energy channels of the mind-body return to the GIT for elimination.

The Event of Panchakarma

The event of panchakarma is just that. It is an event that occurs that brings about healing. Like all the healing modalities used in Ayurveda it’s not just one thing but a multiplicity of things done to the energy body’s field that brings about healing changes. So it is with panchakarma.  It’s not just one thing in the panchakarma event that brings about healing but it’s how all of the modalities during the event work together.

There are 3 components to the panchakarma event. The first is the preparatory phase in which the primary purpose is to prepare the energy field for detoxification. There are several components to this phase but by far and away the most important is internal oleation which is done by taking increasing amounts of ghee orally in order to saturate the tissues so that the body will release VPK and ama from the peripheral tissues.

The second phase is the application of the five actions during a period of time. During this time three other things should be done to encourage the movement of VPK and ama back to the GIT for elimination. Oil massage, sweating, and oil to the forehead in a continuous stream (shirodhara) helps support the process. Other therapies can also be applied as per individual patient.

The followup or third phase is to do things to support the elimination of the VPK and ama from the GIT. An important aspect here is to rekindle agni that has been slowed down by the first two phases. This is a very important aspect of this third and last phase of panchakarma. This phase can last as long as three months in which there is gradual release of VPK/ama.

Some Clarifications about Panchakarma

One PK event in a person’s incarnation is not enough for detoxification. Rather it should be seen as a repetitive process that is like dipping a shirt into soapy water. One dip doesn’t clean the shirt. It takes multiple dips to clear the accumulated toxic load. As with any process the more you do the better you get at it.

The panchakarma event is special in how things get done. If you take pieces out of context and use it regularly they don’t have the same effect. For example, the use of basti which is the best way to eliminate Vata and ama doesn’t have the same effectiveness when done alone out of the context of the PK event as when it’s done in it.

The more one oleates in the first phase the better the end result. There are several tricks that can make this process successful.

It is possible to do the panchakarma event over one week and by yourself with or without guidance. But this week time frame doesn’t include the first and third phases outlined above.

You can do this at home but supervision is necessary if this is your first time.

Lastly even though it may seem foreign to you it is a way to ensure that real healing can take place if you have deposited peripheral VPK/ama.