Pañchakarma is a group of five Āyurvedic therapies that cleanse the body to build resilience and improve health. The cleanses utilize restricted diets, Āyurvedic body therapies and Āyurvedic formulations. It happens in three specific steps, each of which are important for successful outcomes.
At MD Āyurveda, pañchakarma is overseen by Remy Coeytaux, MD, PhD, and Āyurvedic specialist Vaidya Jessica Vellela, BAMS. Whether you choose our 3-day Pañchakarma Program or our 14-day Pañchakarma Program, Dr. Coeytaux and Vaidya Jessica Vellela will guide you through each stage. Each of our programs follows a particular process. Following the entire process in sequence from stage one through stage three helps to ensure that the effects of the procedures are experienced and that cleansing happens effectively.
Here’s an overview of the steps of pañchakarma to help you understand what to expect throughout the entire process.
The first step of pañchakarma is the metabolic preparation stage and may begin three days to six months prior to the beginning of your residential treatment. This is the preparatory stage.
During this stage, Dr. Coeytaux and Vaidya Jessica Vellela will instruct you on how to prepare your metabolism and gastrointestinal tract for cleansing. You will be given personalized guidelines for increasing metabolism. Increasing metabolism is called dīpana. It is done with changes to the diet and the timing of meals along with use of Āyurvedic formulations.
You will also be given instructions on how to reduce the load of metabolic wastes or dosha within the gastrointestinal tract. This is called pāchana. Pāchana is done using Āyurvedic formulations and dietary adjustments. Both processes produce a lightening effect on the body which prepares you for the next step in the preparatory stage of pañchakarma, called snehapāna or oleation.
Snehapāna is often referred to as oleation. It means oiling the body. This step of pañchakarma oils the body both internally and externally. To oil the body internally, you will be asked to drink a specified dosage of fats and will be given assistance with the process to avoid complications. The dosage generally increases daily and is dependent on the individual.
External oleation is achieved by applying medicinal oil to the body followed by a steam tent to induce sweating. Additional therapies may also be recommended and incorporated into your treatment plan.
Once you have completed step one of pañchakarma, you are sufficiently ready for step two. Step two is cleansing. In our 14-day pañchakarma program, cleansing occurs on one day only. On cleansing day, you will be given specific instructions, guidance and Āyurvedic formulations. Your progress will be monitored carefully throughout the day. Therapeutic purgation, called virechana, is the method of cleansing used at MD Āyurveda. However, traditional Āyurvedic methods for pañchakarma can include any of the following:
If you are participating in a 3-day pañchakarma program, cleansing will happen through the pores of the skin. This gentler version of pañchakarma can be beneficial in certain health conditions and can help prepare you for the 14-day program.
After cleansing day is completed, you will begin the process of regeneration. This is the process of building and strengthening the body. It begins by slowly restoring and diversifying your diet, one day at a time. We will provide you with the best foods and drinks so you can nourish yourself post-pañchakarma. Āyurvedic formulations, proper diet and proper conduct or lifestyle will all be utilized at this stage to allow the body to recover and normalize.
Before you complete your Pañchakarma program, we will give you detailed instructions. At this stage, regeneration promotes anti-aging. This stage is both preventative and curative. Positive effects of pañchakarma can continue to be felt for up to six months post-pañchakarma.
At MD Āyurveda we take a collaborative approach to optimal health. Following pañchakarma, our medical doctor, Remy Coeytaux, MD, PhD, will communicate with your primary care physician or other members of your healthcare team for a defined period of time. Follow-ups with our team evaluate your diet, lifestyle and experience for optimal health moving forward.
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