While visiting one of my yogi friends in Australia this spring, she mentioned that I should do a panchakarma treatment over the summer. Since last summer was all about the transition from Thailand to Brunei, I didn’t have the time or money to do a detox.
She explained that panchakarma is an Ayurvedic treatment, thousands of years old, that seeks to balance the mind and body through various treatments. And so for nine days* I undertook my first panchakarma at Peacock Garden Ayurveda in southern Sri Lanka.
The first three days were all about preparing the body for treatment. This meant a daily ritual:
6:15 drinking ghee
6:30 hour of hatha yoga
8am light breakfast consisting of rice porridge and fruits, plus the tonics and herbs the doctor has prescribed for us
9-12:45 Treatments which included foot, hand, back, neck, shoulder and leg massage
13:00 Lunch was served and this was the best meal of the day. We would have a light broth or vegetable soup, fish, an array of vegetable dishes and then some type of dessert
14:00-16:00 was again Ayurvedic treatments as mentioned above, but sometimes also a steam bath
17:30 dinner of local vegetable dishes and fruit, plus our medicines
The doctor would usually consult with us after breakfast to see how we were feeling or to adjust our oils or herbs. The first three days were easy to get through as I expected some discomfort due to removing sugar and caffeine from my diet.
Day 4 was all about the cleanse and allowing the body to rest. The past few days were meant to release toxins that had been stored in the tissues, hence all the focus on steaming and massage. The morning ritual of drinking ghee was also supposed to help collect the toxins from the body and bring them to the stomach, making them easier to expel on cleansing day. On the second and third day, I experienced some stomach discomfort and bloating; the doctor confirmed that the ghee was helping to remove old bile from my system whilst encouraging the liver to produce new bile.
Days 6 through 8 were then meant to focus on the treatment which was discussed in my first consultation with the doctor. Depending on your individual circumstance, the treatments and medicines will differ from person to person.
All in all, I welcomed the relaxing atmosphere and focus on healing the self. It was an interesting experience – I had some very strange dreams during this week and did some serious internal work that I had been avoiding. I would definitely do this again 🙂
*Most Ayurvedic practitioners recommend fourteen days as the minimum.