“A moment on your lips, forever on your hips.”

the saying is as true as it can get presently. Being a generation that survives on all things cheese, weight gain, and obesity are two names that are stuck to us harder than any glue ever did. We have moved far away from our roots to the western ways of eating without knowing the impact of it on our health. This has, in no time, become our way of life.

Due to our eating habits and stagnant lifestyle, losing weight has become essential too. However, the weight we lose somehow finds its way back to us. This only affirms that there is a dire need for sustainable and natural ways to lose weight.

With so many different types of diets and weight loss programs, how does one filter the natural and healthy ways to shed to extra layers that we have accumulated? Panchakarma, which routes back to traditional medicine, is one such way.

Losing weight can prove extremely difficult if the underlying issues in the body are not addressed. Most of the diet plans and weight loss methods focus on quick results whereas Panchakarma eradicates the problem from its roots. It drives one to a healthier, more natural, and sustainable way to get fit and healthy. It gives a deep and systematic cleansing to the body.

Ayurveda states weight accumulation or any disease as a result of an imbalance in the three Doshas Vatta, Pitta, and Kapha in our body

(image by Kairali)

Ayurveda states weight accumulation or any disease as a result of an imbalance in the three Doshas Vatta, Pitta, and Kapha in our body. These doshas stand for the nervous system, digestive system, and nutritive system in our body. These doshas keep the human mind, body, and emotions in check. An ayurvedic cleanse pushes out the toxins from the body, thus bringing stability to these doshas.

Panchakarma, as the name suggests, is a five-step procedure or also stated as five actions on the body to cleanse it. Depending on the problem areas these can be performed in order or even individually. 

  1. Vamana (curative vomiting): It is a process that regulates the Kapha dosha in the body. The first step is to consume medicines for a stipulated time. These medicines gather the toxins in the upper body. Once there is enough gathered, it is removed from the body using a herbal brew. On consuming it, the toxins are flushed out of the body through therapeutic vomiting. 
  2. Veerechana (Elimination): This process regulates the pitta dosha in the body. Like Vamana, the initial steps involve consuming medicines for a stipulated time. However, here the toxins accumulate in the lower body. After sufficient accumulation, the toxins are flushed out through the bowels. 
  3. Basti (Herbalized oil enemas): Basti plays an essential role in bringing a balance in the Vatta dosha. Here the herbal brew is injected into the body through the rectum. This helps in easy and fast collection and elimination of toxins from the colon. 
  4. Nasya (Nasal sneezes): Hormonal imbalance can also be a major reason for weight accumulation. Nasya helps in aligning the hormones. It is then performed by passing medical drugs through the nasal cavity. This cleanses and detoxifies the respiratory tract. This has a balancing impact on all the three doshas: Vatta, Pitta, and Kapha. 
  5. Raktamokshan:  A whole body cleanse is incomplete without the cleansing of the blood. Since it travels along the entire body, eliminating toxic elements from the blood is important. There are two simple ways to go about it. One through leech therapy and another through venous punctures.

Panchakarma herbal bath

(Image by One World Ayurveda)

Being self-explanatory, while the rest of the programs focus on what weighs on the scale, Panchakarma focuses on what weighs within. The journey of weight loss is a vicious circle that cannot be broken until the problems within the body are dealt with. 

If you put the cost of Panchakarma and other weight loss treatments on a weighing scale, the scale might bend slightly more towards the former but it will have lasting and definite results. 

Panchakarma is an ancient answer to today’s problem of weight loss.

“It’s not just about losing the weight; it’s about losing the lifestyle and the mindset that got you there.” --Steve Maraboli

Frequently Asked Question about Panchakarma

Can Ayurveda help you lose weight? If yes how? (Dr Varun Ram Raj)

Yes, Ayurveda can help to lose weight. The initial step for losing weight is to understand the dosha association in the Prakriti (constitution) and Vikruti (disbalance) of an individual. The proper assessment of doshas will help in designing the Ayurvedic diet, regimen, internal medications and external medications for losing weight. Panckakarma as well as external procedures like Udwartanam (medicated powder massage) and Churna pinda Swedam or Kizhi (medicated bolus massage) are highly suggested in the case of losing weight. These procedures as well as medications take away the unwanted water deposit and excess fat deposit from the body and assuring proportionate weight loss. 

(Answer based on Ashtangahrudaya by Acharya Vaghbhata)

Is it clinically proven that Panchakarma promotes weight loss? (Dr Varun Ram Raj)

Yes, it is clinically proven that Panchakarma promotes weight loss. The procedures likeVamana (curative vomiting) and Virechana (laxation therapy) along with internal Ayurvedic medications have successfully marked loss of weight in individuals. There are various clinical researches and studies conducted on the above topic the link below is a study conducted related to weight loss through Ayurveda

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/333827496_Panchakarma_intervention_in_the_management_of_Obesity_A_case_study

What are the benefits of Panchakarma?

Panchakarma is a procedure that performs a complete body cleanse. Doing so has many lasting benefits on the overall well-being some are listed below

  • Balances the three doshas: Vatta, Pitta, and Kapha
  • Removes the toxins from the body which slows down the process of aging
  • Nourishes the tissues in the body that help the nutrients to reach their rightful places
  • Uplifts the body’s metabolism and digestion process
  • Equips the body with immunity to fight several diseases
  • Helps in weight loss
  • Improves the quality of sleep and reduces stress
  • Rejuvenates the mind

What are the benefits of the detox treatment ‘Vamana’?

Vamana is particularly performed to improve appetite and bowel movements.  

  • Balances the Kapha dosha in the body.
  • Helps with the reduction of excess mucus, bile, and digestive juices.
  • Eliminates toxins from the digestive system 
  • Eases off the gas trouble, and constipation 
  • Aids diabetes and obesity

What are the benefits of the detox treatment ‘Virechana’?

Virechana not only benefits physical well-being but also benefits mental well-being. It brings a harmonious balance to the Pitta dosha in the body. 

  • Eliminates the toxins and excess mucus thus improving digestion
  • Decongests the liver and uplifts the metabolism
  • Benefits in case of gastrointestinal disorders
  • Shows remarkable results in skin ailments, allergies, and rashes
  • Enhances Weight loss

What are the benefits of the detox treatment ‘Basti’?

Basti is primarily performed to treat the entire colon. A well-functioning colon keeps the Vatta dosha in the body in check. 

  • Restores all the body tissues
  • Balances the Vatta dosha 
  • Helps with weight management
  • Eliminates toxins
  • Benefits the entire body 
  • Improves the function of the reproductive system, urinary system and cures disorders of the bones

What are the benefits of the detox treatment ‘Nasya’?

A blocked nasal cavity is a pathway to many respiratory ailments. Performing Basti clears that pathway. 

  • Moisturises and cleans the nasal passage
  • Aids headaches, migraines, sinus congestion, allergies, nasal blockages, and nose bleeds 
  • Balances the Vata dosha 
  • Helps with insomnia

What are the benefits of the detox treatment ‘Rakta Mokshana’?

Rakta mokshana is a procedure that is performed for complete blood cleanse. Blood that travels along the entire body can make or break the entire well-being of an individual. 

  • Removes impurities  in the blood 
  • Balances pitta dosha in the body
  • Eliminates toxins from the blood 
  • Aids skin disorders like sciatica, dermatitis, and eczema

What are some of the dietary restrictions during Panchakarma treatment?

Most of the problems begin with what we eat. While undergoing Panchakarma therapy, it is essential to follow the dietary restrictions that are advised. 

  • Always drink hot water
  • Chose easy-to-digest foods
  • Avoid cold, raw, and processed foods 

What is the typical duration of Panchakarma weight loss treatment?

The duration of the treatment varies from 7-28 days depending on the BMI of the person taking the treatment. Those with higher BMI need two weeks to even a month and ones with lesser BMI may show results in a week or two. 

Who should try the Panchakarma treatment for weight loss?

Anyone who is looking to turn around their poor lifestyle and eating habits can very well benefit from this. Sedentary habits, overeating, irregular eating patterns, and even stress can be dealt with through Panchakarma. It is also beneficial for post-hysterectomy, post-partum, and post-menopausal weight management too as it balances the hormones. It is also effective when there is weight gain due to PCOS, diabetes, cancer, Hypothyroid, Osteo Arthritis, etc.

Who should NOT opt for Panchakarma to lose weight?

This therapy is not advisable for children, pregnant or lactating women, and people above 60 years of age. If you are recovering post-surgery, or have had a C-section delivery within a year, this therapy is not recommended for you. Also, anyone facing the below mentioned health ailments must not opt for Panchakarma:

  • Heart problems
  • Anxiety issues
  • Rectal prolapse
  • Chronic constipation
  • Chronic haemorrhoids
  • Bleeding disorders

What is the best time to do a Panchakarma treatment?

Any time of the year is good for this treatment. However, Sharad Ritu (time between mid-September Onset of winter in December) is said to be the best time for Virechana. Varsha Ritu  (rainy season) is a good time to go for Basti as the amount of Vatta increases during rains.

What should we eat in Panchakarma?

During the treatment, it is recommended to consume light and easy-to-digest foods. Also, it is compulsory to have hot water. Light eating helps the stomach to rest support the treatment by not having it overworked in the process of digestion and metabolism. 

Does Panchakarma for weight loss have any side effects? (Dr Varun Ram Raj)

Yes, Panchakarma may have side effects if it is not performed properly. The proper performance of Panchakarma comes under the guidance of a real Ayurveda doctor who's graduated from a reputed University. The side effects may include weakness, indigestion, sensory organ impairment and general health deterioration. To avoid the above side effects, one can approach a genuine Ayurvedic doctor with Panchakarma experience. 

(Answer based on Ashtangahrudaya by Acharya Vaghbhata)

How often should you do Panchakarma?

It is recommended for people above 35 years, to take this treatment at least once a year.  

What does Panchakarma do for the body?

Panchakarma is an ancient process that helps the body to re-establish its balance by aligning the three doshas in the body. It eliminates the waste that gathers, blocks, and hinders the body to perform its full function. By doing so, the body gets rid of the ailments caused due to these blockages. 

Can Panchakarma be done during periods?

As menstruation itself is considered a process of purification, Panchakarma cannot be performed during this time. 

Can Panchakarma help to get pregnant? If yes how? (Dr Varun Ram Raj)

Proper knowledge on how to get pregnant along with Ayurvedic Panchakarma can help in attaining a successful pregnancy. Garbhasthapana or Pregnancy supporting medications are discussed in Ashtangahrudaya Uttarasthana under the category of Women care.  The chapters on general body nature in Ayurveda also describes various measures including Panchakarma for attaining pregnancy. Snehapana (medicated ghee intake), Svedana (Sweating therapy) and detox methods like Vamana (vomiting therapy) and Virechana (laxation therapy) helps in creating a good mental, physical and spiritual state in both men as well as women. The above-mentioned Panchakarma methods help in attaining healthy reproductive factors in all aspects.

Polycystic Ovarian Disease (PCOD), also known as Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is considered to be one of the major causes which may induce a state of difficulty in getting pregnant. Ayurvedic medications help in treating PCOS through three-dosha balancing herbal combinations as well as Panchakarma. The Panchakarma measures reduce the condition of PCOS by inducing Shodana (detox) to the whole female genital tract including the uterus and makes it healthy to prepare for a pregnancy. To attain the complete benefits of Ayurvedic Panchakarma please follow it under a genuine Certified Ayurveda practitioner.

(Based on Asthangahrudaya by Acharya Vaghbhata)

**The benefits of Ayurveda vary from person to person and the results may vary immensely based on the quality of the herbs, oil concoctions and medicines. BalanceBoat.com is not responsible or liable for the effectiveness and outcome of the Ayurvedic treatments. The information above is shareable purely for educational purpose it is not to be considered as a replacement for medical advice. Please always consult a certified specialist/Doctor before you embark upon a treatment.