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All Clear with Panchakarma

Practitioners of panchakarma go beyond the basic cleanse to deeply purify body and soul.

Detoxifying the body with a cleanse continues to grow in popularity as a health practice. But while some might cleanse by temporarily eliminating sugar from the diet, or by going on a 10-day juice fast, ayurvedic practitioners take a more whole-body approach, through a practice called panchakarma. The ancient practice (its Sanskrit name translates to “five actions”) works to clear toxins from the body and build agni, or digestive fire, through special foods and teas, self-massage, and intensive purgation therapies, including enema treatments, the clearing of nasal passages, and, in some cases, even therapeutic vomiting and bloodletting. Some treatments might be prescribed for specific ailments, while others are used for an overall yearly or seasonal cleanse. “From an ayurvedic perspective, PK provides a more systematic way of cleansing the body than most popular detox therapies,” says Sivarama Prasad Vinjamury, an ayurvedic practitioner and a professor at Southern California University of Health Sciences in Whittier, California. In other words, where simple dietary cleanses can help promote healthy g …

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