Mind//Body Healing Experience: Panchakarma

I’m not sure when I first heard about a Panchakarma, but it’s been on my list of *Fun Things To Try* for a couple years now. The more I’ve been interested in Ayurvedic Medicine, the more I felt called to experience this mind//body healing. I always assumed that I needed to go to California or India ++ set aside an entire week for this treatment, so I was SHOCKED when I randomly decided to google *Panchakarma Chicago* ++ found out that I could do this in Chicago [++ with a discount! I bought the 3×90 minute sessions.]

But first — what is a Panchakarma?

Panchakarma is the ultimate mind-body healing experience for detoxifying the body, strengthening the immune system, + restoring balance + well-being. It is one the most effective healing modality in Ayurvedic Medicine. It promotes detoxification + rejuvenation.

A Panchakarma treatment is different for everyone because they work with your dosha to bring you back into balance. The goal of the treament is to not only correct imbalances, but to also clean the body of toxic materials ++ restore the body’s healing ability.

According to ayurveda, good health depends upon our capability to fully metabolize all aspects of life [food, stress, environment, experiences, + emotions], taking in that which nourishes, + eliminating the rest.

The problem is, so many of us have elimination issues [not only with food, but with our mind + heart] — it’s hard to fully release emotional baggage. Therefore, these toxins accumulate in our body + create imbalances… + ultimately, if we aren’t taking care of ourselves, disease.

Panchakarmas are traditionally done seasonally, but my doctor said that every year or every two years would be beneficial for me as a way to maintain mental + physical balance.

So, what did my Panchakarma look like?! See below : )


Day 1

  • Consultation to determine my dosa [I’m a vata pitta]
  • Abhyanga [herbal-oil massage… she basically rubbed an entire bottle of sesame oil on my body : )]
  • Nasya [herbs + oil drops, inhaled through the nose — clears the sinuses]
  • Swedana [herbalized steam bath] — your head is outside the *box* while your body is heated to remove mental, emotional + physical toxins… I thought I was going to pass out, it’s SO HOT
  • Basti [herbal ENEMA… I seriously loved this!]

Day 2

  • Abhyanga
  • Nasya
  • Swedana
  • Brown, thick *drink* — not sure what this was… but it helped with eliminating toxins

Day 3

  • Abhyanga
  • Nasya
  • Swedana
  • Shirodhara [warm herbalized oil that drips on your forehead, calming mind, body, + spirit — it’s SUPER meditative]
  • Basti [another EMENA ; )]

While the massages + hot seam bath was incredibly enjoyable, after the first day, my *third eye* was throbbing, + I had flu-like symptoms. I also was SO emotional the second day… I cried the entire day. Unfortunately this is normal — it’s called a healing crisis“occurs when a large quantity of toxins that have been locked in your tissues for years are released into the system for elimination. As these toxins are expelled, you may experience insomnia, flu-like symptoms, or a feverish feeling. You may notice some emotional mood swings or experience intense feelings. Do not be alarmed — this is both a natural + necessary part of tissue cleansing.”

So… yeah : ) While I didn’t fully love the ill feeling + crying for an entire day, it made me feel better knowing that I was getting rid of toxins. After the third day, I felt totally back to normal physically + emotionally, with a newfound sense of peace + ease + rejuvenation.

I’m already excited to do another Panchakarma! I want to do a full 7 day treatment next time [the 3 day was perfect for the first time!], AND I want to use it as a full week of ~everything~ detox [digital, relationships, work, etc]. I totally get why people use this as a sacred personal time [love Jordan from The Balanced Blonde’s approach — read here] because you do gain clarity on your purpose + connection to the earth. While I did receive insight, I know that I can go deeper by completing retreating from the world, + solely going inward.

Have you done a Panchakarma? Would love to hear your thoughts! <3

Rooting for you always,

++ Elisabeth

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