Ayurveda also known as Ayurveda medicine is one of the oldest schools of traditional medicine in the world. Its name means “the science of life” as Ayurvedic medicine dates back to India more than 3000 years ago. Ayurvedic medicine is said to promote the healing of the “whole body”, unlike Western medicine, which tends to separate physical, mental and spiritual health and does not follow many of its followers. Ayurveda is not only a traditional diet but also engaging in regular detoxing which is believed to rid the body and mind of toxins, and ultimately prevent disease. However many health experts question the purported benefits of detoxing using Ayurveda and as such, you may wonder whether or not you should try Ayurveda.
This article provides a comprehensive review of Ayurvedic Detox, including its benefits, drawbacks, and side effects.
What is detoxification in Ayurvedic medicine?
Ayurvedic detoxification relies heavily on the well-established principles of Ayurvedic medicine as Ayurveda divides the world into five elements – Vayu (air), Prithvi (earth), Teja (fire), Aakash (space), and Jala (water). Different combinations of each ingredient are thought to make up three mixtures, also known as doshas, which are responsible for different physiological functions in your body. The three dosha are vata, kava, and pita.
To ensure good health, you are supposed to maintain a balance between the three doshas, as well as the five elements. In the event of imbalances in which disease is said to occur, an imbalance of waste products – meth (urine), boricha (faeces), and sweat (sweat) – is also thought to cause diseases, such as diarrhea, constipation, asthma, arthritis, skin problems and urinary tract infections.
Detoxing is meant for this detox to be a routine part of restoring balance to your health. Keep in mind that each person has a unique dosha balance, based on genetics and personality traits, which are linked to different health outcomes.
Ayurveda practice can help you identify the dosha and related treatment options. Some Ayurveda sources recommend detoxing at the start of each season to rid your body of toxins, or Ama, that might have accumulated during the previous season from food, stress, and other factors.
Detoxification steps and practices in Ayurveda
Since people have different doshas so not all Ayurveda detoxes look the same, although they are all said to cleanse your body of impurities and toxins.
In addition to physical detoxification, we encourage you to make broader changes in your diet and lifestyle to achieve a balanced dosha. Ayurvedic detoxification may last from 3 to 45 days, depending on the type of practice.
Physical detoxification (Purvakarma and Panchakarma)
The primary stage known as Purvakarma aims to send toxins into your intestine and the surface of your skin to be excreted. Typically this includes oil, steam, and shirodhara massages – a relaxing practice that involves applying warm oil to the forehead to enhance mental clarity.
After this, a more intense treatment called Panchakarma is recommended to rejuvenate the body and strengthen detoxification. This consists of five (treatments) which are:
- Virechan: cleansing with hot medicinal powders, pastes or plants.
- Faman: forced vomiting or disinfection through medicinal herbal treatment.
- Basti: massage as well as enemas with warm oils.
- Rakta moksha: detoxifying blood, also known as bloodletting.
- Nasya: Remove the nose using herbal remedies, oils, and vapors.
Depending on your dosha, you may receive one or more treatments. Proponents claim that Panchakarma’s goal is not only to detoxify but also to re-establish the unity of mind and body.
Herbal remedies, nutritional supplements, and body and gut cleansing teas are also prescribed for most people taking Ayurveda detox therapy. These may come in the form of herbal cleansers, detox products, enemas, and bowel stimulants.
Finally, you may be required to take supplements for specific health conditions and aspects, such as congestion, immune health, bowel regularity, and sleep.
Is detoxification in Ayurvedic medicine effective?
Proponents claim that detoxification in Ayurvedic medicine helps cleanse the body of pollutants and boost overall health. While scientific studies cast doubt on the effectiveness of detoxing in this way, some of the detox components of Ayurveda may have other benefits, including:
Although weight loss is not the primary goal when following Ayurveda to detox, people looking to lose weight may find many aspects of Ayurveda beneficial in this area.
When you switch from a diet containing highly processed foods to a diet with minimal processed and whole foods, you will likely eat fewer calories.
This is because these foods are rich in protein, healthy fats and fiber, which keep you full for longer. Furthermore, research shows that mindful eating helps you consume fewer calories by making you more aware of hunger cues and aware of every bite, which may help prevent overeating.
However, most of the short-term weight loss has come from enemas, bowel stimulants, and Ayurveda’s detoxing formulas. These products are laxatives designed to dispose of waste quickly, resulting in a temporary reduction in water weight.
Not only do laxatives pose a risk of dehydration, but eating them regularly can also put you at risk of a nutrient deficiency, because your body doesn’t have time to absorb vitamins and minerals.Therefore, it’s best to focus on mindful eating combined with a healthy diet – and steer clear of laxatives for weight loss.
There is very little scientific research on detoxing the body using Ayurvedic which makes it difficult to know if it provides any long-term benefits. However, the Ayurvedic lifestyle promotes many healthy habits.
A complete diet with a limited amount of alcohol and processed foods has been linked to a reduced risk of heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and certain types of cancer.Moreover, meditation and daily mindfulness practices are associated with reduced levels of stress and anxiety, as well as an improved quality of life. Additionally, disconnecting from technology and everyday stress can help you connect with yourself and your thoughts.