A Journey to Health
All cleansing is preparation for rejuvenation. Panchakarma is an intensive Ayurvedic mind-body healing experience for detoxifying the body, strengthening the immune system, building vitality and restoring balance and wellbeing.
Ayurveda takes a different approach to cleansing than most modern detox methods, which can be harsh and leave the body weak and vulnerable post-cleanse. Ayurveda emphasizes the need for the body to be in a relaxed state in order to release toxins, as well as the importance of mindfully rebuilding the body's strength post-cleanse. Therefore, Panchakarma prepares the body and mind steadily through very nurturing and natural means. Some think of it as a "personal inner healing retreat".
In Sanskrit, Panchakarma means "the five actions", (pancha= five, karma=actions) and named for the five different cleansing and rejuvination therapies described in the classic Ayurvedic literature. Some of the therapies have been adapted to be used in the West, but the principles of purification and restoration remain the same.
According to Ayurveda, good health depends upon our capability to fully metabolize all aspects of life. Therefore digestion, physical and subtle, is the cornerstone of health. When we cannot fully digest our food, experiences, emotions, etc., toxins and blockages accumulate in our tissues. This process creates imbalance in our bodies, which ultimately leads to disease. Panchakarma is a full system detoxification therapy, that can be done during the healing of chronic illness, or for preventative measures.
It is important to note that no two Panchakarma therapies are the same. They are completely customized to each individual's process, and each practitioner has a unique approach.
Panchakarma is an in-depth process, that requires participation and commitment from the rogi (client). If truly undertaken, it will be a journey like no other. Although the hands-on therapies typically last 5 days, the whole process takes about one month. Here's an overview of what to expect and plan for:
Schedule a consultation with one of our practitioners to see if and when Panchakarma is appropriate for you.
At-home Preparation - Diet, Oleation, Herbs
You will need to follow a specific vegetarian diet, eating mainly kitchari, and often be directed to take an herbal ghritam (ghee infused with custom herbs) for 3-7 days prior to you PK (Panchakarma). It is very important that these preperatory procedures are followed, as they are paramount for the success of the rest of the therapy.
At the clinic, you will receive customized Ayurvedic mind-body treatments. This is typcially done for 5-21 consecutive days. Treatments include Abhyanga (herbal oil massage performed with two therapists), Swedena (Steam), Shirodhara (warm-oil drip on forehead), Nasya (nasal/head treatment), Udwartanam (Herbal Scrub), Basti (Enema) and other individualized treatments that are targeted for Purification and/or Rejuvination.
Virechena and Basti are purification therapies that are given to cleanse accumulated toxins from the system, and are often the main course of treatment in PK. Once the body is prepared, herbal purgatives (laxative) or basti (enema) is given for cleansing.
'Rasayana' means 'that which is nourishing', and is done to restore strength, vitality, and immunity. If your PK is purely Rasayana, you will not undergo cleansing processes, and your therapies will focus on nourishing, relaxing and brimhana (building therapies).
You will be directed how to slowly begin to re-diversify your diet, take rejuvinative herbs to build up your body's strength, and integrate specific yoga/meditation techniques to sustain balance within your system after PK.
We ask everyone who undergoes the journey of Panchakarma to come back for a follow-up consultation one month after their treatment.
For inquiries, please call Pacific Coast Ayurveda at 707.225.8844 or email us at