CCA Logo A World Leader In Ayurvedic Education
Call us at 530-478-9100

Ayurveda and Panchakarma

Ever heard of panchakarma? For thousands of years, people have been benefiting from it. Perhaps now it’s your turn? 
 
Panchakarma (PK) is a deep, all-the-way-to-the-core cleanse. In fact, it is the single most powerful healing therapy used in Ayurveda. And since Ayurveda has been around since the dawn of human history, that’s saying a lot.
 
The reason that PK is so deeply effective is that it’s cleansing action is not just limited to the digestive tract, as most cleanses are. PK addresses body and mind, clearing out toxins (ama) from both, while helping to heal many conditions. Following this, the internal strength (ojas) of the body is rebuilt. 
 
In fact, when properly used, there are three phases to PK: 1) preparatory practices (purva karma); 2) the main techniques of elimination (pradhan karma); and 3) follow up techniques of rejuvenation (praschat karma). All three phases are practiced at The Ayurvedic Spa at CCA.  The whole process can take up to a month, although the length of the program varies according to each person’s individual need. 
 
At the California College of Ayurveda, every treatment program is custom-created. The usual scenario involves you beginning the process at home with eating a prescribed light diet, resting, minimizing stress, taking herbs. This lasts for about a week, after which you come to CCA in Nevada City, California, where you retreat into our lovely Cottage by the Pond, complete with a king-sized bed and private deck overlooking a peaceful garden and koi pond. Your stay will last from 5 to 30 days, and each day, you will be lovingly cared for with specific hands-on treatments and custom-prepared healing foods. 
 
The treatments typically involve daily herbalized oil massages (abhyanga), steam treatments (svedana), and warm oil poured luxuriously over your forehead/third eye (shirodhara). Additional treatments may include special oil enemas, purgation, marma therapy, pranic healing, dough dam bastis, facials, yoga nidra, yoga therapy, and more! All the treatments and preparatory practices are aimed at first loosening and then removing toxins from within the body and mind. This is powerful and transformational medicine! 
 
In Ayurveda, rejuvenation always follows cleansing. As a result, after the cleansing practices, foods are slowly re-introduced, your digestive “fire” is properly stoked, herbs may be prescribed and rest recommended, as you slowly re-integrate into life - refreshed, restored, rejuvenated.
 
Pancha karma is very effective at returning you to your most balanced, optimal state. However, you do need to be strong enough to take it. If you’re not, no worries - Ayurveda comes to the rescue with gentle cleanses. And if it isn’t a cleanse that you need, but rather pure rejuvenation therapies because you’re depleted and fatigued, Ayurveda rules supreme with this as well! But that will be a subject for another day…  
 
By Marisa Laursen, C.A.S., P.K.S., A.Y.T., Faculty at the California College of Ayurveda