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Ayurvedic Cleanse: How to Reset Health in 4 Days
Question: When is it time for an Ayurvedic Cleanse?
Answer: When digestion is weak, lymph is stagnant, and toxins have circulated and deposited in the deeper tissues of the body.
There’s a feeling of waking up groggy, tired, and stiff…and without an Ayurvedic Cleanse, these symptoms will tend to worsen and develop into more serious conditions over time.
…but this pathology can be reversed, toxins can be safely removed from the body, these symptoms can be eliminated, digestive and lymphatic health can be restored, and more serious conditions can be avoided with the support of an Ayurvedic cleanse.
Here are some of the common symptoms:
- Abdominal Bloating
- Breast Swelling/Tenderness
- Swollen/Cold/Sore Hands or Feet
- Mental “Fog”
- Itchy Skin
- Joint Discomfort
- Scratchy Throat
- Frequent Colds
- Water Retention
What Is An Ayurvedic Cleanse?
An Ayurvedic cleanse can range from a short 4-day home program for beginners to a longer 14-day home program, or a complete Panchakarma program within a clinical setting.
The 5 main elements of an Ayurvedic cleanse include:
- Non-Fat Kitchari Diet
- Oleation Therapy
- Herbal Protocol
- Hydration Therapy
- Purgation Therapy
Non-Fat Kitchari Diet
Kitchari is an Ayurvedic miracle food made from basmati rice, split yellow mung dal, and spices. It’s full of protein, easy to digest, and helps heal the digestive tract and intestinal mucosa.
Kitchari is the food staple during an Ayurvedic cleanse, and may even be eaten exclusively as a mono-diet. A non-fat kitchari is eaten during the cleanse to support the body’s movement into fat metabolism and detox of toxins and old emotions stored in the fat. This process is further supported by eating just 3 meals per day without snacking, and the biggest meal eaten mid-day.
Oleation therapy is the Ayurvedic term for the external and internal application of oil to lubricate the body and support the transportation of toxins back to the digestive tract through the lymph.
Although other oils (such as coconut) may be used, the most preferred substance for internal oleation is clarified butter, or “ghee.” This ghee is taken in increasing dosages each morning of an Ayurvedic cleanse to help the body transition into a state of fat metabolism. It helps nourish and heal the digestive tract and deeper tissues, and it draws heavy metals and other fat-soluble toxins back to the digestive tract to be flushed.
There are generally two categories of herbs taken during an Ayurvedic cleanse: digestive herbs and detox herbs.
Digestive herbs are taken before meals to stoke the digestive fire (agni), and detox herbs are taken after meals to support cleansing of the lymph, blood, liver, and fat. The specific herbs used depend on an individual’s unique constitution (prakruti) and current state of imbalance (vikruti).
It’s important to drink water to help soften the intestinal tract, support assimilation of the ghee throughout the system, and keep the lymphatic system and all of the cells of the body hydrated during an Ayurvedic cleanse.
There are two specific strategies:
- Drinking half of your ideal body weight in fluid ounces of room temperature or warm water each day. (i.e. If your ideal body weight is 140 lbs, you’d aim to drink 70 oz of water.)
- Sipping small amounts of hot water a few times each hour.
On the final evening of an Ayurvedic cleanse, a laxative is given to flush all of the accumulated toxins out of the digestive tract.
The body is left feeling light and clean, but it is important to follow post-cleanse protocol over the days to come that will help restore digestive strength. This often includes a gradual increase in the complexity of food eaten, and an increased dosage of digestive herbs before meals for a few days. This is also a great time to repopulate the gut with beneficial bacteria from healthy fermented foods and probiotics.
Remember, it’s not what we do from time-to-time, but what we do everyday that determines our long-term health. Ideally, an Ayurvedic cleanse is also a chance to reset our daily habits with the Everyday Practices.