4 Reasons why Panchakarma cannot be done at home
This might break your heart, but yes, Panchakarma cannot be done at home. Panchakarma is a set of clinical procedures mentioned in classical Ayurvedic texts. You can read here to learn more about Panchakarma. More and more people now want to explore and experience these age-old scientific techniques. Nowadays, it’s very easy to spot such fancy terms on the internet as:
- Home Panchakarma program
- Home Panchakarma kit
- Panchakarma stores
- Basti formula for sale
It pains to see that it takes more than eight years of training to become a Panchakarma specialist, and ridiculously some people make the population believe that Panchakarma is an easy ‘to do at home’ procedure. This blog is to make people realize that it is not just another ‘Ayurveda home remedy’ but a domain of experts. Here are four reasons why Panchakarma cannot be done at home.
1) Massage is not Panchakarma
Neither do the following qualify as Panchakarma:
- Taking hot bath
- Applying steam
- Drinking ghee
- Performing Shirodhara
- Taking Triphala powder
- Taking dashmool enema
While massage, steam, and drinking ghee are poorvakarmas or preparatory procedures, Shirodhara is an adjunctive procedure. Self-massage cannot qualify as a preparatory procedure because it will be inadequate.
Dashmool enema performed at home with an enema kit is a far cry from the Basti procedure, which is the jewel of Panchakarma. Taking a laxative like Triphala certainly does not equate to the Virechana procedure.
2) Traditional Panchakarma can only be performed by experts
The main Panchakarma procedures can be counterproductive when preparatory procedures are inadequately done. Only a trained Panchakarma therapist knows the proper strokes of an Ayurvedic massage, and he alone should do it. Only a wise physician knows how much ghee a patient needs to drink and for how long (3/5/7 days). Otherwise, it can alter the lipid profile of the recipient and can cause metabolic syndrome. Basti/Vamana/Virechana ( the core procedures) are all techniques mastered over many years. They can only be performed by experts, and that too in a clinic or a hospital and certainly not at home. A residential Panchakarma clinic or hospital is ideal. But one may ask the recipient to come to the clinic daily from home with strict dietary and lifestyle guidelines.
3) Panchakarma has complications
Complications are rare when performed by experts. During and after the Basti procedure, the patient must be watched for any signs of vasovagal response. The patient might complain of severe pain or might lose consciousness. A Panchakarma expert efficiently manages all these symptoms. The procedures are very potent and can be harmful if not done correctly.
4) 5 day cleanse is not Panchakarma
Complete Panchakarma with all its core procedures requires about 128 days. Adjuvant procedures like Shirodhara, Sirobasti, etc., can be done for 3/5/7 days. Among the core procedures, only ‘nasya’ (nasal medication ) can be done for a shorter period. Ayurveda is much about following a healthy diet and lifestyle. So one can follow Ayurvedic principles at home for healthy living. But one should not be fooled to think that Panchakarma’s promised health benefits can be achieved in the comfort of home. Ayurveda is more than ‘home remedies’ and ‘kitchen spices’.