How To Choose A Panchakarma Center

Are you looking for a supportive, powerful and transformative Panchakarma (PK) center? To ensure you have the most positive detox retreat possible, it is important to find a center that can customize and modify your protocols, support the release of emotional toxins, and address your particular health goals and concerns.

You can also do Panchakarma at home. Click here to learn more about how to create a healing PK retreat in your own home.

Based on Dr. John’s experience of successfully guiding thousands of people through Panchakarma over the last 30 years, we recommend that you ask a potential PK center the following questions:

  • How long has your center been performing Panchakarma? What is the experience of the Ayurvedic doctor and therapists? Panchakarma is a therapy that should only be administered by an experienced Ayurvedic doctor as the process of releasing toxins and old emotions can be powerful. If you need support with a specific health imbalance, ask what the doctor’s experience and success is with treating people with the condition. If the PK is being operated by a fairly new Ayurvedic practitioner or just a spa that is offering therapies, be cautious.
  • What kind of access will I have with the Ayurvedic doctor? How many sessions, and how long will they be? You will receive the most benefit if you are working closely with an Ayurvedic doctor who will do a thorough intake and customize your treatments, medicine, diet and mental/emotional/spiritual growth. You will need to meet with them regularly to monitor and support you through the healing process. A good schedule would be to meet with the doctor at least every other day for at least 30 minutes.
  • Can the Ayurvedic doctor support me with Ayurvedic Psychology and Self-Inquiry? As it will likely be difficult to find a center that can do Ayurvedic Psychology and Self-Inquiry to help release the mental and emotional layers, which can be the most important part of the PK detox, consider scheduling Skype or Phone consults with Dr. John during your PK. A lot can come up. It is a rare and precious opportunity to truly transform old patterns and beliefs while they are being released from the fat cells.
  • What kind of therapies do you offer? Look for a center with trained and skilled therapists that can do:
    – Shirodhara (warm herbalized oil poured on forehead)
    – Udvartana (massage with herbalized paste)
    – Abhyanga (oil massage)
    – Swedhana (hot herbal steam)
    – Vishesh (deep tissue)
    – SAN (Nasya)
    – Basti (nightly enema with warm herbalized oil)
  • Are the therapies (treatments, herbs, diet, protocols) customized based on my unique constitution and condition, or does everyone receive the same treatments? As we are all unique individuals, look for a center that will customize the treatments based on your needs.
  • What is the environment like at your center? One of the most important guidelines for Panchakarma is to spend the majority of time in silence. Though the cleansing protocols are important, diving deep into stillness through meditation and contemplation will facilitate the most profound healing and transformation. The center does not need to be in a beautiful setting, but it should provide the opportunity for and encourage you to spend at least 3-5 hours per day meditating, doing yoga or pranayama. Group meals and group activities can be a distraction for most people.
  • What is your experience working with Westerners? If the PK clinic is in India, find out how much experience they have guiding Westerners, partly because it is helpful for communication and sanitation. Specifically look for a doctor(s) and team that understands the particular needs and challenges of a Western person – as our physical and ‘inner’ lives can be very different, especially as women.
  • What food will you serve me? Look for a center that offers a very clean, simple, nourishing and organic diet, ideally mostly only kitchari and cooked vegetables. During PK it is important to heal the digestive system by eating a very simple whole foods diet.
  • Do I need to follow any specific protocols before I arrive? You will get the best results if you do a cleansing yet rejuvenating detox program at home before you arrive at the center, or at the beginning of your stay. If the center you decide to go to does not offer this, consider one of our at-home Ayurvedic cleanses, which range from 4-14 days – and one of them is even free: https://lifespa.com/cleansing.
  • Will you provide me with a plan to follow once I return home? Many PK centers call this a ‘rasayana’ program, which is a lifestyle plan you can follow once you return home, such as herbs to take, what/when/how to eat and stress-relief practices based on your needs to maintain benefits gained and continue healing. You can schedule an Ayurvedic consult at LifeSpa to receive a customized rasayana program.

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