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The Benefits of an Ayurvedic Cleanse
With celebrities like Aaron Rodgers and Kourtney Kardashian exploring Ayurveda, you may be wondering if Ayurveda and Ayurvedic cleanses are legit or just another fad.
Turns out that peer reviewed Western science now backs the cleansing and detox strategies Ayurvedic practitioners designed thousands of years.
Called panchakarma, these Ayurvedic cleanses traditionally involved a 7- to 14-day retreat that included two-person massages, warm oil therapies, herbalized steam baths, yoga, breathing, meditation, and a special diet of kitchari (rice and mung bean soup).
Home cleansers can choose the at-home retreat packages that emphasized rest, yoga, breathing, and meditation or they can choose a more active option that allows you to work, exercise, and, as Kourtney Kardashian laments missing, have sex.
See also See also How To Do Panchakarma At Home
The Science of Ayurvedic At-Home Panchakarma
While panchakarma is classically done in a retreat setting, the aspects of panchakarma that are backed by science can easily be done at home while maintaining your normal lifestyle.
The detox is performed by a process called lipophilic mediated detox, which is when healthy fats are used to pull out toxic fats that are commonly stored in our fat cells. To do this, Ayurveda uses daily doses of ghee while suggesting a low-fat diet of a rice and bean soup (called kitchari) to detoxify.
In one study, researchers looked at levels of toxic substances in subjects before and then after a 7-days cleanse with ghee and kitchari. The researchers saw a 46 percent decrease, on average, in Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and a 56 percent decrease in pesticides, suggesting that ghee was an effective detox process for environmental pollutants.
Ghee, which is just unsalted butter with all the milk solids boiled off, is the highest food source of butyric acid. Butryic acid is so critical for gut health that our gut microbiome sports numerous bacteria, such as Clostridium butryricum, that literally manufacture their own butryric acid. The butyric acid in ghee feeds beneficial bacteria and plays a huge role in maintaining gut health, healthy bowel function, and your immune system.
The diet during a home panchakarma is a combination of a morning dose of ghee followed by three servings of kitchari each day for four to seven days, depending on the cleanse you choose.
New research has shown that this diet mimics the benefits of fasting even though you are having three meals a day. Studies have found that the Ayurvedic cleansing diet matches the amount of fat, protein and carbohydrates that have been found to boost the production of stem cells and autophagy for both cellular rejuvenation and cellular recycling.
Cleansing Helps You Handle Stress
While home panchakarma can have profound physical benefits that attract celebrities, its potential effects on your mind and ability to handle stress may be the secret sauce that makes Ayurvedic detox so attractive.
According to Ayurveda, mental health starts in the gut. Studies have found that 95 percent of the body’s serotonin is manufactured in the gut, and this mood stabilizing neurotransmitter has a bi-directional relationship with the gut and brain.
With 74 percent of Americans complaining of some type of digestive distress, science has now made the connection between gut health and mental health. Called mental ama in Ayurveda, molecules of emotion by are held in the body’s gut, fat, and muscles. Healing the lining of the gut, while encouraging the body to detox fat cells, allows the release of old emotions that often lock us into repetitive patterns of stressful behavior.
Combing these detox therapies with the practice of yoga, breathing, and meditation has been shown to establish brain wave patterns of composure and calm in the midst of stress. In addition, each of these practices have been shown to boost neuroplasticity, which is the ability to change unhealthy neuro-emotional patterns of behavior. The most common experience after a week of an Ayurvedic home cleanse is the feeling of deep rejuvenation physically, composure and calm mentally, and a powerful sense of emotional stability – all backed by modern science and ancient medical wisdom.