Could your digestion use a reset?
According to Ayurveda, when a dosha has accumulated, there are two ways to address it: you can manage the dosha through diet and lifestyle until balance is restored, or you can “expel the dosha” (along with accumulated toxins) through panchakarma, the Ayurvedic cleansing and rejuvenation process.
Can you guess which method is faster for restoring balance?
Ama: The byproduct of poor digestion
When your digestive fire is strong and healthy, your body is able to process and remove toxins through urine, feces, and sweat. But when digestion is impaired, metabolic waste, known as ama, starts to accumulate, clogging the channels of elimination and leading to diminished health. Over time, if this ama is not removed, the buildup of toxins can lead to disease.
This is why regular, seasonal Ayurvedic Cleansing is so important. Ayurveda recommends following a detoxification and rejuvenation program a minimum of once a year; for most people, twice a year is ideal.
Cleansing has become very trendy in recent years, and for good reason. The benefits of a good cleanse can range from improved energy and weight loss to decreased pain and improved digestion. But not all cleanses will have these effects. Some will leave you feeling depleted and can even weaken your digestive fire, making it hard on your body to go back to “real” food. This negates the effects of the cleanse altogether, as returning to your regular diet only increases toxins more quickly.
That’s why I feel so fortunate to have discovered Ayurveda, and with it the cleansing process that has been used successfully for thousands of years to help people heal from a wide variety of illnesses—some that are even thought to be incurable. This form of cleansing is an effective way to prevent disease later in life.
So what are the signs that you could use a cleanse?
1. Low energy levels.
Low energy is a result of two possible scenarios: either you have toxins inhibiting proper absorption in the GI tract, leading to insufficient cellular nutrition and fatigue. Or your nervous system is fried from too much activity, resulting in burnout. Both of these scenarios are addressed in an Ayurvedic cleanse, which gently cleanses toxins from the GI tract, while calming the nervous system.
2. Tongue coating.
Our tongue reflects the health of our digestive organs. If your tongue is coated, it also indicates your GI tract is coated, which inhibits proper digestion and absorption. And if your tongue has scalloping along the sides, which look like teeth indentations, it means your body isn’t adequately absorbing the nutrients in your food. Ayurvedic cleansing not only removes these toxins, but also enhances the digestive fire so these toxins don’t re-accumulate.
3. Mental confusion, anxiety, or depression.
Toxins don’t only exist in the physical body…they can exist in the mind as well. When our perception becomes cloudy, confused, dull, or depressed, it means we could use a mental cleanse as well as a physical one. And when we’re anxious, it means our nervous system is overworking, which makes it hard for our body to digest food and leads to toxic accumulation.
4. Feeling of heaviness.
Heaviness is a sign that the digestive fire is low. It can’t adequately break down the food we’re eating, so it just sits there heavily in our gut. This accumulation of undigested food can lead to weight gain if we don’t clear it out. An Ayurvedic cleanse brings about lightness in the body by removing these accumulated, undigested foods.
5. Gas, bloating, digestive distress.
Any and all digestive problems are a sign that our digestive fire is out of balance. It may be burning too hot, or too cool. Either scenario creates nutrients that our body can’t properly utilize, leading to either depletion of our body’s tissues, or accumulation of excess tissue. Balancing the digestive fire through a cleanse leads to healthy, balanced, and nourished tissues.
6. Foul odors or breath.
Foul smells coming from your body mean there’s something not right. Even our feces is not meant to smell particularly foul…if it does, it’s a sign of toxins. Same for stinky body odor or breath. Foul smells=toxins!
7. Body aches and pains.
Aches and pains can signal that toxins in our body have moved into the deeper tissues. Unfortunately, many of us go get massages to alleviate the pain, but if the pain is coming from toxins, a massage can actually drive the toxins deeper into the tissues! Ayurvedic cleansing is designed to pull toxins from the deeper tissues back into the GI tract where they can be eliminated, which alleviates this type of pain.
I offer a guided Ayurvedic cleanse twice a year, in the spring and fall.