self oil massage
April 21, 2013
Deacon in Madurai
February 13, 2013
February 9, 2013
packing for india
January 28, 2013
Yoga and Ayurveda
January 9, 2013
December 2, 2012

toilet_bowlAs many of you know, I was prescribed the Ayurvedic therapies of Virechana and Vamana. Virechana is the internal oleation process, which penetrates deep into the tissues and joints and removes toxins, which aren’t water-soluble (heavy metals, etc). This process brings all toxins into the digestive tract; where they wait to be removed by Vamana
 (therapeutic vomiting).

Before I expand on my experience, I just want to point out that I can probably count on two hands the amount of times I’ve actually been sick enough to vomit. It’s not an activity I particularly cherish; yet there I was, under the guidance of a doctor about to toss my cookies! Also, for the more squeamish of reader, you may not want to read this post.

For the past three days, I have existed on a diet of 150ML’s of liquefied ghee (used to bring the toxins into the digestive tract) and the occasional bowl of Kanji (watery rice gruel).  I have also been receiving Abhyanga every evening, which is a massage technique designed to draw toxins from the deeper tissues.

 This morning, it was time for my Vamana therapy, although I have to admit that I didn’t sleep well at all last night, and woke up feeling feverish with flu-like symptoms (completely normal during this process).

We started therapy at 8:00AM with Abhyanga massage, followed by a 10-minute steam. Still covered in sesame oil from the massage, I was then given a towel to wrap around my waist and sat in a plastic garden chair.

The doctor came in shortly after to brief me once again on the program for the morning (just in case I forgot what we talked about the night before). Another technician came into the room with several steaming pots, including a big pot of Kanji, 2 liters of milk and 8 liters of hot water.

Firstly, 50ML’s of liquefied ghee were administered, then a healthy 4-servings of Kanji. Then I was given herbal vomiting medicine before I started to drink what seemed to be an endless supply of warm water and milk. The trick is to just chug as much of the concoction, which induces emesis. If you sip it, the concoction will be digested (and the process would take all day).

Dr. Ramesh came in to see how I was doing, and asked if I wouldn’t mind if some members of the group watched the process. Being a teacher, I thought that this would be an amazing therapy to experience for some of the students. “Of course! I don’t mind”, not really giving it any thought. I really wanted this experience to be over. A little moral support wouldn’t help! It was humbling enough to be sitting in a rather modest towel in front of three perfect strangers engaging, in what I would consider, a rather intimate act, why not invite the class?

Of course, almost the entire group came into watch the therapy, as a contraption, which looked like a sink on balancing bars, was wheeled in front of me, followed by a very large bucket. I was now officially worried.

I started drinking the Luke-warm milk and water combination (cold water represses emesis). I drank cup after cup, on top of the ghee, the vomiting medicine and three healthy servings of Kanji. I started to feel that inviting the group was probably not the best idea. I kept drinking, and the technician kept rubbing my belly and back, until about 10 cups in, it made a return appearance. Most of the group couldn’t watch, and who can blame them?

I was able to rest for a few minutes, before more water and milk was administered,  then, I was yelling Europe into the sink again!

By now, I must have looked quite pretty. I’m still covered in sesame oil, from the message earlier, tears are streaming down my face, and I’m sweating like crazy. I looked up at the group, and they all made that “be strong” face, so I took more milk and water.

When all was said and done, I took in (and gave back) almost 10 liters of the fluids (which is about 2.6 gallons to those of you on the English system. I was exhausted, and needed to go back to my room. I gargled with rock sale to reduce the inflammation in my throat, and then was given a herbal smoke treatment. Herbs, which had been mixed with ghee and turmeric, were inhaled through the nostril and out the mouth – this was used to reduce any excess Kapha in the nasal cavities.

The medical director did say that I was the only patient she’d seen in her experience who didn’t put up a fight. Her words were “he is quite brave”. Good to know that I’m still a good patient!

I then showered, and then shuffled back to the comfort and seclusion of my room. I wasn’t allowed to nap (as napping during the day increases toxins), so I read and watch a Bollywood film. 

Although I’m still coming out of my treatment almost 4 hours later, I must admit, I feel a deep shift in my physiology – almost as if 39 years of toxins were just released from my body.

I will say this; true Ayurvedic therapy isn’t for the faint of heart (in fact, the nurse took my blood pressure three times during the treatment). It’s also incredibly humbling to have people take care of your detoxifying process without flinching, as it’s just as natural a good bowel movement. But if you are prepared to do the work, the health benefits are astounding!

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