Ayurveda Panchakarma - a Cancer Cure?
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Having completed six months of chemo for stage 4 Colon Cancer, in January of 2017 I set off to India's renowned Ayurvedic Research Hospital - Ayurveda Yoga Villa, which is known for it's treatment of cancer with Panchakarma. Ancient Ayurvedic Panchakarma is the ultimate mind-body healing experience for detoxifying the body, strengthening the immune system, and restoring balance and well-being.
I did not attend the centre with the intention of curing my cancer. My intention was to detox my body from the harsh effects of chemo. Is it really a cure for cancer like they claim? To be honest, I don't know. While I was there, five other people were being treated for a variety of cancers. Some had returned for treatment of a different kind after claiming that they were healed upon first visit to the centre. Those who had claimed to be healed of cancer through Panchakarma had caught their cancers in the very early stages - perhaps that makes a difference?
As for detoxing from chemo, the research I did suggested that chemo patients wait 6 months before any form of detoxing, as you may flood the liver with heavy doses of toxin which it can't handle and cause more damage to the liver. However, I attended the clinic only two months after chemo ended. Doctor Vipin, whose care I was under at the Villa, was careful to monitor the dosage of everything I was given in the program, so I always felt safe, however I believe I would have felt the benefits more had I waited the 6 months.
If you are considering attending Panchakarma at the Ayurveda Yoga Villa, this is the lowdown on what you can expect from the process. Dr Vipin allowed me to tape my sessions with him as he explained the theory behind each process.
What to Expect From Panchakarma
"You paid how much? To do WHAT?!" Such was the sentiment shared by friends after telling them of Panchakarma healing practices that included projectile vomiting, drinking warm cows urine, and medicated ghee. Did I mention enemas and purgation therapy? To say there was a lot shitting going on is an understatement!
Sometimes the diarrhea was so bad, I didn't even make it to the sanctity of a toilet. Par for the course apparently. Staff don't bat an eyelid at such indiscretions, happily cleaning up after you. Well, 'happily' might be an exaggeration, but Indians are way too polite to ever consider embarrassing someone. With so little fibre in the diet, I did wonder how so much poo could be produced! Excuse my crassness, but a month in such conditions leaves you free of inhibitions. Or is it dignity?
The Process At your first consult, you're asked to write a list of every place you have lived and worked, ALL the emotions you experienced in those environments (going all the way back to childhood), and your lifelong diet. You're also asked to write a list ALL your ailments. During your stay, they will treat everything on your list. Why is this necessary? Ayurvedic healing works on the premise that years of emotional suppressions create blocks to the body. A pathology is created inside the body unknowingly due to these suppressions. Ayurvedic healing works on everything from spiritual, emotional, physical levels.
For healing to occur on all levels, participants must attend daily Yoga, meditation, and Pooja rituals. Twice daily yoga helps the whole body to get realigned and corrects energy flow physically and mentally. Meditation calms the mind and instills mindfulness practices. Pooja fire ceremony, held at 5am and 6pm, works on the theory that the light (fire) stimulates the eyes and brain (the optic neural effect as in NLP), while the smoke has a neural cleansing effect. The chanted words carry a vibration which creates a neuro effect by restoring biochemicals of the brain cells.
The Link Between Emotions and Food
Dr Vipin (Director of the hospital and the cancer expert) explained that when we use words that cause pain in others, this causes disharmony which leads to the formation of viruses in our own body. Always words should make another feel uplifted. Hence there is a loosely enforced rule for NOT TALKING while you are eating.
Food is also considered an important component to healing and if taken with lots of conversation and subjective talk, it will not nourish the mind or energy body. Dependant on what is being discussed, a further energy block or suppression may be created.
But it's not only about the link between food and emotions. All food provided is grown on their organic farm . When meals are provided, there is a transfer of energy taking place through the food. Before serving at each meal sitting, the cooks and serving staff set the intention that they are using the food to 'heal'.
They do this through a song asking that the food be blessed with mother natures blessing. "Let all the powers of nature be in the food to heal the individual". That intention is there when food is harvested, prepared and served. Even the vessels used for cooking are intended for healing (no aluminium or teflon which create toxins if used for cooking over long periods).
The detox can also bring up some deeply repressed emotions, which you are encouraged to 'allow' without analysing - simply observe and let them pass. Very Vipassana-like. While I didn't have any such cathartic episodes, I did have a few crazy dreams (also to be expected). Dr Vipin said my dreams represented the fact that I hadn't fulfilled the male side of my nature. Completely true of course, and something I've been working on with vigour.
Giving and Receiving With Gratitude
Everything is being offered in an environment filled with loving, healing intentions. Just as food is blessed, so too are you being blessed before receiving every treatment, when being given herbal remedies at the pharmacy, during yoga, pooja and meditation. During the day, there is an elderly woman sitting in the main courtyard chanting about our healing and wellbeing. Love is considered a vital component to healing and you can feel it in every corner of the Villa.