Spring Cleanse With Ayurvedic Therapies
In Ayurvedic medicine, there are therapeutic goals for receiving body treatments and massages. Ayurvedic treatments can either be tonifying or purifying to the body. In a tonification treatment, the goal is to support and strengthen the body. In a purification treatment, the goal is to reduce toxins or stagnation from the body. For the spring, I recommend those treatments which are purifying. The spring time is a natural time in our bodily rhythms for detoxification. Many of us start to think about our diets and lifestyle habits and opt to do a cleanse, where we try to eradicate the toxins we have built up in our bodies over the year. Even if you are not participating in a cleanse, you can still take advantage of our purifying treatments.
Part of a cleanse may include eliminating processed foods from the diet, and introducing more whole foods like raw fruits and vegetables. It is also important to induce your body to eliminate stored-up toxins. Ayurvedic body therapies are specifically designed to do just that. Scientific research in alternative health indicates that Ayurvedic detoxification treatments reduce levels of toxins by 50%. (Source: Sept/Oct 2002 Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine, Vol. 8, No. 5 pp. 93-103.) Doing a swedana, or steam treatment, coupled with an udvartana, or exfoliation scrub, are healthy and relaxing ways to induce your body to detoxify.
Udvartana is a 45-minute treatment that begins with skin brushing. The skin brush moves along the surface of the skin and brings the lymphatic fluid towards the heart and lymph nodes, where it will be purified. The lymphatic fluid is a major part of your immune system and carries your white-blood cells. After the skin brushing, the body is scrubbed with a hand-made herbal paste that is appropriate for your dosha, or body’s constitution. The herbs are purifying for the body by generating heat and encouraging the body to burn up toxins. If done alone, a thermal blanket is wrapped over you to allow the herbs to steep deeper into your body and be carried into the bloodstream. If coupled with Swedana, a steam tent will be lowered over your body to encourage the same effect.
Swedana is a steam treatment that enables you to comfortably repose on your back while a tent encloses you, leaving your head and neck out to keep cool. Inside the tent, the temperature reaches 120 degrees Fahrenheit. This treatment promotes sweating, which is your body’s detoxification process. Swedana raises your body temperature and increases the circulation of the superficial peripheral arteries and veins, bringing bloodflow towards the skin to eliminate toxins. Because you are reclining, it is even more beneficial to your digestive organs than a normal steam sauna.
In Ayurveda, we look at the human body as a unique expression of the elements found in nature. In this context, we pay attention to the seasons and subtle influences of the outside world. By doing so, we remain in harmony with nature.