Stress and cold cause constriction. The body becomes tight by the expectation or the actual experience of fear. The same constriction happens when we feel cold.

You might have heard of panchakarma, the signature detox program of Indian tradition, highly successful in restoring body’s own ability to heal itself, in other words, improving self-regulation. This means improved digestion and nutrient intake, enhanced immunity, and recovery from chronic lifestyle disorders such as auto-immune disorders, inflammation, skin disorders and of course, stress.

Panchakarma is, however, only one end of the spectrum. It is the most vigorous form of detoxification in Ayurveda. On the other end we have a daily and seasonal, natural occurrence of waste disposal from the body. This can be achieved efficiently with timed meals seasonal diet and lifestyle. In between, there are numerous options, depending on the time and resources available.

One thing that all detox programs, not only ayurvedic, should include. This is lack of stress and avoidance of anything cold, inside and outside.

Stress and cold cause constriction. The body becomes tight by the expectation or the actual experience of fear. The same constriction happens when we feel cold.

Constriction changes the patterns of blood flow, gut motility and lymphatic drainage. Warmth and a perceived sensation of safety and comfort are essential during detoxification.

Success depends highly on how stress is managed and the body is kept warm. As in panchakarma so in home detox (and anything in between) the first questions one needs to ask are: am I safe and comfortable with this program, am I happy with the food choices during this program, am I able to consider hunger as a fleeting moment rather than pain, am I stressed by work or any environmental, social or even climatic factor.

Apart from the self explanatory warm clothing (especially feet, wrists, lower back, head and neck)  and a set of stress management tools, stress and cold can be managed with massages with warm oil and heat therapies. They should be done daily in addition to the intake of herbs and other remedies to enhance the flow, elimination of waste and removal of toxins.

Relaxing massages are a must if you try to detoxify in a stressful environment. It is the best antidote when life is the way it is an it cannot be changed.

For the best results in detoxing, stressors of life should be avoided and, of course, the program itself should not create stress. Embarking on a detox program that does not feel safe, for example, liquid fast when you have never fasted in your life, is going to end without desired results. Stamina with hunger is also something to consider and it is indeed a source of stress for many. Intermittent fasting is essential during detox and if hunger is not something one cannot manage, then the program needs tweaking. On top of that add work life, family, the dog, neighbours, commuting, traffic and especially social media can all be sources of tension and need to be taken into account.

For a good detox program to work, there are a set of variables to consider and the best way to get one, especially for you, is to come and have a chat with me in a consultation. Together we can find the best solutions to make sure the toxins really come out. The options start from daily home detox, quick detox in the clinic, urban panchakarma and even a residential private retreat in Dorset. Optimised for individual needs.


I first heard about Panchakarma 15 years ago. A friend from Chicago was poised to journey to India for this detox and said it was not a detox for the faint hearted and fierce discipline was required to get through it. This was enough to put me off learning more about it until it popped into my mind at the tail end of last year with an inherent sense this was the right time to go for it  and all would be well.

Jivita Ayurveda is the health centre I chose for my 10 day PK experience.  The founder Anu Paavola has dedicated her life to learning the ancient traditions to support the health of others and her centre is an oasis of tranquility right in the heart of North West London.  The daily detoxification massages were beyond wonderful and Anu’s every recommendation to support my experience was so helpful. 

If you’re in any doubt whether PK is for you pop into the centre for a Golden Milk or Cacao shot to learn more – these drinks are entirely yum

and whether you decide to fully immerse in PK or just a one off treat of a treatment your mind and body will bow down and thank you afterwards I promise!

Sally Assor

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