Panchakarma Journal: Daily Ayurveda Spa Treatments

Buddha Reflecting by Morgan Ellis,

During each day of my Panchakarma retreat, I received 6 treatments at the Ayurveda Spa.  The purpose of the treatments is to help expel the toxins that have been released by the special Panchakarma food and herbal supplements protocols.  The treatments are considered to be a key component of the Ayurvedic intense detoxification process.

The Six Spa Treatments

Dry Skin Brushing

Brushing the body with a dry skin brush helps remove dead skin cells and cosmetics, unclogging pores and preparing the skin to better absorb the herbal oils used in Abhyanga, as well as eliminate toxins during Svedhana.   


Abhyanga is a warm oil massage performed on the entire body, including the face.  Traditionally, the massage is performed by two therapists, using specific, synchronized strokes on both sides of the body.   The most common oil used is sesame.  However, other oils may also be used.  These include safflower, almond, coconut, olive, grapeseed, jojoba and sunflower oils.   Herbs may be added to the oil to increase its effectiveness, depending on a person's doshic makeup and general state of health.


Nasya refers to nasal cleansing, usually followed by Abhyanga (after the face has been massaged). 
It usually involves administering oil into the nostrils.  Herbs may be added to the oil.  Other substances used may include ghee, herbal powder or herbal smoke.


Shirodhara is a unique Ayurvedic treatment.  A steady stream of warm oil is poured onto the forehead and the 6th (third eye) chakra.   Sesame oil (with or without added herbs) is most commonly used.  The treatment usually lasts from 30 to 60 minutes and is generally followed by a scalp massage.

Chakra Therapy

A technique utilizing color, aroma, light and sound to remove any stagnation and to align, balance and heal the chakras.  In my treatment, the practitioner used gemstones, essential oils, tingsha (Tibetan bells) and a Tibetan singing bowl.

Svedhana (Swedhana)

Svedhana refers to an herbal steam performed on the entire body, except for the face.  This is a key component of Panchakarma treatment, as it helps to remove the toxins that were released during Abhyanga, as well as the special food and diet protocols.  

Related:  Panchakarma Journal:  Daily Diet During Retreat and Detox


The treatments were always preceded by a 15 - 30 minute consultation with the Ayurveda practitioner.  The consultations included an assessment of my doshic makeup and imbalances, discussions concerning my lifestyle, information concerning the treatments, diet, herbs and other aspects of the treatment plan, and monitoring my progress.

Self-Administered Treatments

Tongue Scraping

Application of Brahmi Oil

Administration of Herbal/Oil Enema

Related:  Panchakarma:  Daily Routine
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