It was April 2017 and I was heading to Nepal to tackle a pretty challenging 24 day Panchakarma.
For those unfamiliar with what a Panchakarma is, basically it’s a full-on detox from the inside out (literally right!) Based on the principles of Ayurveda.
It was probably the best as well as the most difficult experience I’ve ever undertaken. I have to say however, it was certainly the most rewarding.
Why do I share this? Well, it healed my body from over 20 years of chronic back pain and by sharing my experience, I hope to inspire others who may be in a similar situation.
Along with the physical detox, I used many mindset principles to assist me in my healing journey. I had become very familiar with these principles over the years. I’d been studying the mind-body connection for over three decades. As well as being a huge passion of mine it is an integral part of how I live my life.
Seven Month Detox
So my detox officially began on New Year’s Day 2017 (or 2074 in the Nepalese calendar but more on that in a future post!) I gave up caffeine, dairy, gluten, alcohol and more!! For seven months in total. The detoxing I did before I even got to Nepal was challenging but nothing compared to the actual time spent at the retreat.
I could have chosen to focus on the pain and how arduous this was. Instead I focussed on the pleasure that I knew the outcome would bring.
In the time I suffered from back pain, I visited physiotherapists, osteopaths, chiropractors, acupuncturists, massage therapists, kinesiologists, physicians, a rheumatologist and a neurosurgeon.
There were probably more specialists, I lost track over the years. It was a never-ending cycle of getting my hopes up after being assured they could fix me, only to be disappointed time and time again. I had CT scans, ultrasounds, MRIs, X-rays, SPECT bone scans, ultrasound-guided injections, and more.
I had also been diagnosed with osteoporosis some years earlier and the Endocrinologist, as well as various doctors whom I saw, insisted I take some pretty harsh medication. After consulting Dr Google, I decided this was not something I was prepared to subject my body to for the rest of my life. The side effects of which are a whole new topic of conversation that I won’t go into.
Knowing the power of the body to heal itself through the right mindset, nutrition and lifestyle changes, I knew the path for me to follow next was Ayurveda.
How I Discovered Ayurveda
I had come across Ayurveda many years earlier when I studied various books by Deepak Chopra. I found it absolutely fascinating and loved the whole concept behind the principles of Ayurveda.
I read everything I could on the subject and did courses to further my knowledge in this field.
In 2013 I visited an Ayurveda doctor for the first time and had my pulse and tongue read which determined my constitution (dosha). I was a classic Vata with some Pitta. I was given a personalised routine to follow and this included taking a course in Transcendental Meditation along with dietary and other lifestyle changes.
These adjustments to my life made a noticeable but small difference to the pain I had become accustomed to. However, I still struggled to get dressed every morning.
It took a further four years to find a place to do the full Panchakarma. When I discovered the Ayurvedic Health Home in Pokhara, Nepal, the beautiful city at the base of the Himalayas, I knew this was the place for me to visit.
Setting off on my journey was immensely exciting, as well as perhaps a bit scary. I knew what was in store for me yet I wasn’t sure how my body and my mind would respond.
The next post in this series dives deeper into what a Panchakarma involves.