Detox – An Ayurvedic Viewpoint
The Ayurvedic detox programs are based on the self healing abilities of the human body. Ayurveda and yoga are ancient sciences which encourages natural and healthy living. When we talk about detoxification, we assume that there are toxins in the body that needs to be eliminated.But, how did these toxins enter the body in the first place? Well, either it has to come from an external source (like food poisoning, environmental pollution, etc.) or should have been produced inside the body itself. Can toxins be produced inside the body? Yes, according to the science of Ayurveda, toxins can be produced inside the digestive system during the process of digestion and can become a major cause of disease. Let us understand this further.
According to Ayurveda, the food that we eat gets assimilated by the digestive system and gets converted to the ‘saptha dathus’, the seven types of body substance that constitutes the body. They are chyle, blood, flesh, bone, fat, bone marrow and semen. Food helps in the growth and repair of these seven substances apart from producing energy for the functioning of the body. The digestive system is a sophisticated chemical factory that accomplishes this huge task on a daily basis without any rest. This factory also produces waste products which cannot be used by the body and is eliminated as human waste, urine, sweat, etc. But there is another kind of waste which doesn’t get eliminated from the body. It is called ‘Aama’ in ayurveda. It is a foul smelling yellowish-white sticky substance that is produced when the food is not digested properly either due to weak digestion or improper food habits. Thus, overeating or eating food that are hard to digest or irregular eating habits, all can produce ‘Aama’. This ‘Aama’ gets accumulated in the intestines and remains there as a coating on the inner lining of the intestinal tube all the way to the large intestine.
How can Aama cause disease?
Ayurveda describes the process of disease creation in 6 stages called ‘shad kriya kala’. It means the six stages of development of a disease. The substance ‘Aama’ gets absorbed into the body through the intestinal lining and then it becomes a toxin. Once it enters the blood stream, it can get accumulated in any specific organ or tissue causing disease.
The six stages of disease manifestation according to Ayurveda are:
Chaya(Accumulation) – Here the toxin accumulates at a fixed place
Prakopa(Increase/Aggravate) – Here the toxin further increases
Prasara (to Spread) – Toxin spreads all over the body
Sthana Samshraya(Collection in a specific organ or place) – toxins accumulate at one specific point, causing pre-manifestation symptoms.
Vyakta(Clear manifestation)– here clear cut signs and symptoms of disease get manifested. This is the stage where a doctor can clearly diagnose the disease as it has already manifested.
Bheda(differentiation or further complication) – At this stage, the disease shows further complication as it effects more parts of the body.
As one can see, the disease can take root in the body even before it is manifested. It is hard to tell how much toxins you have in your body except via broad symptoms, which only a trained physician can recognize.
Is it possible to prevent the manifestation of the disease (due to accumulation of toxins) and even remove these toxins from your body? YES!!
That is what most detox programs are about. There are various methods of detoxification varying from special Detox Diets, Fasting, Exercise, Yoga and Medicine. All these methods aim at eliminating the toxins from the body thereby preventing the onset of a future disease or alleviating a disease which has already manifested. One can learn these methods from an expert in that field. Most of them can be practiced with a little knowledge and experience. But some of them (Like prolonged water fasting, etc) should be undertaken only under the direct observation and guidance of an expert. Also, if you have a chronic or severe health condition, please consult your doctor before you undertake any these detox programs.