Detox according to your Dosha type and what its needs are.
If you’re very mucousy, then go off dairy, sugar, and grains. Find out what your dosha type is, and individualize a little bit closer; you could go by your symptoms as well.
If you’re not sure of your body type, your dosha type, you can take a little quiz, an Ayurvedic self-assessment on drkeesha.com.
If you have a lot of mucus, then you’re going to want to do a lot of drying items like ginger. All of those fantastic spices that we use in the fall with our cooking, like cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, allspice, and anise, are all fantastic for this time of year, too. They’re very warming. It is a time of the year when you don’t want to have cold things out of the refrigerator. You don’t want to be crunching on ice, and you don’t want to be having a lot of crackers, popcorn, or pretzels because that’s more Vata aggravation. You want to be having warm soupy foods. Those are your friends in spring. Sip on warm ginger tea throughout your day.
Now, another thing that Ayurveda talks about at this time of year, in fact, whenever there’s a season change: you’re supposed to do a cleanse.
You’ll want to alter the cleanse according to the season, your dosha imbalance, and your dosha type. Panchakarma is one of the most amazing things you can do at the season change.
Panchakarma is an Ayurvedic cleansing routine – royal detoxification.
Pancha means five, karma means actions, and it’s five different actions that help you cleanse and pull toxins up through your tissue layers and out of your body.
If you can’t find someone to do panchakarma or you can’t afford it, then you can do some home panchakarma.
One of the ways to do that is dry skin brushing every morning. There’s a brush I recommend on my website in the store. Always brush vigorously towards your heart. So if you’re doing around your neck area, you’ll go down towards your heart. If you’re doing your lower extremities and your arms, you come up towards your heart. This stimulates your lymphatic system.
Your lymph system is so important because it removes the toxins that your cells have thrown out during the night.
During the night, we do a lot of detoxification. Our liver lets go of stuff. Our cells regenerate and get rid of garbage, so I always think about the lymph as garbage trucks. The cells put the garbage out on the outside of the cell membrane, and then the lymph trucks come through, pick it up and dump them out. If you have a congested lymph system, your lymphatic system will not work well. You’ll wind up with a lot of puffiness and held-onto fluid. This time of year, when people have problems with pollen, this is one of the things that shows up the most. They get swollen lymph nodes. They feel puffy and have a lot of mucus; for this, dry skin brushing is fantastic.
Then you can do an Epsom salts bath at night. I usually use about two cups of Epsom salts because I have a big, deep bathtub. In other words, have a good dose in there. Then you can use some essential oils like eucalyptus; just make sure they’re high-quality essential oils. Cedarwood, eucalyptus, geranium, and lavender are all fantastic. Put those in your tub and then soak—after you’ve done your dry skin brushing for 20 or 30 minutes. Then rinse off in the shower or the bathtub. Get the salt off. While your pores are nice and open, you can use some sesame oil and rub it all over your skin.
Sesame oil is what I use for my moisturizer. It’s fantastic. I’m going to be 53 next week, and this is my Vata time of life, so I’m approaching menopause. Things are starting (well, they haven’t yet) but they’re going to start getting dry and dried up. That’s what our skin does. We get wrinkles, and we start getting very dry. That’s one of the imbalances of Vata, so a nice, moisturizing sesame oil is fantastic for people of my age group. Sesame oil is what I use on my face and skin.
When I do blogs or write about this, people sometimes write to me and say, “Sesame oil is too warming or too heavy for me. What else can I use?” You can use olive oil. You can use jojoba oil. You can use almond oil, depending on your dosha type. For a Pitta person, you can use coconut oil if it’s hot outside. Pitta people need that cooling in the heat, and coconut oil is very cooling. If you have a lot of inflammatory stuff going on like the red eyes, the itchy eyes, as well as the sneezing and all those things, you can use coconut oil on the bottom of your feet at night and even on your scalp if you’re dry. For dry hair with dandruff, you can use coconut oil. Rub it into your scalp and take a shower the next day. Use it as a hot oil treatment. You can also use Brahmi oil in the same way. It’s great for the mind, great for the hair and great for the scalp. All of these are fantastic for keeping you balanced as you go through your seasonal changes.
Another thing that is fantastic for your home panchakarma, at this time of year, is to get in the far infrared sauna.
It’s great because you’re enlisting the largest organ of detoxification that you have to help you out, which is your skin. That’s why dry skin brushing, detox bathing, and using a far infrared sauna are all great. One of my favorite parts of my home is the far infrared sauna that I have from Sunlighten. You can read more about them on my website, drkeehsa.com.
I just love this company, and their product is really good because they don’t have high EMFs, and they use wood that doesn’t give off-gas toxins when it gets heated up.
For your home panchakarma, use lots and lots of sesame oil on your skin.
You can use sesame oil in your nose and your ears. For your nose, put a couple of drops of eucalyptus oil in your sesame oil, and then put it in a dropper bottle. Then just tip your head back and put three to seven drops into each nostril, one nostril at a time. Close off the opposite nostril and sniff the oil up into your nasal passages. Do this for each nostril.
The ancient people knew that snorting like this was good for them because it goes across the cribriform plate of your sinus cavity and helps with cognitive function. It helps with memory, and it helps when you have ADD- Vata kinds of symptoms. It helps to balance that. It also helps your immune system, and it helps you avoid some of the nasal reactions to springtime. Yes, all by simply using a little sesame oil! You don’t even have to put the eucalyptus in there, just sesame oil will do the trick. Nasya oil is great. Every morning, do that as part of your home panchakarma.
If you find that you have ringing in your ears, ear issues, vertigo, or dizziness, you can warm up sesame oil and put it in your ear canal.
Lie on your side. Drop some warm drops of just sesame oil in there. If you have troubles with your immune system, simmer a little garlic clove in the oil, strain it out, put it in a dropper bottle, and when it’s cooled to a nice warm temperature, put the drops in your ear. (You can check the temperature the same way you would check for a baby bottle on your wrist. Never put hot oil in your ear canal!) Then lie there let it just soak in. You can read a book while you’re waiting for it to soak. If your ear is full of oil, put a cotton ball over it, so it doesn’t seep down your neck. Then cover that side with a washrag or paper towel, turn over, and do the other side. Again, all part of panchakarma.
The last thing to do (everyone loves this one), when you are having a hard time with Vata imbalances like ringing in the ears, ADD-types of symptoms, joint pain, and scattered mind, is to give yourself an oil enema. Remember, this is oil in every orifice. Go to the drugstore and get a Fleets enema bottle. Pour out all the solution in there. Put a quarter cup to a half a cup of the sesame oil in the enema bottle and put the whole enema bottle in a sink full of hot water to warm it up.
Then you just lie on your side. Squeeze the air out of the bottle, so you’re not putting air into your intestinal tract or you’ll have gas. Lubricate the tip with some of the sesame oil and stick it into your bottom and squeeze the oil in. You can sleep with that all night. You can put a towel on your bed and just let the oil soak in. It’s not meant to make you go to the bathroom. It’s just a little bit of oil. If you’re really Vata imbalanced, then your intestinal wall will soak all that oil up, moisturizing your colon. Again, it’s another area of moisturization that is lacking when you have a Vata imbalance.
All these things help for grounding too. That’s your root chakra. When it’s moisturized, it’s grounding for Vata imbalance. That’s home panchakarma. It’s a do-it-yourself if you can’t afford to have this done for you by somebody else. I always call this a life insurance policy.
Panchakarma is your best preventative medicine you can do- whether you do it at home or have someone else do it.
Dr. Keesha Ewers is a board certified Functional and Ayurvedic medical practitioner, as well as Doctor of Sexology, host and founder of The Woman’s Vitality Summit, and founder of a new branch of medicine called Functional Sexology. Click here to learn more about her Integrative Medicine Health Coach Certification Program.