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Panchakarma Files #4 – Nasyam and Massage

January 31, 2014

As I complete the second to last day of five massages, I’m entering the final third of this process. I’m tired, physically and emotionally though I have pressed myself harder than one would if in a strict hospital facility. Even writing now on the computer is not advised, the goal of Panchakarma(PK), to clear the mind completely as well as the body. A difficult aspect of this has been ocean deprivation as I will call it. I cheated one day and got in the water completely, beckoning me like a Siren. Other days I’ve been walking in the ocean at sunset when I go for a walk after making prayers at the local temple.

My understanding is that sun is bad for this process as is cold water because it shuts down the neurological system and can create arthritis. Adding to my rules I sprained my big toe on the one day off of PK when I went to the local city Trivandrum. My PK Dr. G. Vijayan is quite skilled at broken bones as I saw him putting on a leg cast today. He has been painfully massaging my toe with a special oil, wrapping it tightly with gauze and instructing me to not get it wet. AAKkk!  No more wet ocean feet.

At least I can bathe though this is not permitted during the three days of Nasyam, nasal clearing. Not easy with the temperatures here similar to Southern Florida in May only I have no air conditioning. I spent those three days outside in the shade on a lounge chair covered in wet cloth scented with citronella, tea tree oil and neem to keep the critters at bay. Fans are the only way to deal with heat which has my Vata dosha even higher, feeling like I’m living in an airplane engine. Relief comes on a scooter though more wind and agitating bumps, all contraindicated for PK.
Oils for PK

Oils for PK

Unfortunately I contracted a bad cold the day of vamana, making nasal clearing difficult though the nasyam provided a brief relief. Warmed, medicated oil massaged on my face and chest, then hot towels pressed on my face and chest. Next, lay down with massive amounts of oil sniffed through each nasal passage until I needed to expectorate which I did many times into a sink. I have had mucus-caked on my septum in my nose for years and as a result of this and possibly the vamana, I currently don’t have that.

Next, massage with therapist Radhe, the God Krishna’s deep love, who worked in the Government Hospital for 25 years. She’s from a neighboring city named Kallambullam which is really fun to say. The Malayalam language of Kerala is incredibly rhythmic, reminiscent of African beats. Ayurveda was born in the state of Kerala and is the closest source supposedly to it’s ancient roots, a major contributing factor why I decided to do Panchakarma here. That, with daily coconuts and dosa, a thin rice and lentil crepe that I never tire of and now make from scratch in my dream outdoor kitchen.
PK Restorative Drink

PK Restorative Drink

The massage is all about herbal oil rubbed repeatedly into every part of the body with intense, at times painful pressure to areas of congestion. For me this is my upper arms and behind the knees, two areas that make sense to me. Upper arms because of my congested lymphatic system, choosing to live with breast cancer the way I do for so many years.  Behind the knees also hurts perhaps because my veins have been compromised because cancer and chemo thickened my arteries and blood, cancer pulling blood to feed itself from these areas. I have varicose and spider veins there and I hope this process will slow them from growing. I like to imagine the herbs of the oil reaching my bones and marrow, helping any poisons to release over the next week in the basti or enema process.
Basti - enema can set

Basti – enema can set

After a hot rinse with soap, I have something to eat then come back for two days of tailem or medicated oil basti. Tomorrow I will have the kshaya or herbal water decoction enema after my last day of massage. There will be two more of those after two more days of tailem basti for a total of seven enemas. I have had chronic constipation and hope this process will retrain my body to evacuate without the use of internal and external assistance.

Kirzy - medicated pouches

Kirzy – medicated pouches

After the last of five massages will be five days of Kirzy which are herbed pouches including turmeric, coconut and ones specific to my health concerns. These canvas hand-wrapped pouches are heated in herbed oil and pounded into me. All of these processes are to force toxins into my GI tract which are released through the enemas, leaving me clean as a baby, inside and out!


6 Comments On Panchakarma Files #4 – Nasyam and Massage

Jenny Goldberg

Lexie, your diligence, perseverence and light touch with all of it inspire me to take the best care of myself I can. We met at the ashram in Taos after a mammo revealed a suspicious lesion. Due to all my allergies, I never had a biopsy and after three years of juicing, supplements, some massage, meditation, yoga, prayer… my lesion eventually started to move in the direction of benign.
You were my inspiration then, about 5-6 years ago, and my inspiration now. The passion for health continues. Love, Jenny Goldberg

Lexie Shabel, Executive Director

We are so grateful to you Jenny for your support and update on your Choices for your treatment. We will have sign up for the monthly newsletter and the website kinks worked out soon so please keep checking back. GIVE US CHOICES for breast cancer treatment and prevention!

Lexie Shabel, Executive Director

Kind of you Jenny, thank you so much for sharing your own path with healing. You are my inspiration for the day, week, month! We at Breast Wishes look forward to supporting you in any way you see we can…all our love, lex

Kelley Gleason

Hi Lexie!

Thanks for all the great updates! I love how frank you are. I would really like to know how to make DOSA.
I can’t eat wheat and sometimes miss the “bread” portion. So I would like to learn how.

Thank you, Kelley

Lexie Shabel, Executive Director

Hey Kelly! Mmmmm, dosa, so yummy. Just made a healthy one this week. Here’s the basic recipe:
3 cups rice-I used basmati
1 cup sprouted adzuki beans-just soak them, rinse them 2ce a day for a couple days with a little water and ready to use OR soak urad dal overnite
Put each individually in the blender with enough water to blend
Mix them together in a non metallic bowl, cover and let ferment overnite
Stir in a pinch of salt in the morning and stir with a spoon
Heat a cast iron, or no stick pan on high heat
Take about a 2/3rds cup of the mixture in the middle of the pan, spread out circularly to make a thin crepe
Dab a little ghee, butter or coconut oil around the edge of the dosa
Flip it when golden on one side, cook for another minute and Voila! DOSA!!! Great with coconut chutney, a simple masala potato mixture, guacamole and a salad, so many things!

I will relocate a great online Indian source asap. A great veg cookbook of South Indian foods like this is called “Dakshin”. I like to experiment with the ingredients to create more healthy fusion versions. Thanks for asking Kelly and let us know how it comes out!

Lexie Shabel, Executive Director

Found that great website for Indian food. I make my healthy substitutions but she’s got everything!

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