Ayurveda - The Elixir of Youth
by Prabhath P
An elixir of youth capable of at least reversing the ravages of aging, if not bestowing immortality, has always been one of the enduring dreams of humanity. Though immortality still remains beyond reach, there is an ancient practice, kayakalpa, that restores youth and increases lifespan. Kaya means body (physical and subtle) and kalpa means transformation. Kayakalpa aims to arrest the degeneration of the body by rejuvenating, immunising and regenerating the body cells and tissues through a holistic transformation of mind, body and soul. It is best to do kayakalpa before the age of sixty.
Kayakalpa Principles and Methods
The roots of kayakalpa can be traced back to tantra and the ancient healing systems of siddha and ayurveda. Physical degeneration and regeneration happens through decay (catabolic) and the cellular growth processes (anabolic). Kayakalpa brings these processes into equilibrium through purification and nourishment. Thus degenerative diseases are cured through comprehensive rejuvenation ensuring longevity. Legendary siddha seers are believed to have lived for thousands of years using kayakalpa.
Herbal medicinal elixirs in paste form called rasayana constitute the essential aspect of kayakalpa treatment. Rasayanas are given only after purifying and detoxifying the body. Before rasayana therapy, the unique tridosha type is determined to tailor the treatment accordingly. In the classical ayurvedic text, Charaka Samhita, there is an exclusive chapter on rasayana. Ashtangahridaya also describes rasayana. The five-fold purification treatment panchakarma, swedakarma (induced sweating), suitable and nutritious diet, yoga and meditation are integral to kayakalpa. There are only approximately hundred practitioners of kayakalpa in the world.
According to Dr. Sreeraj, Resident Doctor, Rajah Healthy Acres, a division of Rajah Ayurvedic Hospitals, Kerala, "The rasayana chikitsa is still very relevant as a preventive measure and also as a curative measure. The fast pace of modern society is a cause for various physical and mental illnesses. So rasayana therapy is the suitable remedy for most of these problems."
Rasayanas increase ojas (life's vitality) and sattva guna (mental/spiritual clarity), balance the humors tridosha (vata, pitta, kapha) and maintains rasa, the vital fluid produced by digestion, which sustains life, leading to enhanced immunity. Some important rasyanas are chyavanaprash, agastya rasayana, drakshadi lehya, ashwagandhadi rasayana and brahma rasayana. These rasayanas are made from herbs like amalaki (gooseberry, a powerful rejuvenative herb), haritiki, triphala, bhringaraja, ashwagandha, punarnava and chitraka.
Ancient kayakalpa originally involved two modes of therapy.
Kutipravesika: Kutipravesika means living in a kuti (cottage). The patient was required to undergo all the kayakalpa procedures, living in hibernation in a specially constructed cottage secluded from the world, for 90 days. This is a process that requires intense discipline and only very few yogis were able to meet the challenge. Legend has it that the first ever kutipravesika procedure was conducted by the celestial physicians Ashwini Kumars for the senile sage Chyavana who thus regained youth.
Vatatapika: This is an easier method mainly involving rasayana therapy only, which can be carried on while leading a regular life. Panchakarma and withdrawal from the world are not required. But benefits are only moderate compared to kutipravesika.
Rajah Healthy Acres became the first institution in India, in nearly hundred years, to conduct the rigorous kutiprave sika kayakalpa rasayana treatment. The patient was Columbian, Perseo Agualimpia, 51, from Miami, who came with the complaints of partial loss of hearing, indigestion, ulcer and knee-joint pain. Perseo's interest in Buddhism, Tibetan medicine, Mata Amritanandamayi, and his experience in yoga and meditation made him confident of volunteering for the challenging hibernative healing process.
A panel of six ayurvedic experts provided guidance for the project while the resident doctors of Rajah Healthy Acres conducted the daily procedures. Perseo was put through 45 days of preparatory procedures.
o Abhyanga (complete body massage)
o Snehapana (drinking the medicated ghee indukantham)
o Elakizhi (medicated oil massage with herbal poultices)
o Pizhichil (massaging body by squeezing linen dipped in herbal oil)
o Swedana (induced sweating)
Panchakarma Purification Therapies:
o Virechana (purgation)
o Different types of vasti (medicated enema)
o Vamana (induced vomiting)
o Nasya (nasal cleaning with herbal drops)
o Karnapooranam (cleaning the ears with herbal medication)
o Nethratharpanam (eye drops)
o Shirovasti (retaining herbal oil on head)
Afterwards, Perseo was confined to a specially built kuti hut. He was asked to do an offering (dana) as per ancient guidelines before he entered the kuti. The arrangements were the following:
o Blue window curtains were provided because the patient liked blue.
o All electric lights were removed except blue zero-watt bulbs in the bedroom and drawing room.
o The bed was replaced by grass mats (methapaya).
o Nets to repel mosquitoes, flies.
o Fan was not given at first but was provided later when the patient requested.
o Telephone, TV, refrigerator, mirrors, clocks and calendars were not allowed.
o CD player to hear chantings was allowed.
o A bystander always stayed in the adjacent room and the same doctor visited the patient regularly.
o The kuti was fumigated once in three days.
o Fresh clothing and bed sheets were provided daily.
o No visitors were allowed.
o Daytime naps were not allowed
o He was not allowed to meet women.
o Vehicles were removed from the cottage premises.
Perseo's daily routine in the kuti:
o 6 a.m. Waking up
o Yoga session
o Warm cow's milk was the only drink allowed
o 8.15 a.m.: Regular visit by the doctor
o 8.30 a.m.: Abhyanga (oil massage) and bath in warm water for body, and lukewarm water for head
o 9.30 a.m.: Brahma Rasayana is given on empty stomach starting with 150 gms which was gradually increased over many days to 450 gms. Later, the quantity was gradually reduced.
o Listen to mantras or meditate.
o Food allowed only once daily.
o Sleep by 9.30 p.m.
Perseo couldn't complete the 45 days in isolation. He had crawling sensations in the body. By the 28th day, he started having strange angelic visions. At this point it was decided to withdraw rasayana and bring him back to normal life. Diet was changed to normal vegetarian food. The visions ceased after stopping rasayana. Perseo was later shifted out of the kuti.
Modern medical and laboratory investigations were done before and after the kuti process to assess the patient's condition. The results were amazing.
o Perseo's grey hair turned black
o Complexion became fair and skin was smooth
o Hearing loss, mouth and skin ulcers, joint pain and indigestion were completely cured.
o Concentration, memory and attention improved
o Laboratory tests showed overall improvement in health
"I feel like I'm living in the 1980s," announced Perseo after the treatment. "I feel 80 per cent more energetic," he also remarked. He seemed to have attained a higher level of consciousness. When he came out of the kuti, his eyes were sparkling and his persona was completely glowing. Vaidya Shrikant Bagewadikar, the famous ayurvedic expert, flew out from Mumbai to check Perseo and verified the age-reversal.
Dr. Franklin's Panchakarma Institute and Research Centre, near Thiruvana-ntha-puram, Kerala, offers a modernised version of kayakalpa without isolation. The package includes rasayana, panchakarma, sweda, massage, karnapoorana, yoga and meditation.
Ayurveda Yoga Retreat, Coonoor, Tamil Nadu, has an anti-aging kayakalpa package. This proprietary program is a combination of ancient ayurveda, yoga and meditation therapies for age-reversal.
Breaking the Gender Barrier
The ancient texts on kayakalpa offer guidelines from a male viewpoint as the procedure was done by male rishis on their colleagues. Dr. Bryan Miller and his wife Dr. Light Miller, Directors of the Ayurvedic Day Spa and the Center for Well Being, Florida, (www.ayurvedichealers.com), conducted the kutipravesika kayakalpa therapy for the first time in the West in 2003. Dr. Light Miller who volunteered, became the first woman to undergo the ancient method. Bryan Miller and the ayurvedic expert George Soucy performed the treatments.
Light Miller remained isolated in the kuti for 30 days. In the first two weeks, she subsisted mainly on fresh green juices and special rejuvenative herb teas. In the last five days, she took one meal a day of steamed vegetables. Every other day, Light received a four-hour kayakalpa treatment. On off days, she had ayurvedic massage with special essential oils. The remainder of her time was spent in yoga, meditation, mantra chanting and deep rest. She remained secluded from sound, air movement and light with the occasional use of a ghee lamp.
Light reported many paranormal experiences including seeing the entire kuti hut illuminated with mysterious light, visions of Dhanvantari (the patron god of ayurveda) and Jesus Christ, personal dark night of the soul experiences and deep feelings of connectedness.
Dr. Raam Pandey, President of Kayakalpa International and Kayakalpa Alchemy Foundation, trained in pre-Vedic sciences and tantra received his medical degrees in siddha, ayurveda and homeopathy. In 1979, he synthesized ancient kayakalpa techniques in complete form, establishing retreats in California. The web site www.kayakalpa. com details Dr. Pandey's kayakalpa therapy, which is a unique synthesis of methods.
Medicines are made from a variety of herbs and minerals. Their composition ranges from a single ingredient to 96 ingredients. Unlike other common medicines found in the ayurvedic, siddha, and Chinese medical systems, these preparations undergo intensive purificatory processes that break them up into very tiny molecules and render them indestructible. They are assimilated quickly by body cells and the cells themselves become imperishable by the elements, preventing decay and prolonging the lifespan.
According to Dr. Pandey's system, the twin tools of kayakalpa therapy are nourishment and purification. Nourishment is of three types. Macro nutrition is nourishment as food. Molecular nutrition involves herbo-mineral compounds that induce homeostasis. Subtle nutrition includes sound, colour, aroma, gems, metal and breath, which nourish the mind and senses, invigorating the energy flow.
Purification is conducted on the organ of consciousness (brain-mind), the organs of knowledge (the senses) and the organs of action or karma (physical organs). Purification is done through panchakarma procedures that restore the organs to their optimal state. While panchakarma deals with just purification, kayakalpa therapy as a whole is designed for purification, nourishment and rejuvenation.
In the special technique, sirodhara, the constant stream of liquid (made of herbo-mineral extracts and oil) on the forehead creates a vibration, which moves the person from a physical to a subtle state, and by focusing on the breath, induces a state of deep meditation. Sirodhara is often combined with avagaha, a unique herbo-mineral hydrotherapy, which creates a weightless embryonic state and uses specific breathing techniques designed to stimulate the nervous and endocrine systems. This results in an intensification of consciousness that kindles the kundalini energy.
The long drawn-out processes of kayakalpa, like the solitary confinement for months, make most people shy away from seeking this beneficial treatment. Dr. Sreeraj of Rajah Health Acres feels it is worth the effort, though after Perseo Agualimpia, nobody has been willing to undergo kutipravesika therapy and they are now using rasayana to cure only specific diseases like diabetes. Dr. Sreeraj asserts, "The only question is, 'Should I spend so much time for a cure?' The answer depends upon the severity of the disease and need of the patient. It is better to spend three months to prevent a heart problem than to spend three months to recover from surgery!"
Rajah Ayurvedic Hospital.
E-mail ayurcenter @ ayurveda-in.com
Dr. Franklin's Panchakarma Institute and Research Centre
Ayurveda Yoga Retreat
Subject: Reversing ageing: colors-sounds-gem stones - 17 February 2012
Inherited or acquired emotional implants appear to present major blockages towards accessing the higher spheres of consciousness. The use of colours on specific points of the body while rubbing in natural oils appear to tear down that barrier.
by: Morris Ishay
Subject: PSOTER PRESNTN - 1 February 2011
Dr. Sreeraj, Respected sir, I am impressed by your Institute‘ s treatment strategies fr using ayurveda & yoga in managing ailments of modern world. I have been working in this regard. publications are on line & have an opportunity to present a paper I am mailing abstract .I request More...
by: DrSunita Amruthesh
Subject: Kudos - 5 September 2010
It is very much the need of the day to bring back all this.Unexplored treasure of Ayurveda.Very few such experiments have been conducted and I whole heartedly congratulate the team for starting this unique ,promising and challenging aspect of reversal of ageing.
Subject: now I now why my memory is not improving - 15 July 2010
Never knew that Brahmarasayana was used for ani aging treatments. I thought that it aided in vitalising memory (connecting it to Brahmi). I used to administer it myself. no wonder my memory is not improving..
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