Often when my clients begin searching for a Panchakarma in India vacation that also involves rest and healing, they look for a Ayurveda and Yoga healing trip.
Typically the search begins on the internet with phrases like “best Panchakarma in the world” or “top 10 Panchakarma retreats in India”.
And so they follow the trail Google throws up, a few thousand pages of paid and organic content on how to do Panchakarma in India.
Many pages are posted by retreat centers that have the budgets to produce articles that highlight and praise what they do, much written by happy clients who have experienced deeply transformative healing at centers.
In this vast archive of retreat centers from India, Bali, Sri Lanka, Thailand, United States and the European Union, how does one sift through the options and come to a decision?
Here are some pointers I have gained by assisting my travel clients for the last 5 years:
Your Ayurveda Physician:
If you are looking for Ayurveda to heal a health challenge that you have not been able to heal with allopathic medicine then find a place run by a qualified Ayurveda physician, not by hotel managers.
The best Ayurveda physicians come with nearly a decade of medical training and additionally are from lineages that can be traced to ancestors, not mythical beings. (I say this from experience, some wonderful western clients fall for physicians who claim divine ancestors as a qualification.)
These lineages hold vast knowledge in treating particular ailments. They will usually mention this on their websites and social media.
Not every Western doctor is a specialist, it takes decades of study and experience to become a specialist.
The same applies for Ayurveda physicians. Over generations, they develop the treatment plans and drugs to become proficient in treating certain ailments. Look for those who can cure your particular health concern.
Authentic Ayurveda is practiced by many physicians worldwide but the geographic region of the Indian subcontinent, Nepal and Sri Lanka is where what is termed as “Ayurveda” spread and proliferated.
Ayurveda travelled with Buddhist and Hindu monks to other nations and evolved into effective local healing traditions there but it is not called Ayurveda.
To source authentic Champagne we go to the Champagne region of France. Anything from anywhere else in the world is sparkling white wine.
Training of Therapists:
It does not matter how good a physician is in any other geographic area other than the above mentioned, if her team of therapists do not have the training and intuition of those who live and breathe this healing art over generations.
A physician is only half as effective as she would have been in her native land, among trained therapists who match her in knowledge.
An Ayurveda patient spends maybe half an hour everyday with a physician, but she spends several hours with a therapist.
A therapist who is as good as a physician because of the knowledge she has gained from her lineage and her upbringing, helps accelerate your healing.
Think of the role of a capable nurse and the quality of feedback she gives a physician to create a successful outcome for the patient.
A therapist is not just a pair of loving hands, she must have a quick mind and strong confidence to share what she is observing.
Many of my clients are surprised at how quickly their therapist is able to point out the exact location of a long term pain by the first sweep of her hands.
World’s best Panchakarma centers offer best outcomes consistently as a team effort, it is not the work of a star physician and some no-name helpers.
Availability of Herbs:
Ayurvedic herbs of each region in India naturally grow abundantly in that region, with the right composition of essential medicinal properties.
Places like Kerala and Karnataka in South India are naturally rich in herbs that are not found anywhere else in the world.
Kerala has its own unique flavor of Ayurvedic therapies that are effective in curing long term and chronic lifestyle caused illnesses.
In other countries and regions, the physician has to source the medicines and usually has to maintain stock depending on their local government’s ever changing policies on import of drugs.
It is not unusual to substitute when they run out of medicines impacting the final result of treatment.
In regions where these herbs grow in abundance, the physician can prepare a personalized medicine overnight especially at Ayurveda centers that have Good manufacturing practice (GMP) certified manufacturing units attached.
5. The best for someone else may not be the best for me:
I am a unique body type, with a unique age, duration of illness, from a different country, with a unique psychology, unique set of habits and lifestyle from the person whose reviews I might be falling for and thinking that I have found the best place to have my treatment.
When looking for the best Ayurvedic center for ourselves we must take into account what it is that we are trying to achieve.
Not all Ayurveda centers match our preferences, not all physicians match our personality, not all centers fit our budget and time of travel.
Once we reach out to a center, they will do everything to make us believe they are going to fulfill our needs and they very well may try in all sincerity.
However this is a decision that involves several thousand dollars and hard earned time and requires a good knowledge of what is possible at each center.
Here are 3 of my clients who were sent to 3 different Ayurveda centers and came back feeling like they 100% found what they were looking for:
~Hispanic young lady in her early 30s, chronic gastric issues and bleeding, unable to keep her weight stable enough for conceiving now pregnant after a year of treatment.
~Asian mid level executive in her early 50s facing burnout and low energy looking for a reset and recharge.
~ American Yoga teacher in his 60s with chronic Rheumatoid Arthritis and digestion issues, found relief from pain and regained normal gastric health.
Its good to research and give this decision time and thought.
Happy healing! 🙂