Along with a graduated diet, the post-procedures of Panchakarma prescribe gradations in lifestyle. In other words, the patient is strongly urged to move back into activity gradually, so that the delicate state of the nervous system is not over-taxed. The resources of the body must keep pace with the ability of the metabolic processes to supply it with energy, otherwise it begins-to run at a deficit. In addition, the dhatus need time to rebuild themselves.
Unfortunately, the demands of our active modern lifestyle often run counter to our physiological and psychological requirements after Panchakarma. We want to jump off the treatment table, catch a plane and be back at work Monday morning, a new person. Life’s demands seem to snatch our time and attention with the lightning speed of a slight-of-hand artist and leave us with little or nothing in return. Our tendency to drive ourselves and disregard our needs are, in many ways, what have led us into the disease process in the first place. This tendency may also cause us to underestimate the profound impact that Panchakarma has had on our minds and bodies and cause us to ignore the need to reintegrate slowly into activity.
For Panchakarma to be completely successful, we must adopt a graduated re-entry program that supports and enhances the changes that have already occurred. The lifestyle program that we adopt as a part of post-procedures, and to support good health once we’re back in full swing, is called dinacharya, or daily routine.
Ayurveda strongly suggests that patients plan for some downtime after the main procedures are complete to insure that their progression into activity is not too fast. If the contrast between the deep rest of Panchakarma and the dynamic activity of working life is too sudden, the system may experience a shock. It’s like coming out of deep sleep or meditation too quickly: we feel headachy, disoriented and perhaps a bit irritable.
It will take some time to completely assimilate the benefits of Panchakarma therapy, so until the patients’ energy level is normal and stable for a while, they are advised to avoid undue mental and physical stress, including travel, strenuous exercise and sexual activity. Immediately following Panchakarma, it is also important to avoid excessive exposure to the elements; i.e., unusually hot, windy, cold or rainy weather conditions. Sunbathing and swimming in cold water are particularly not advised for at least a week following Panchakarma.
Applying these guidelines supports and enhances the effects of the preparatory and eliminative procedures and assists the body in concentrating its energy on complete rejuvenation.