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Cleansing from the Ayurvedic perspective – Which cleanse is suitable?

Written by Jo Webber

Short periods of regular cleansing are considered an important part of an Ayurvedic lifestyle. This could mean once a week, once a month, or when the seasons change. The specific approach should take into consideration the constitution and current state of balance, strength and age, as well as environmental and seasonal influences. Like much of Ayurveda, there is no ‘one size fits all’ approach and the length and intensity vary. Prolonged cleansing is usually not advised as it can weaken digestion. Many research studies support the benefits of ‘intermittent fasting’ which mimics how our ancestors ate with regular periods of reduced food intake or avoiding food completely (Patterson et al, 2017). Several studies also support the Ayurvedic concept that reducing eating in the evening and prolonging the period between our last meal and breakfast leads to sustained improvements in human health. Such regimens promote weight loss and improve metabolic health via positive effects on our circadian rhythm, gut microbiome and sleep quality. These approaches to cleansing are clearly outlined in ‘The Paleovedic diet’, ranging from alternate day fasting, a complete 24 hour fast, to eating one large meal every day (Palanisamy, 2015). They are being seen as offering promising non pharmacological approaches to improving health. However, even the gentlest cleanse is not appropriate for everyone, including pregnant or breastfeeding women, or the debilitated. On the other hand, if you are considering becoming pregnant, Ayurveda highly recommends that both partners undertake a cleanse approximately three months prior to conception. 

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