This Ayurvedic basti treatment helped me lose 2 kilos in less than three days
It was intense, it was embarrassing, but in the end, it was worth it
It was an emergency evacuation. An Amazon Black Friday sale— Everything. Must. Go.
Except, instead of adding anything to cart, I was teetering on a toilet seat, regretting my life choices as 600 ml of concentrated Ayurvedic intelligence shot out of me with the tectonic force that created the Himalayas.
A few minutes ago, I had been making small talk with a perfect stranger while laying butt-naked in a dark room. Sexy, save for the catheter, the rubber gloves and the unctuous smell of boiled herbs. Now as years of poor eating habits hurtled out of my system — like the time I found my mother’s bebinca providing housing for mould and sliced off the colonized real estate so that I could eat the rest — I promised to correct my errant ways.
Twenty-five minutes later, I deduced it safe to detach myself from the throne and make my way home. The purge was over. Or so I thought, until I sat in the taxi. Murphy must have tried an Ayurvedic basti treatment right before making up his law, because everything that could go wrong was doing so with a vengeance.
I was sweating. I couldn’t breathe. I begged the taxi to drive like Yamraj was chasing him. We screeched to a halt right in front of my gate, and I flew up the stairs three at a time, toilet bowl at the finishing line. If this were the Olympics, Usain Bolt would be eating my dust.
I didn’t even have time to close the front door.
What brings you to Basti?
According to Ayurveda, basti is the first line of treatment for most diseases, from constipation and allergies to skin inflammation and chronic fatigue. These occur when there is an imbalance in the doshas — vata (nervous system), pitta (digestion and metabolic energy) and kapha (physiological structure).
Reading my pulse, the Ayurvedic doctor honed in on a vata imbalance in my predominantly pitta constitution. This was causing those mysterious muscle aches and joint pains, and triggering rosacea and psoriasis.
A typical Ayurvedic basti ritual would combine matra or anuvasana basti (oil-based herbal concoction introduced anally to lubricate the big intestine, small intestine and colon) and niruha or kada basti, where a large dose of heavily concentrated herbs ensures you’ll be hot-stepping to the nearest loo.
“In Ayurvedic enemas, we don’t use a machine or any artificial pressure and allow the colon to decide how much it wants to take,” explains Dimple Goutham, Ayurvedic researcher and founder of Prana Healthcare Centre.
In anuvasana basti, the oil is meant to be retained so that it can lubricate the excretory organs and dislodge the remnants of your Kurkure addiction. “It is meant to be kept in for up to 12 hours, but people who are gassy can only retain it for about 15 minutes because the gas pushes the oil out,” Goutham says, adding, “On the other hand, in patients who are extremely dry on the inside or who smoke a lot, we’ve seen the oil is completely absorbed. Their organs are thankful for the lubrication.”
When followed up by the more aggressive niruha basti, the reported results are instant weight loss, reduction in inflammation, joint pain and fatty liver, even the expulsion of kidney stones and parasites. I lost 2 kilos over 72 hours in that great migration, my rosacea beat a retreat and the joint pains all but vanished.
Goutham adds, “Some people lose 1 kilo a day and continue losing weight because we’ve cleaned about 25 feet of their body’s drainage system. We’ve had patients who’ve lost almost 9 kilos in one month.” Independent modern studies also validate the positive effects of basti on joint pain, bloating, cholesterol levels and mental health.
Who can try Ayurvedic basti?
First: consult a certified Ayurvedic doctor. Almost anyone is eligible, though it’s not advised for pregnant women, heart patients and senior citizens over the age of 80. You should also avoid it if you are suffering from epilepsy, anal fissures or diarrhea.
How many times can I do it?
Once a year if you have no major illnesses, though obese patients could be prescribed 40 days of holistic detox. Goutham warns against treating it as a quick fix weight loss strategy, saying, “You cannot self-prescribe Ayurvedic basti, nor can you overdo it. It’s like working out, you can exercise intensely once in 24 hours, but you need rest for the body to recover or you risk aggravating your problems.”
How should I prepare for Ayurvedic basti?
If you have an infection, cold or cough, or you’ve been in an unhygienic place, wait a few days. Don’t attempt it during your period either because the body is going through its natural cleansing process. Avoid windy areas and extreme sun, excessive socializing and working out. Eat a light dinner like moong dal khichdi before 7 pm and go to sleep.
Goutham adds, “You can work, but you need to switch off. Consider this a mental, emotional and physical retreat for your overworked, stressed-out body.”
Popular centres that offer Ayurvedic basti treatments
- Prana Healthcare Centre, Mumbai
- Perumbayil Ayurveda Mana, Kerala
- Ayurnava, Delhi
- Ayusya Ayurveda, Kolkata