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After sending Twitter into a frenzy with a cryptic Instagram post Monday night, Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers appeared on the Pat McAfee Show on Tuesday to offer some clarity on his future plans—sort of. What began as an inquiry into the reigning MVP’s thinking turned into a discussion on the benefits of an alternative cleansing and healing method called Panchakarma.
But what exactly is Panchakarma? First, here’s Rodgers explaining what the 12-day process was like.
“There’s nothing cryptic about gratitude.. I was going thru some pictures from the last year & felt an intense amount of gratitude for the life that I have & the lessons I’ve learned” ~@AaronRodgers12#PMSLive pic.twitter.com/htggxJBirY
— 🅿️at McAfee (@PatMcAfeeShow) February 22, 2022
“I just came out of a 12-day cleanse where you’re eating a specific diet and you’re going through these treatments everyday,” Rodgers said. “You’re not really doing anything else. You’ve gotta kind of turn everything else off. You’re not working out, you’re not straining or anything. It’s kind of a re-centering, it not only heals you physically but I think it takes away mental stress. And then the spiritual part, I think it allows you to kind of enjoy the meditations a little bit more.”
Coming out of that process, Rodgers explained that he felt an immense sense of gratitude , which is what inspired his post in which he thanked people in his life—including some Packers teammates—for helping him along the way. Then then led to speculation that Rodgers was about to announce his retirement, which he did not. But beyond what Rodgers detailed in his conversation with McAfee, what exactly is Panchakarma?
Panchakarma is associated with Ayurveda, an alternative medicine system rooted in India that dates back thousands of years. Per the Ayurvedic Institute, Ayurveda is “more than a mere healing system; it is a science and an art of appropriate living that helps to achieve longevity,” targeting diet, living habits and exercise.
There’s a lot more to this than the constraints of this post can delve into, but on a surface level, Ayurvedic principles state that a benefit of Panchakarma is to rid the body of toxins, known as “ama,” which is “the basic internal cause of all disease.” Panchakarma is just one type of therapy belonging to a group of treatments, collectively known as shodana.
But what does going through a Panchakarma actually look like? Here’s where things get, well, a little graphic.
According to Chopra, a blend of Ayurvedic and modern wellness practices, the original five components of Panchakarma included herbalized oil enemas, nasal irrigation, therapeutic vomiting, purgation and, well, bloodletting. Modern steps now feature oil massages, steam baths, cleansing enemas, nasal administration, “gentle” laxatives and a specialized diet.
Here’s how Chopra summarizes a typical day undergoing Panchakarma:
Wake up with sunrise and practice gentle yoga and meditation.
Drink a cup of spiced tea with cumin, ginger, cardamom, fennel seeds, and other spices and herbs for your dosha (Note: Dosha is a some combination of the five basic elements: ether, air, fire, water and earth)
Enjoy a light breakfast.
Begin your first treatment of the day, such as an oil massage.
Spend time in the dry or wet steam room to release toxins.
Eat a detoxifying lunch of kitchari, lentils, and rice in healing spices.
Walk around in nature or sit and meditate. Try to detach from technology!
Take naps as needed.
Undergo another treatment, such as the herbalized basti.
Consume a light dinner of more kitchari or cooked vegetables and rice.
Read, meditate, or journal and then head to bed.
Chopra summarizes that, “For many, Panchakarma ends up being an unexpected and powerful journey into the healing process.” It appears to have had a substantial effect on Rodgers, who said he’s been practicing the treatment for some time now.
Whatever the future holds for his playing career, it’s a safe bet that Panchakarma will remain in a central role.