Kourtney Kardashian and Travis Barker gave up sex, exercise, and caffeine for the Panchakarma cleanse. Panchakarma is an ancient Ayurvedic approach to detoxifying the body. Before you try it, experts warn that while there are psychological benefits, there are also risks.

No caffeine. No alcohol. No sex. No exercise. No sugar. Those are the rules of Kourtney Kardashian and Travis Barker’s custom detox routine.

On Thursday’s episode of “The Kardashians,” the reality star, 43, remained candid about her IVF journey, noting that she is trying a new approach to expanding the family: the Panchakarma purge.

“Our last egg extraction was unsuccessful, so the new thing that we will try is a Panchakarma cleanse, which is Ayurvedic. It’s about 3,000 years old, removing all the toxins that are deep in our tissues from our bodies,” she says in a confessional.

Panchakarma is an ancient method rooted in Indian practice to detoxify and cleanse the body of unwanted wastes. The treatment is unique in that it includes preventive, curative, and promoting actions for various diseases.

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In the episode, Kardashian and Barker were joined by Martha Soffer, who guided them through dietary changes and treatments, including vaginal steam and ginger foot baths, as part of their preconception care.

Experts say the Panchakarma cleanse addresses various issues, including stress, fatigue, digestive problems, or body inflammation. But while the cleanse can provide psychological, spiritual, and even physical benefits, they caution that Panchakarma, like most cleanses, is not a quick fix.

“It’s not an easy cure,” says Navi Gill, an Ayurvedic practitioner, and therapist. “It’s a process, and a lifestyle … it’s an old medicinal practice, and a lot of people take it lightly when these things get super popular. But it’s a really deep and intensive process.”

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‘Panchakarma cleanse’: what is it, and how does it work?

Panchakarma, which translates to “five actions,” usually involves a pre-cleanse, an actual cleanse, and a post-cleanse process.

“You would prep your body with a certain diet or eliminate certain foods, then go through body therapies, certain massages, and sweats. And once you’ve gone through that for a certain number of days, Panchakarma is used for flushing it out of your body. Body through purification, whether from the gut, stomach, sinuses or into the blood,” explains Gill.

For Kardashian and Barker, the process began with a five-day pre-cleanse of avoiding sex, caffeine, sugar, and alcohol, which “usually weigh heavily on the digestive system,” Gill said. Then they went to the spa for seven days for four-hour treatments, such as the Abhyanga, “the four-hand massage,” or Shirobasti, an oil treatment for the head.

However, Gill emphasizes that “everything in Ayurveda is very personalized”. So some participants may also undergo a purification process through, for example, enemas, while others may be recommended a bloodletting.

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“When you go through Panchakarma, you would usually be working with an Ayurvedic doctor or practitioner, and a protocol would be designed specifically for what you want to achieve to meet your needs best,” she says.

Gill says the cleanse can provide various psychological benefits, including reduced stress, increased immunity, and improved sleeping and eating habits. And while many proponents recommend beej shuddhi — a preconception Panchakarma cleanses — to boost fertility, there’s limited medical research to support its efficacy.

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Is the Panchakarma Cleanse Safe?

In recent years, high-profile figures, including Aaron Rodgers and Katy Perry, have praised the Panchakarma purge. But some critics say a “detox” is a pseudo-medical concept. Bonnie Taub-Dix, a registered dietitian and author of “Read It Before You Eat It,” warns that most cleanse aren’t necessary for those who already have a balanced diet.

“If you want to ‘detox’ your body, you already have your liver, your kidneys which are there for detoxification,” she says.

The Panchakarma cleanse, which often accompanies cleansing methods, can also be dangerous, resulting in the loss of essential fluids and severe dehydration, Taub-Dix says.

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“You could also create an electrolyte imbalance that is dangerous for your muscles, heart, and bowel function. Because when you do this, you start eating again, and your bowels may not move; I think there are a lot of risks to consider.”

For this reason, Gill says Panchakarma is not recommended for everyone, including the elderly or those with pre-existing medical conditions.

“We generally avoid any cleansing process when the body is already ‘in a state of distress or weakness.’ So we exercise extra precaution with those who are already sick (or with weakened immune systems), Gill added, ‘ It is very important to seek the guidance of a trained Ayurvedic therapist when considering the Panchakarma cleansing.’

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