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ScientificWorldJournal. 2009 Apr 27;9:272-80. doi: 10.1100/tsw.2009.35.

Ayurveda and Panchakarma: measuring the effects of a holistic health intervention.

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Osher Research Center, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA.


Ayurveda, the traditional medical system of India, is understudied in western contexts. Using data gathered from an Ayurvedic treatment program, this study examined the role of psychosocial factors in the process of behavior change and the salutogenic process. This observational study examined associations with participation in the 5-day Ayurvedic cleansing retreat program, Panchakarma. Quality of life, psychosocial, and behavior change measurements were measured longitudinally on 20 female participants. Measurements were taken before the start of the program, immediately after the program, and 3 months postprogram. The program did not significantly improve quality of life. Significant improvements were found in self-efficacy towards using Ayurveda to improve health and reported positive health behaviors. In addition, perceived social support and depression showed significant improvements 3 months postprogram after the subjects had returned to their home context. As a program of behavior change, our preliminary results suggest that the complex intervention Panchakarma may be effective in assisting one's expected and reported adherence to new and healthier behavior patterns.

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