In this interview, David Verhoogt talks about how Ayurvedic Panchakarma treatment, at the Maharishi Ayurveda Health Centre in Skelmersdale, UK, has transformed his health. He is no longer overweight, he has more energy, his senses have improved, and he has been able to reduce his insulin intake.
Peter Brown: David, how did you first learn about Ayurveda?
David Verhoogt: I learned about Ayurveda following learning Transcendental Meditation (TM). I learned Transcendental Meditation and had some wonderful effects and as a diabetic I had this need to explore alternative therapies. My TM teacher said to me Ayurveda was available, so I embraced it.
Peter: What was your first experience of Panchakarma treatment like.
David: It was amazing. It was treatment that, I think I said at the time, was, “Fit for a King”. It was just the most luxurious experience I think I’ve ever had.
Peter: What were the results, how did you feel after you had treatment?
David: After I had the treatment, I must admit that for a few days I felt a little bit spacey. I was told that this was purely toxins coming out of the body and soon this process would disappear. After four or five days of rest, after the treatment, I felt absolutely amazing.
My senses enlivened. My vision was clearer. My sense of smell was greater. My skin felt softer. All around I just felt that I’d been born again.
Peter: Were you given anything to do at home after your treatment, like lifestyle changes, dietary changes, that sort of thing?
David: Yes, I was advised to eat lighter foods for two reasons. One was the fact that I understand that I have a Vata constitution, so eating a lighter diet was said to be good for me anyway*. Also, I understand that after Panchakarma it’s a good idea to have a lighter diet. From that suggestion I adopted it and I’ve continued it ever since.
The benefits have been profound. I now weigh 13 stone rather than 17.5. My insulin requirement has come down at lot. So yes, it’s been a wonderful experience.
Peter: And you’ve come back for another Panchakarma treatment since then?
David: Yes, I have. I’ve had a few challenges of late, with my personal life, and I just felt I needed to come somewhere and chill-out. Remembering the Panchakarma I had previously, I decided that is what I needed. So here I am and I’m glad I did.
Peter: And you’ve found that this treatment has been beneficial?
David: Absolutely. I suppose the way the two treatments differ is that this time it didn’t feel as intense when it comes to the detoxification. I feel a lot more balanced now, than I did previously. But still, the actual process of the treatments was just amazing.
When you lie down and have the oil smothered over you – you just transcend. You just feel so relaxed – amazing.
Peter: So the contrast was more on the first treatment. Then, since the first treatment, you’ve stuck to a good diet, and more balanced routine, and so the present treatment is not quite as contrasting.
David: Yes, I’d say this is the case. In the initial treatment I realised that you could have a better state of health, better senses, you could have all of these things.
After the treatment I bought and read books, went to Dr Brennan, and various people who have the knowledge of Ayurveda, and really embraced that lifestyle. The fact that I’ve maintained the lifestyle, results in the way I’m feeling now, which is wonderful.
Peter: Have you had to radically change your diet or has there just been small adjustments?
David: I didn’t have to radically change my diet, but I decided to. Purely because the diet I was suggested just felt good.
With diabetes, it’s very easy to monitor what you’re body is doing, because I have to check my blood sugar levels. Just looking at what’s happening there and at the same time, there was the weight I was losing. Just the way I felt – more energetic, more clear-minded – it was just a no-brainer.
*Most people who have a Vata constitution are not recommended to adopt a lighter diet. Because David had a Kapha imbalance at the time (and was overweight), he was advised to eat lighter food.