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Germs are not the root cause of illness. Borellia burgdorferi infection is not the root cause of Lyme Disease. These statements undoubtedly sound totally unscientific and contrary to everything you thought you knew about infectious disease and Lyme Disease.

Germs simply initiate the reaction in an epigenetically-predisposed individual. An old analogy compares infectious disease to that of an explosion of dynamite. The spark is not the cause of the explosion, it merely initiates the explosive potential of the dynamite. Applying this analogy to Lyme Disease, the spark is the Borellia burgdorferi bacteria, which initiates the disease potential of the individual. If your body has no “explosive potential” then bacteria cannot “ignite” a disease state.

Ayurveda considers the chronic stages of Lyme disease to be a manifestation of asmirti, meaning “a loss of memory.” The intelligence of the physiology has lost the ability to remember the distinction between self and other. In modern parlance this is related to the phenomenon of molecular mimicry. Molecular mimicry occurs when T-lymphocytes (CD4⁺ T cells) bearing receptors for specific pathogens (i.e. B. burgdorferi) cross-react with and attack normal healthy tissues. Many factors and variables including the overall general health of the individual, the bioenergetic (doshic balance) status, the ancestral epigenome status, and the immune repertoire of the individual at the time of exposure will determine the nature of the resulting condition. Current evidence makes it highly unlikely that any one infectious agent alone will be found to be exclusively associated with any one autoimmune-type disease. 

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Program Description

For four days and three nights, or seven days and six nights, you will be in an Ayurvedically balanced environment, away from your busy life with its patterns, stresses, and responsibilities.

You will begin each morning with a leisurely period of yoga and meditation; individual instruction will be provided as needed.

You will be nutured every day with Panchakarma treatments tailored to your particular needs as determined by Dr. Gerson. These will include hot herbalized oil treatments, steam treatments, herbalized baths, shirodhara. Additional treatments such as anuvasana and niruha bastis (enemas), vamana (theraputic vomiting), netrabasti (unctuous eye bath treatments), and a variety of other procedures and medicines may be administered as appropriate for your specific health status and constitution. Dr. Gerson is a Ph.D. Scholar in Panchakarma from the University of Pune and is considered one of the world's experts in the clinical administration of these treatments.

Simple and nutritious vegetarian meals will be prepared as is indicated for Panchakarma detoxification; you will be surprised at how delicious healthy food can taste. There will be opportunities to learn to prepare these recipes as well.


Panchakarma is the ancient system of Ayurvedic detoxification and rejuvenation therapies designed to facilitate the removal of deep-rooted stresses and toxins in the physiology. Ayurveda recommends these cleansing therapies up to three times a year--at the change of seasons--in order to maintain well-being in healthy individuals or to restore balance in those experiencing illness. The purpose of panchakarma is to extend the lifespan. By undergoing panchakarma on a regular basis muscle tissue, bone, immune function, digestive function, nervous tissue as well as teeth and hair (upadhatus or "secondary tissues") can be maintained, essentially adding years to ones life. Today, even modern science estimates that longevity is determined 30% by one's genetics and 70% by lifestyle choices.

Many diseases of modern times are caused by these deep-seated toxins which lead to improper digestion, stress, lack of sleep, anxiety, loss of concentration, premature aging, heart disease, diabetes, hypertension, cancer, neurological disorders, chronic fatigue, osteoporosis, sexual disorders, allergies, and unhappiness. Panchakarma utilizes a set of therapeutic procedures which are given in a specific order to promote the elimination of toxic substances out of the body via the nearest possible route of elimination. The resulting purification results in the intrinsic up-regulation of the body’s capacity to cure itself from many conditions and diseases. But Panchakarma has value not only as a detoxification procedure (shodhana) in the treatment of disease, it is also effective as a preparatory measure to strengthen a patient (brihmana) prior to surgery, as a means to promote weight loss (langhana), to increase the effect of rejuvenatory medicines (rasayana), prior to libido-improving procedures (vajikarana), and before the administration of certain special medicines (kshetrikarana). In all of these uses, panchakarma accomplishes the removal of toxic accumulations and the return of the doshas (psychosomatic energies) to normalcy and balance.

Panchakarma is comprised of five (“panch”) actions (“karma”) or, less literally, five therapies. Panchakarma is a medical treatment which when properly administered has profound effects on the detoxification mechanisms and metabolism of the human physiology. Dr. Gerson’s Ph.D. research thesis and his ongoing work in Panchakarma have demonstrated many of these effects. 

Panchakarma for Lyme:
An Ayurvedic Approach to Chronic Disease

Panchakarma, the ancient Ayurvedic protocol, aims to bring the body into balance through a series of individualized treatments and next-level detoxification therapies, specially prepared oils, herbs, and meals. It’s guided by the Ayurvedic principle to address the root cause of symptoms (as opposed to the symptoms themselves), and consider the bigger (or, rather, whole) picture. There’s a strong mental and emotional component to panchakarma—which can mean releasing some serious feels during treatment, in addition to more physical toxins.


Panchakarma is said to benefit people who are relatively healthy as well as those with a range of chronic health issues, including for some struggling with Lyme disease. Ally Hilfiger (read her Q&A on recovering from, and preventing, Lyme here) writes about her panchakarma experience with Scott Gerson, M.D., Ph.D., in her book, Bite MeGerson, the medical director of The Gerson Institute of Ayurvedic Medicine (located just outside of West Palm Beach in Florida), studied in both the States and India (where he completed his Ph.D. in Ayurveda, focusing on panchakarma), and still keeps a practice in NYC. He’s seen more and more Lyme patients every year for decades; here, he explains his approach to treatment, broader possible uses of panchakarma, and how the different disciplines within medicine can fit together.

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The Gerson Institute Of Ayurvedic Medicine

Scott Gerson, M.D., Ph.D. (Ayurveda) Medical Director, Jupiter Medical Center Dept. of Integrative Medicine Division of Education and Research

Jupiter Medical Center at The Calcagnini Center for Mindfulness
1210 S. Old Dixie Highway, Jupiter, Florida 33458, Suite M-117.2

Lake Mary Clinic and Panchakarma Facility:  
635 Primera Blvd. Lake Mary, Florida 32746

(407) 549-2800