Escaping Holiday Season Stress: A 21-day Panchakarma in Jungle Paradise of Bali

by: Marianne Leber

It is December and at home in Switzerland, the year-end stress is at its peak. But this year, I chose to escape to Bali. Away from all those things one feels one has to do, parties to attend – just pull the plug and come into stillness, a timeout for myself. This is pure luxury for me.

The Oneworld Ayurveda Centre is located close to Ubud, Bali, and welcomes me with its beautiful tropical gardens. The very nice Supervisor showed me my room. It is on the upper floor – light, big and very comfortable with a wonderful terrace and views to the green with many tropical plants and huge, colorful butterflies. I am blown away.

Oneworld Panchakarma center

My Panchakarma begins with a consultation with the Ayurvedic Doctor Ninnu. My Kapha is too high and Vata is also out of balance. This is no big surprise as the past few years in Zurich have been quite stressful.

Dr. Ninnu puts together my individual treatment plan which progress is then checked in the daily consultations and adjusted when needed. He comes from India where he studied and practiced Ayurveda. He is also a pharmacist and produced his own line of medicines that are used by many Ayurvedic clinics.

On the roof of the big treatment center there are three big permaculture herbal gardens with over 80 different plants that are used for the treatments and also in the kitchen. One can wander around in these gardens, look, touch, smell the plants, relax on the big wooden couches and chairs, and just let go. The over 160 medicines in the in-house pharmacy all come directly from Kerala in South India, the cradle of Ayurveda. I had a peek into the lab, it is impressive!

The day begins with the sound of a gong, waking me softly at 6 am. Soon after, the first medicine is brought to my room.

A little later, it is time for a yoga session; after 12 years of not doing it, I feel I am an inflexible piece of wood. The yoga shala is a dream, a beautiful, big pavilion with views over the rice fields. The teacher is kind and patient with me and I enjoy really stretching my body again. After the mantra chanting – the teacher has such a lovely voice – a healthy breakfast is served by the poolside and then it is off to my first treatment.

Santi is picking me up from my room and takes me through the gardens to the Treatment Centre where I am greeted with a namaste and beautiful smiles from the therapists.


Today and the next six days are about getting ready for the big detox day. I am oiled and massaged by two therapists and four strong hands and it feels just too good!

After the treatment I sip my ginger tea on the center’s relaxing terrace and once again, enjoy the amazing views of the rice fields. Already, I feel totally relaxed, but I am not allowed to use the pool – not easy for somebody who loves to swim. Dr. Ninnu explained to me that the body gets oiled from the inside and outside to enable a successful detox and that swimming would not be good for me. Ok, I can understand that.

The lunch, Indian vegan delicacies, is light and easy to digest and we even get a dessert for the sweet tooth (without sugar, of course).

Another round of medicines, a little break, and the second treatment of the day is about to start. There is still some time to relax before dinner, to read or to go for a walk, or to chat with the other guests. We are a mixed group of guests from Canada, France, China, USA, the Philippines, and Finland.

After dinner and the last round of medicines, all head back to their rooms, it gets dark very early, and I feel tired.

The next six days fly by quickly. On the third day, I get a headache, and feel a bit lost and melancholy, like the whole weight of the world lies on my shoulders. This is normal during a PK, I am comforted, a healing crisis, and after the detox things will get better. So I am longing for my big day to come. It is rainy season and it pours down heavily for a few hours every day – the best conditions for a wake siesta… one should not sleep during the day.

Detox day: Early at 6 am it is time to meet Dr Ninnu who awaits me with a mischievous smile. Santi is ready in the treatment room with jugs of liquids that I suspect I will have to drink… And I am correct, about two liters have to go in and then come out again. I made it, Dr Ninnu is satisfied and I feel like a truck drove all over me. Santi takes me back to my room and I fall into bed where I stay the rest of the day. Dr Ninnu comes and checks up on me, takes my pulse, and smiles pleased. ‘Very good, Kappa is down.’

The next morning I really woke up feeling like reborn. All is clear, the mist seems to have cleared, I feel great and wide awake at 6 am, something totally new to a sleepyhead, and I am looking forward to yoga and breakfast.


From now on, I experience many different treatments aimed at healing my diverse issues – the knee hurts, and problems with the respiratory tract, just to mention a few. Massage after massage, herbal baths, steam baths, Shirodhara, cleansing of the nose and eyes and many more help me a lot. In addition to these, super healthy food, rice field walks, beautiful rituals, and pondering about myself, God, and the whole world, in a beautiful atmosphere far away from everyday life, stress, and all those musts that we often put on ourselves.

After 21 days it is back to the real world and I feel great. The time here was a luxury for my health and for my soul, I feel rejuvenated and in balance. As a side effect, I have also lost quite a few kilos, what a nice extra bonus!

uring my stay at Oneworld Ayurveda, I felt lovingly cared for, everybody was focused on my well-being and nothing seemed too much to ask. The best Christmas present I could have given to myself – something I am looking forward to repeating.

– Marianne Leber

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