A strip of wet cloth, four angulas wide (3″) and fifteen hands (1¼ metres) in length, is stoutly swallowed and, then taken out, as instructed by the guru. This is known as dhauti.
Vastra is Sanskrit for “cloth” and dhauti means “washing”. It is a yogic technique designed to cleanse the inner body, specifically the GI tract. It is one of several types of purifying dhauti methods in which a long strip of cotton cloth is ingested and then pulled out to cleans and detoxify the intestines. Given the fact that our environments contain countless (chemical) toxins which are responsible for various “pathologies of civilisation” it is important to explore and practice methods to detoxify the organism effectively. It would be very interesting to quantitatively investigate the effects of dhauti on the intestinal microbiome (e.g., dysbiosis).
Studies (see below) which focus specifically on the relationship between the gut flora and neuropsychiatric abnormalities indicate that germ-free rodents display an exaggerated HPA response to stress compared to experimental controls. The studie of the relationship between the gut flora and the brain (via the gut-brain axis) could be termed “psychobiotics”. Currently studies with humans which quantify differences between people with various psychiatric/neurological differences and changes in the gut flora microbiome in response to stress are being conducted in several laboratories. The exact nature of various possible feedback loops in the gut-brain axis remains to be elucidated and is an important topic of interdisciplinary research.
Wang, Yan; Kasper, Lloyd H (2014). “The role of microbiome in central nervous system disorders”. Brain, Behavior, and Immunity. 38: 1–12. doi:10.1016/j.bbi.2013.12.015
Schneiderhan, J; Master-Hunter, T; Locke, A (2016). “Targeting gut flora to treat and prevent disease”. The Journal of Family Practice. 65 (1): 34–8. PMID 26845162