Ayurveda Complementary Medicine
I first experienced Ayurveda during a trip to South India and it is either becoming more popular or I am just more aware of it as I keep reading about it which is making me want to try some more of the Ayurveda techniques.
What is Ayurveda
Ayurvedic medicine originated in India and is considered to have many health benefits. It was developed more than 3000 years ago so it is definitely not a new thing but it is becoming much more popular in the western world.
Ayurveda practitioners believe that the mind body and soul all need to be looked at in order to treat ailments and illnesses.
The treatments are considered a good complementary and alternative medicine and because my body has had so many chemicals pumped into it during my cancer treatment it is definitely something that I want to try more of.
Those who practice Ayurveda believe every person is made of five basic elements found in the universe: space, air, fire, water, and earth. (Source : WebMD)
When you go for any Ayurveda treatment there will be three parts to the initial assessment :
- Observation (Darshan): The practitioner first evaluates general physical health by looking at the patient and observing his/her movements, body contour, color of the skin and eyes, facial lines and ridges, shape of the nose, and qualities of the lips, hair, and nails.
- Touch (Sparsha): The practitioner then employs touch, including palpation (pressing down on parts of the body, called sparshanam in Ayurveda), auscultation, which is listening for sounds made by the internal organs (shrvanaa), and percussion or tapping (akotana). There is special focus on the patient’s pulse, tongue, nails, and speech. Laboratory testing is also included under this category.
- Questions (Prashna): The practitioner asks the patient about complaints and symptoms, as well as the duration of discomfort and disease progression. The practitioner also inquires about mental and psychological conditions. (Source : TakingCharge )
Where can you try Ayurveda
While looking at some retreats I am quite overwhelmed with how many there are currently out there and they are now all over the world. Art of Living Retreat Centre has been rates #1 in Auyurveda in America.
I would love to return to India and have some more of these type of treatments as it just felt so special having Auyurveda massages whilst I was out there.
I have tried Ayurveda in the UK and Sri Lanka so I should imagine you can probably try it in most countries. When I was travelling in India I met a number of people who were coming for Ayurveda retreats where they spend a few weeks having various treatments including medicines and massages and detoxifying foods.
What type of Ayurveda Practices are available
Ayurveda is not only about massage treatments but involves depleting and nourishing the body. I need to do so much more research into it as I have only just touched the surface but I am fascinated by the practices of Ayurveda and I can not wait to try some more of the treatments as what I what I have had so far has been amazing.
Ayurveda Massages will not only leave you relaxed but are also said to be healing as they cleanse the body of various toxins. leave you relaxed I personally like massages that involve Dhara. “Dhara, in it’s literal translation, implies “flow”.
In Ayurvedic treatments, Dhara is a form of treatment in which a continuous stream of warm oil, buttermilk, milk or a extracts of herbs are to flow in a rhythmic manner, to treat specific body parts or ailments.
With this method, the oil or the medical concoction runs through the pores into the body, thus triggering the healing mechanism of the body and mind to restore good health.” (Source : Ayurveda Kendra)
Shirodhara Massage involves pouring oil at different speeds on the body normally the forehead. When I first saw the Shirodhara oil pourer I thought it was some type of torture equipment as it looked really strange hanging over the massage bed.
Shirodhara is used to treat “a variety of conditions including eye diseases, sinusitis, allergic rhinitis, greying of hair, neurological disorders, memory loss, insomnia, hearing impairment, tinnitus, vertigo, Ménière’s disease and certain types of skin diseases like psoriasis” (Source : Wikipedia)
I had this type of massage as I was suffering from sleeping problems and I think it actually helped well to be honest any sort of lovely massage normally helps you to sleep for a few days afterwards.
The oil being poured onto my forehead was a strange experience at first but then it became bliss and made me so relaxed. The oil smelt amazing and even though I was a little slimy afterwards even after showering the condition of my hair was super soft for weeks afterwards even travelling in harsh climates of India.
I didnt try Nasya but I wanted to as it intrigued me, if I am to return to India this is definitely one of the types of Ayurveda that I will try. It is a nasal way of administering medications.
The thought of putting things up my nose did put me off which is probably why I never got around to having it. It is supposed to help with so many ailments including
Stiffness or pain of head, neck, or jaw
Headache and Migraine
Sinus pain and congestion
Toothache, loose teeth, receding gums
Hoarseness of voice
Twitching or drooping eyelids
Tingling sensations on face
Obstruction in throat
Uvulitis, Tonsillitis, Laryngitis, Pharyngitis
Speech disorders and loss of speech
Bell’s Palsy (facial paralysis)
Pituitary or space-occupying tumor
Depleted sexual energy
Any disorders above clavicle area (Source : Auyurveda.Com)
Udvartana is a deep lymphatic massage. This is the only type of massage that I would have to avoid since I have had some lymph nodes removed but my friend had this and she said it was wonderful. Udvartana is a massage that is done with a herbal paste this smelt amazing, you can actually buy this paste online so you could try and do it at home.
What was my experience of Ayurveda like
My first Ayurveda massage was at the Indian Summer House in Kerala which is the best place I have stayed so far during my travelling life. The Indian Summer House have their own Ayurveda specialist who didn’t speak a word of English so it was quite interested to try and explain my ailments.
I think she understood me when I pointed to the bits of my body I wanted her to work on as she did manage to give me one of the best massages.
The massage was very oiley based and luckily my travelling companions had been for their treatments before me and pre warned me that they massage the whole body so I pointed to my chest area and said no as I didnt want my boobs massaged she did understand this thank god.
I had another Ayurveda massage in a different part of India and I forgot to warn my travel companion that they massage all areas and she was a little shocked when she came out of her treatment and said she has never had her breast massaged by anyone apart from her partner which I found hilarious.
I have to be honest if I see a Ayurveda option at the spa I visit I will now ask for this.
I recently had one at the Scarlet Hotel and Spa in Cornwall and my therapist spent a good 1/2 hour finding out things about me so she could provide the perfect combination of massages and oils.
Read More about my experiences of Spa treatments here
Have you tried Ayurveda what did you think? Share your experiences with me.