One of the oldest forms of holistic healing in the world, Ayurveda promotes natural beauty, positive health and a long life. Sri Lanka heaves with Ayurveda practitioners and treatments vary from wandering into a centre for a relaxing massage to an intensive stay at an Ayurvedic resort where you’ll be revived physically, emotionally and spiritually.
Before booking your plane tickets and going all zen-like here’s the lowdown on life at an Ayurvedic resort.
1. Up close & personal
It’s going to be confronting. There will be much poking and prodding and expect questions about your diet, exercise regime, lifestyle and medical history. The physical examination gets to the root of any ailments and leaves no sin unturned.
When your dosha (life force) is in harmony your body is in good health. Employing the five elements of earth, water, fire, air and space, there are three doshas:
- Vata: air and space relating to body, movement, mind and senses
- Pitta: fire and water relating to heat, metabolism, energy and digestion
- Kapha: earth and water relating to physical stability, body structure and fluids
Practitioners assess the dosha of each quest to determine their diet, medicinal herbs and treatments throughout their stay. The prognosis isn’t open to negotiation; doctor’s orders.
Every guest is provided with bespoke herbal medicines using herbs and plants native to Sri Lanka like leaves, bark, berries, roots and flowers. Taken several times a day, it’s an acquired taste.
The daily treatments use a lot of oil and include head, face, and body massages (sometimes synchronised), herbal inhalation, herbal water baths and herbal steam baths. Unique treatments include:
Shirodhara: Oil is gently poured from a special vessel for 30 minutes onto the third eye on the forehead.
Eye therapy: eyeballs are washed with oil to relieve tired eyes
Panchakarma: an intensive cleanse incorporating several treatment
An Ayurvedic menu is mainly vegetarian with a small amount of fish. Food is classified into six taste categories of sweet, sour, salty, bitter, pungent and astringent. The philosophy recommends all categories are to be included in every meal to achieve proper nutritional balance. Guests are advised to only eat the dishes recommended to their dosha.
Caffeine junkies and smokers may suffer as stimulants aren’t welcomed. There won’t be any gin and tonics at sunset either. It’s also advised to avoid the sun as skin will be sensitive after treatments. It’s best to bring your old bathers and sarongs as the oils don’t come out of fabric. Intensive treatments may induce side-affects as both body and soul are cleansed.
Allow your inner beauty to shine and forgo the hair styling and makeup because the oily treatments will undo any work spent in front of the mirror.
As buried emotions are released the behaviour of guests can be erratic with some appearing estatic, angry, sad or withdrawn. Give your fellow guests space afterall, you are also there to heal and relax.
There are very few times in life where total self-immersion is possible. Rest whenever you feel tired and indulge in the pampering.
Alleviating many ailments from headaches, to chronic back pain and more serious diseases, some even swear its anti-aging. If nothing else swanning around in little more than a sarong adorning your radiant skin is a liberating experience.