Tip for the season: Drink coconut water.
Coconut water in itself is a natural medicine. It is a strong antiviral, antibacterial, antimicrobial and antifungal. It helps the body during this season to fight diseases, strengthening the immune system thanks to its high rate of antioxidants and it also raises the energy levels. It cleanses the whole digestive system and helps with blood circulation – it is a perfect health companion! One glass a day helps keep the doctor away!
As for wellness, yoga offers many different ways to feel better naturally, so here is one of them: Ayurveda, which is not really part of the yogic discipline but complementary. We could say that they work together and shouldn’t have one without the other.
While attending a three day yoga show in London I was invited to experienced two of London’s most luxurious spas where I enjoyed two different treatments that I knew from my training in India: the Abhyanga massage and the Shirodhara treatment. But let’s first see what Ayurveda is.
What is Ayurveda?
The word Ayurveda comes from the Sanskrit roots “ayur” which means life and “Veda” which means knowledge so basically, it is the knowledge or science of life. Ayuveda is the traditional Indian medicine; it works in pair together with yoga, and used to be transmitted orally until it was transcribed about 4500 years ago. It is one of the oldest medicines in the world so it has had time to prove its worth. It uses only plants and natural therapies among which massages with oils.
1-The Abhyanga massage at Shymala Spa
Shymala Spa is a luxury Spa located above Holland Park in the center of London. Embellished with high quality Indian ornaments. You are welcomed with a variety of warm teas followed by a one on one consultation with an
Ayurvedic practitioner. You then spend some time in the steam bath/sauna room preparing the body for the massage treatment. The quietness of the massage room blends with the tranquil sounds of nature that helps mind and body connects to a peaceful setting.
One of the many treatments offered and what I experienced is the Abhyanga massage. It is a complete massage of the whole body, performed with warm sesame oil – soothing the body and leaving you most relaxed. The therapist begins the process from the feet ending with the head. This message treatment helps with digestion and sleep. It strengthens the immune system, joints and is therefore mostly efficient to stay in good health and to increase longevity. It is the best way to harmonize the whole body naturally. In the end, after resting, you take a shower and enjoy another cup of tea. Shymala Ayurveda Spa, 152, Holland Park Avenue, London W11 4UH www.shymalaayurveda.com
2-Shirodhara treatments at Ayurveda Pura
As for Ayurveda Pura, it is located in the new area of Greenwich Millenium Village on the bank of the river Thames. Run by Dr. Deepa Apté, an Indian Ayurvedic doctor who’s been practicing for many years. She explained the benefits of this treatment:
Shirodhara is the signature treatment of Ayurveda, which is not found in any other system of medicine. Shiro means head and Dhara means to flow, hence when put together it means something that flows over the head or forehead or can be called the Ayurvedic forehead oil flow treatment.
Warm herb-infused Ayurvedic oil is gently and steadily poured over the forehead across the third eye in a continuous stream using a special rhythmic swaying movement. When a Shiridhara treatment is given, it has many effects: it regulates the hormonal system, it helps to soothe the nervous system, strengthens the immune system by inducing a state of deep meditation and relaxation and hence encourages endorphin production in the body, and lastly the continuous pouring of oil gives a sense of deep relaxation. In addition to relieving the disorders, it also has an effect of awakening the third eye, invigorating the physical system and the mind and stimulating the cognitive memory. Shiridhara can be given all year round. It is suitable for all body types and it is best not to sleep for a few hours after the treatment.
While waiting for your treatment, you are offered an ayurvedic tea and then after a few questions about your health, you are taken into the room for the treatment. This process is completed with a hot shower; another moment of relaxation and served a final cup of tea.
The Spa also has a great ayurvedic café where you can enjoy light vegetarian food after your treatment. Aurveda Pura Spa, 48 newton Lodge, Greenwich Millenium Village, West Parkside, North Greenwich, London SE10 0BA. http://www.ayurvedapura.com/
Ayurvedic practitioners’ can be found all aver the world in many different types of Spas so try to find one where you are and just enjoy the bliss of being taken care of with such awareness, knowledge and confidence. After all, it’s been going on for more than 5000 years!
Take care of our body…remember, it is the vehicle of our soul!
By Sandrine Jamis | Published in Profiles98 Summer Issue 9 2011