Our website uses cookies. These are small text files which your web browser stores on your computer. Cookies are used to identify your computer to our server and store your website preferences. Cookies do not contain any personally identifying information.


A guide to: Ayurveda therapies

Akshi Tarpana treatment. Image: iStockphoto

Abigail Butcher unearths some of the best treatments in the land where the 5,000-year-old system of natural healing began


Treatment: Akshi Tarpana

Benefit: This nourishing eye treatment improves vision, removes dark circles and rejuvenates and revitalises tired eyes. It also helps to strengthen the nerves and muscles around the eyes, alleviates strain (typically, from looking at computer screens and bright light) and is said to help prevent the formation of cataracts, as well as cure a host of eye disorders, from chronic conjunctivitis and corneal ulcers to dry eye syndrome.
Process: The therapist applies a dough ring made from black gram flour around the outside of the eyes as you lie back on a massage table. A dosha-specific, lukewarm medicated ghee (clarified butter) is then poured into the ring, over the eyes, until the liquid covers the entire length of the eyelashes. After a pause, you’re asked to blink, opening and closing your eyes for about five minutes — no more — before the ring is removed and oil drained away. The whole treatment lasts around 30 minutes and will leave you with extraordinary clarity of vision. This is quite a strange treatment but works far better than any eye bath — just take care to avoid bright light afterwards.
Where: Ananda in the Himalayas, Uttaranchal. anandaspa.com

Treatment: Ayurvedic Abhyanga

Benefit: An abhyanga massage with shirodhara rejuvenates the mind and body by improving concentration, calming emotions and reducing stress. Abhyanga has been used for thousands of years to benefit sleep patterns and increase longevity, minimising the effects of ageing. Combined with shirodhara, it regulates the nervous system, increasing the body’s suppleness and vitality, as well as renewing inner peace.
Process: Abhyanga involves large amounts of warm ayurvedic oils combined with medicated herbs specific to your dosha type. The body is annointed as the therapist applies long, rhythmical strokes to calm and regulate the circulatory and nervous system. According to ayurvedic medicine, there are seven layers of tissue in the body (dhatus), and abhyanga reaches them all. The signature treatment at The Leela Palace combines abhyanga with shirodhara. Warm, medicated dosha-specific oil is poured continuously onto the forehead. Cotton pads are placed over the eyes, and the thin trickle of oil is re-circulated in a treatment that can last up to an hour, but when joined with abhyanga, takes 30 minutes.
Where: The Leela Palace, Udaipur. theleela.com

Treatment: Udwarthanam

Benefit: Ayurvedic powder massage for weight loss.
Process: Traditionally performed by two masseurs using a medicated herbal powder selected according to body type. The masseurs rub the dry, warmed powder in an upward motion — the word ‘udvartana’ refers to upward, elevated strokes (the opposite direction to conventional massage). Udwarthanam cleanses and nourishes the skin and increases blood circulation, skin condition and tone, as well as increasing fat metabolism and reducing cellulite by ‘melting’ subcutaneous fat. The treatment is a deep-tissue massage, where the powder is forcibly rubbed against the direction of the hair follicles in seven different body positions for a specific length of time. If the masseurs get a little rough, say so, but it’s not meant to be comfortable. In its classic form, udwarthanam is performed once or twice a day over a seven- or 14-day period for around 45 minutes and is always followed by a steam bath — possibly the nicest part of the treatment. Although not enjoyable at the time, you’ll feel amazing afterwards.
Where: Kalari Kovilakom in Kerala. kalarikovilakom.com

Treatment: Kundalini

Benefit: Healing for the nervous system through the release of physical and emotional tension. The body and mind are returned to a state of balance, with heightened spiritual awareness. The treatment also helps to boost blood and
lymph circulation.
Process: The aim is to use chakra and sound healing to activate and channel the kundalini (the dormant, primal energy at the base of the spine). The therapist uses cupped hands over the body’s seven chakras — base, water, fire, heart, throat, third eye, and crown — from the bottom of the body to the top. In doing so, the she is tapping into energy fields. Sound from the cupping is also used to create a surge of energy from the base to the crown. There’s a massage element, too, using ancient techniques combined with dosha-specific ayurvedic oils, but it’s massage with a light touch — not the conventional pressure-focused release of physical tension and flushing of toxins. The entire treatment process lasts around an hour and is profoundly nurturing.
Where: Ila Only Spa, Raas, Jodphur. raasjodhpur.com

Content Notice: Every care is taken in compiling the contents online and in print. However destinationsguide.co.uk and the publisher assume no responsibility for consequences resulting from the publication of, or use of, any of the information contained online/in print. While every care is taken in the accuracy of the information compiled, it is strongly advised the visitor/reader double checks all travel advice with the respective tourist boards/embassies/government offices before acting on any information.

If you would like to contact us with any concerns about any of the content on our website, or report any inaccuracies or notify us of any copyright issues, please send us an email on editorial@aplmedia.co.uk with the url of the article or page and details of the issue. We will respond to any enquiries within 21 days and endeavour to correct any mistakes as soon as possible.

Destinationsguide.co.uk is published by APL Media Limited, Unit 310, Highgate Studios, 53-79 Highgate Road, London NW5 1TL. www.aplmedia.co.uk

Editorial enquiries t: +44 (0)20 7253 9906 e: editorial@aplmedia.co.uk

Sales enquiries t: +44 (0)20 7253 9909 e: sales@aplmedia.co.uk

Company no: 3393234  |  VAT: 701391176  |  Registered Office: 30 City Road, London EC1Y 2AB  |  Copyright 2014 APL Media Ltd. All Rights Reserved.