The Natural Way To Feeling Great
Head and face massage with warmed sesame oil blend with herbs, a blissful soak in bathwater filled with fragrant tropical flowers, followed by an exquisite meal incorporating organically grown vegetables and fruits. If Sri Lanka’s Ayurvedic treatments don’t give an unrivalled sense of well-being, possibly nothing well.
One of the world’s oldest forms of healing, Ayurveda — derived from the Sanskrit for life (Ayuh) and knowledge (Veda) — originated more than 3000 years ago.
This holistic approach to health, where body, mind and soul are inextricably linked, seeks to balance the body’s energies to ensure good health and a feeling of well-being. A comprehensive treatment includes massage, herbal baths, oil treatment and a special diet, as well as meditation, yoga and music. Ayurveda is used to treat everything from stress to diabetes, migraine, asthma, arthritis and high blood pressure helps boost the immune system and many even help delay the ageing process.
The basis of Ayurveda is the belief in a combination of five basic elements forming three types of energy within the body: Vatha (a combination of air and space); Pitha (fire and water); and Kappha (death and water). Ayurvedic practitioners believe that illness arises when these energies are out of balance, and work to restore harmony.
Sri Lanka has around 6500 registered Ayurveda practitioners many of whom have undergone a seven-year study course, followed by two years in conventional hospital. As well as specialized Ayurveda hospitals, many luxurious beach resorts now offer a Spa or Massage Centre. The principles and techniques of this ancient medical approach are used here to pleasurable holiday, rather than to treat illness.
Visitors who wish to deal with minor medical problems, recover from stress or a period of illness, or simply concentrate on improving their over-all health will find a number of dedicated Ayurveda health resorts with full-time doctors. Once again, these are mostly located in beautiful coastal areas, and offer facilities for relaxation or exercise such as swimming pools. Visitors may opt for a minimal weekend stay, but a stay of up to two or three weeks helps obtain the maximum benefits from a combination of pure fresh air, a largely vegetarian diet, yoga, meditation and individually designed treatments.
Herbal or floral baths, generally following a relaxing massage, are given depending upon the guest’s particular requirements. Cleansing of the inner body, or detoxification, is carried out through a combination of a special detoxifying herbal compound, and oiling the body before inducing sweating.
One popular treatment, known as Shiridara, involves dripping warmed herbal oil rhythmically onto the Centre of the forehead for about 20 minutes. This treatment has been found to be very effective at curing migraine headaches and any disorders of the central nervous system. Head and face massage with warm blended oil helps relax the nervous system and balance the energies which control the functions of the brain, while body massage helps diminish any aches and pains and gives a sense of total relaxation.
Ayurveda’s pharmacopoeia of preparations includes a vast range of leaves, roots, bark, resin, spices and fruits. Used with the experience of 3000 years, the ingredients of Ayurveda continue to work their restorative and healing magic, and can easily be experienced by visitors to Sri Lanka.