Ayurvedic experience

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Ayurvedic experience

  1. 1. A TOTAL Ayurvedic Experience By Jayant DoshiI had read a lot, and heard about ayurvedicmassages and treatment in Kerala, and nowspreading in other parts of India and the world, butI also know that some of those centres have veryrudimentary accommodation, and little else by wayof activity besides massages. However, when Ifound about Kairali Health Resort, I decided to goand try it out. Ayurvedic medicine, based onnatural herbs and plants, is centuries old, and it isnice to see a revival of this ancient medical science.Universities run degree courses in ayurvedicmedicine, and gradually the herbal medicines aregetting recognition and are being now researchedand regulated to our modern standards.We landed at Cochin airport at mid-day where a car from the resort was waiting for us. Thedrive through the Kerala landscape was picturesque, and we reached the resort after twoand half hours. The resort is in the middle of rice farms, and our first reaction was how we were to spend a fortnight in such a forlorn place. But no sooner had we entered the resort, our spirits were raised, and we were totally mesmerised by the bewitching beauty of the resort. We were taken into the reception. The reception was a spacious room, nicely decorated with some lovely light fittings and simple but appealing furniture. The resort is built on a fifteen acre of undulating sloping land, totally covered with trees that included palm trees, cocoa nut trees and banana trees mixed with many other types of trees. The tree cover was so good that hardly any sunrayswould pierce through them during the daytime. An artificial falls is created at one end of theresort, and the water flows through a properly built stream that runs through the complex.Some fountains with colour lights adorn the streamand lotus flowers are planted in between toenhance beauty of the stream. Slabs are put in thestream for the purpose of crossing the same.Lampposts that go well with the surroundings arefixed along both sides of the stream.The grounds are covered with green grass, andslabs are put on them for walking. Landscaping ofthe grounds is fabulous with colourful flowers andexquisite tropical plants that is superb and beyondwords for description. There is a nice cleanswimming pool on one side, and the complex has a
  2. 2. variety of cottages for patients and for various activities. There are thirty cottages for patients, most of them housing two persons, while a few had space for four persons. Each cottage was individually designed, and if there was a contest for a best-designed cottage, most of these will qualify for such a prize. With the simple use of bricks, plaster and stones, the architect has created wonders on the outside and inside walls. Roof tiles are used effectively to create distinctive designs on ceilings of each cottage. Each cottage is furnished with thought and care. Bathrooms with hot water, a television with most channels, airconditioning and a ceiling fan, and a telephone in each cottage give all the amenities providedin any five star hotel.Two ayurvedic doctors look after the patients andrecommend the type of massage, treatment,medicine or food each patient has to take as perhis or her condition. The treatment centre isdivided into two wings, one for male patients andone for female patients. Each has four massagerooms, one treatment room, one medicine room,one steam room and shower and changing room.There are two offices for doctors. On our arrival ourmedial records were noted, we were checked outand then recommendations were made. We weregiven a schedule of daily routine, andrecommended some herbs for clearing out our systems. There is a herb garden, whichproduces all the herbs used by the resort. They also have their own factory which producesall the oils, and the herbal medicines, which are packed and sold under their own brand.Our daily routine comprised of one hour of yoga in the morning, and one hour of yoga in theevening. The morning yoga concentrated on asanas, while evening yoga concentrated onbreathing, meditation and eye exercises. Then we had one massage in the morning and onein the afternoon. However, one can opt to take whatever massages they desired. Breakfast consisted of fresh juice and nicely cut and peeled selection of fruits, though some days we had idli, dosa or similar item. Lunch comprised of soup, salad, roti without butter, two vegetables without oil and spices, rice and dal, and fruits for dessert, and dinner had similar menu, with a different selection of vegetables. Fruit juices and fresh cocoanut water were freely available. Massage rooms were simple but elegant. One wall had a nice design created with bricks and stones. In one corner, almost near the ceiling, an earthen pot was hung on the wall, and a speaker fitted inside the pot, which played soothing music when the massage was being done. A wooden plank in the form of a bed was made on piles of nicely laid brick pillars. Two masseurs gave the massage at the same time, and their hand movements were so
  3. 3. symmetrical, that if one had the eyes closed, then itwould feel that one person was giving massage.The massage lasted for at least an hour, and themassages are absolutely wonderful.After massage, I was taken to a room with a coffintype of box, and asked to lie inside the box with thehead outside. Steam was released into the boxwhile I relaxed. Then I went for shower where I wasgiven a small bowl with flour like powder mixedwith water, and two towels, which at first shockedme. Each towel was the size of a hand towel, andmade of thin muslin type of cloth, similar to thematerial used for dhoti. The first thought that came to mind was how was I going to dry mybody with this small piece of thin fabric. But I was in for a surprise. After applying the flourpaste on the body, and taking my shower, I was surprised how the little thin towel nicelyabsorbed all the water on my body, and I could dry myself in one towel. The flour powderhad performed a miracle. After the massage, my body was shining with oil, which literallywas dripping from my skin. But after the shower, it appeared as if no oil had ever beenapplied to my body. There are many types of massages and treatments, and the doctor showed me a book with hundreds of others, which have never been tried. But I will try to describe some of the massages. In Ayurvedic massage, lot of oil is used. The oil has lots of herbs added to them. Body massage is the simplest one, where lot of oil is used and rubbed over the body giving a soothing feeling. The masseurs press and rub the body hard and literally tone the fat on the body. While in normal body massage they use oil by the fistful, in another massage they pour lots of oil on the body, until thebody soaks in oil and the skin absorbs some of that oil with all the herbs. Dhara is amassage where oil continually drips from a pot on the forehead. This massage is veryrelaxing. Other treatments included face plaster, enema, nosedrops, herbal water in eyes, a crown on head with oil filledinside etc.The other massage is done with potli (a bundle of cloth) withlots of herbs or other items. In one massage, the potli hasseventeen herbs, the potli is heated on a stove with a metalpan, and then the potli is pressed and rubbed against thebody, and the body massaged. In another one, water withherbal roots is boiled, and the steam taken by the potli andthen the body is massaged. In another massage, boiled riceand herbs are put in the potli, and then dipped in a mixture ofwater, milk and herbs, which are boiling on a stove. There aremany other treatments, which are too various and complicatedto be described here. For the first time, they tried foot massage(where the masseur uses his foot to give massage) on me, andit was a wonderful experience. But whichever the massage,
  4. 4. the feeling after the massage was wonderful. Soon I set myself into a routine. I started going for a long brisk walk in the morning. The walks were wonderful. The walk took me through rice fields, and farm workers and others who lived along the way. Early morning was quiet, country air felt fresh and wonderful, the breeze fluttered the trees and rising sun enhanced the scene, and the quiet of the morning was filled with the chirping of the birds. Women along the path were already busy in their daily chores, while men were getting ready togo to their daily routines. School children were already on their way to the schools. The walkgave me a wonderful insight into local life, and I enjoyed the atmosphere.As I knew some yoga already, the teacher agreedto give me yoga lessons on my own at a later time.After breakfast, and reading the newspaper, Iwent for my first massage. This was followed byan hour of intense yoga session. I drank lot ofjuices and cocoanut milk during the day. Afterlunch, I went near the swimming pool, read for awhile, had a small nap, and did some swimming.Then I had my second massage at four. In theevening, I knocked around a few tennis balls, andthen went for the evening yoga session, followedby dinner. After dinner, we gathered in the gamesroom and had some card game to entertain us. The day just passed in all these activities. We took a chance to visit the nearby town of Palakkad, where we saw the fort of Tipu Sultan, and one of the oldest Jain temples (claimed to be 1500 to 2000 years old). There was a big festival when huge chariots are beautifully decorated and lighted. We were misinformed and missed the actual ritual when, these huge chariots, are pulled by crowds of people. I spent fourteen days in the resort. I am not sure if the medical treatments are that effective, but for rejuvenation and a wonderful quiet holiday, this place is wonderful. I felt totally rejuvenated, and a new person. My body felt toned down and in good shape. I would highly recommend this resort for a visit. It is a good holiday, with a good recuperation and rejuvenation of the body and the mind. It is a health resort that should be visited annually to do a MOT of the body, as we do MOT of our cars every year. (website www.jayantdoshi.yolasite.com)

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