Visiting a day spa is one of the modern luxuries many of us seek to experience healing, pleasure and peace. In ancient times many cultures sought the healing waters, such as the Greeks, the Romans and indigenous peoples of the world.The Romans are noted in establishing the first spas which were well designed bathhouses built near mineral springs. The definition of the word, SPA means salus per aqua — health through water.
While many spas were cropping up in Europe, the ancient healing techniques of Ayurveda (whole body) healing systems were developed thousands of years ago in India. Based on the belief in the subtle balance of the mind/body/spirit, healing and wellness can be achieved.
In ancient times, a devout disciple and first cousin of the Buddha was a man who was said to have the highest purity of heart. This man was called Ananda, which means state of bliss, considered the highest state of being.
According to Bess O’Connor of the Chopra Center, Ayurveda is considered the highest level of the massage world. It has been around through the ages, not only for relaxation, but for “health benefits such as improving circulation, toning the muscles, calming the nerves, lubricating the joints, and increasing mental alertness. They are also used for supreme detoxification, skin health, energy, stamina, and better sleep.”
Today, the popularity of ancient Indian healing is showing up in spas all over the world. Burke Williams the oldie but goodie leader in the day spa world has expanded it’s offerings into the ancient healing traditions of India with Ayurvedic treatments. Their offerings are from Shirodhara and
My massesuse explained the treatment process and asked me to smell three different oils which were in attunement with the doshas. According to this healing method, there are three energies believed to circulate in the body and govern physiological activity, Vata, Pitta, Kapha.
Each specific oil, according to your dosha, was infused with different metals. Dosha is a Bioelement that makes up your constitution. The three bioelements are always fluctuating in the body. They change with day and night, and with food.
The Doshas are defined as:Vata (airy element) characterized by properties of dry, cold, light, minute, and movement. All movement in the body is due to property of vata and in this treatment it is balanced by Brass. Pitta (fiery element) connected to hotness, moist, liquid, sharp and sour, its chief quality is heat. Kapha (watery element) is characterized by heaviness, cold, tenderness, softness, slowness, lubrication, and the carrier of nutrients.
At a recent visit to the location, I was immersed into a peaceful calm with SHIRODHARA (“Head-flow” – Profound – Flowing – Clarity)
This deeply soothing traditional procedure is used to calm the central nervous system and integrate the mind and body to achieve a heightened state of awareness, relaxation and contentment. Before the treatment I was offered to smell three different herbal massage oils, and had to choose one which were aligned with my specific mind-body constitution, or dosha. Then while lying on the heated massage table which was very soothing, especially since it was a cold, rainy day in February. The warm herbal oil was massaged all over my body, in a rhythmic yet calming pace. The piece de la resistance was the ending with the Shirodhara, a constant and gentle stream of oil poured over the third eye to create a profound state of happiness and mental clarity.
It is especially comforting to have your feet, hands and scalp massaged with the oils. If you can keep the oil in your hair overnight it is very nourishing. You can sleep with a cap on and let the oils do their magic. It smells heavenly and has healing effects.
If you are seeking a new kind of spa experience and haven’t tried any Ayurvedic treatments, you may find that this will become a preference. It is now my ‘drug of choice’ for healing massage techniques. When you experience the combination of the oils befitting your condition, you will find that this kind of treatment is not only more relaxing but more healing than a traditional swedish or other massage. Next time you are thinking of a gift for yourself or your loved ones, this may be the ticket!