Ayurveda, meaning the ‘science of life’, is an ancient form of medicine based on the principal of balance between mind, body and spirit. An ayurvedic lifestyle aims to maintain this balance. If they become unbalanced, disease can occur; ayurvedic treatments aim to restore the balance. So although we call it an ‘ayurvedic spa’, in some ways we should view it as a hospital of sorts (albeit a very relaxing one!).
I was welcomed to Greenview Spa by all the staff: “Ayubowan”, meaning ‘long life’.
I had a consultation with Ayurveda specialist Dr. Ariyamala who identified my dosha (biological energies: Vatta, Pitta and Kapha) and defined the treatments I required using my pulse and visible indicators on my body. The course of my treatment was over a few days, to ensure my progress could be tracked by Dr. Ariyamala. I was also advised on sleeping patterns, food consumption and meditation practices.
Saunas are some of the oldest forms of relaxation therapies; they promote blood circulation, open airways, enhance sweating and mucosal secretions (lymphatic clearance) and have an immune-regulatory effect. The heat also lubricates the body and helps to regulate water metabolism. Having regular saunas helps to harmonize the inner and outer aspects of the body and helps to calm the spirit too.
I found this contraption rather daunting, I won’t lie. However once closed, I found myself comfortable, relaxed and very very sweaty!
Full Body Massage
Massage treats the whole body: physically, mentally and emotionally. Ayurvedic massage uses essential oils that are chosen to suit your dosha. Massage techniques include tapping, kneading and squeezing as well as the traditional massage strokes you would expect. The style and flow is determined by your body, what it needs and how to restore balance making this full body massage fully personalised to you and your needs therefore yielding effective, restorative results.
This was perhaps my favourite treatment of them all: the greenview staff certainly knew what they were doing and I came off the table feeling supple and energised.
This ayurvedic treatment involves gently pouring liquids over the forehead and can be one of the steps involved in panchakarma (using 5 different detoxification treatments). The name comes from Sanscrit: shiro meaning head and dhara meaning flow. The liquids used in shirodhara vary depending on the purpose of the treatment and can include oils, milk, coconut water etc. The treatment itself is used to treat a wide variety of conditions such as sinusitis, rhinitis, memory loss, insomnia, tinnitus, psoriasis amoungst others. There are specialized forms of shirodhara: ‘ksheeradhara’, ‘thakradhara’, ‘taildhara’ and ‘jaladhara’.
This treatment was a strange sensation to begin with but once I was used to it, it was a pleasant treatment, and as an added bonus the oils left my hair super silky too!
Often perceived as a purely aesthetic treatment, this facial is actually very beneficial in balancing your mind and treating skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis. Oils and herbs are chosen to suit your dosha and can deliver a variety of effects: hydration, detoxification, purification, and anti-aging.
As someone with very sensitive skin, I am always a little wary of facials: strange products can make my face red, itchy and swollen (a great holiday look for sure!) however I was reassured that all the products that were going to be used were natural, gentle and had been matched to my dosha therefore (fingers crossed) preventing any negative results. I laid back and had my faced lathered, scrubbed, massaged and masked which resulted in super soft, glowing skin and no allergic reaction!
Foot massage is a simple and effective method to relax body and mind. Based on the tenets of foot reflexology, it involves applying pressure on key points of the foot which both identifies underlying conditions and can aid treatment of them.
My feet are super ticklish so I wasn’t as relaxed during this treatment as I maybe should have been, nevertheless it was a thorough massage and my feet felt wonderful by the end.
Ancient ayurvedic scriptures tell us that bathing not only cleanses your body and soul, but can improve sleep, appetite, libido, life span and energy. It is believed that ritual bathing in the Ganges river will purify the soul. Herbs are chosen depending on your dosha and the imbalances that you need rectifying.
I love a bath (and a Lush bathbomb) as much as the next person but I was a little skeptical to see if this herbal bath could purify me that much, yet after this treatment I felt incredibly relaxed, my skin felt super fresh and I was ready to take on my day! It is an ayurvedic treatment I feel I could, and want to, incorporate into my daily morning routine.
Pinda Sweda is a combination of massage and sweating therapy used to treat muscoskeltal problems such as rheumatoid arthritis. The body and its aching joints and muscles are massaged vigorously with warm herbal bags; promoting circulation, draining of toxins through the lymphatic system and relieving the effected areas of inflammation, pain and tension. This treatment can also be beneficial post exercise to keep joints and muscles supple and healthy.
This treatment is both enjoyable and effective! For days after this treatment, my body felt supple and a slight pain I suffer in my knees during exercise has yet to return!
Kati vasti is a very effective treatment for lower back-ache. Warm, thick oils are poured onto the affected region of the spine into a reservoir made of black gram dough. The oil is kept on for 30-40 minutes and replenished with new, warm oil to maintain the temperature. Once the oil is removed, the lower back is massaged followed by steam therapy to ensure the oils, and their medicinal properties, are absorbed fully. This treatment is usually carried out in a course of 5-7 days.
I only had this treatment for three days but each day my back felt better and better. I was very happy with how this treatment not only got rid of any aches and pains but actually improved the movement in my lumbar region, therefore improving my yoga practice significantly.
Overall, all the treatments I have had at Greenview, I would happily have again. I have gained knowledge of how to live an ayurvedic life and will certainly be adopting some of these techniques into my everyday routine.