An Ayurvedic Spa Treatment

This wasn’t just any massage.

Ayurveda is a holistic approach to wellness, developed in India and brought to Sri Lanka about 3,000 years ago. The two main principles are: 1) the mind and body are inextricably linked and 2) you cannot heal the body without the mind. The idea is to change your lifestyle and habits to be healthier in mind and body. In addition, certain foods and herbs provide certain health benefits.

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I’ve read about some intensive, week-long retreats you can participate in for deep healing. There are also things you can do at home to sort of infuse your everyday life with the teachings of Ayurveda. (I definitely could be explaining this better. But, you have a computer so start googling for yourself.)

Everywhere we go, we see signs for Ayurveda spas and massages. Basically, they incorporate certain herbs and essential oils into the massage that Ayurvedic medicine says have many healing and relaxing properties. Finally, in Ella, we decided to give it a try. The spa package lasted for 2 hours and consisted of 4 components.

First, we got very thorough massages. I think the oil they used had eucalyptus. The women taking care of us didn’t speak enough English for me to be able to ask questions about the ingredients in everything. This massage was definitely less painful than a Thai massage. I actually felt like my muscles were being massaged rather than attacked by thumbs of steel.

Next, I was laid on a table with a hanging pot above my head. As warm green oil was poured into the pot, it drizzled onto my forehead and was massaged into my scalp. After a while I sat up so the oil could be more thoroughly massaged in. I totally get how dogs feel when we scratch their heads and behind their ears. It’s lovely. The green head oil smelled a bit like curry powder. It was not unpleasant, but also not what I was expecting when I laid down and closed my eyes.

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After wrapping my extremely oily, curry scented hair in a towel, I was lead to the steam bath. Picture a mix between a tanning bed and that box a magician uses to cut his assistant in half. They heat it from underneath, and there were very large leaves under me. It was very, very warm in there, and I did A LOT of sweating. I was expecting to come out looking all shriveled and pruney. The scene in Casper the Friendly Ghost where they try to bring Casper back to life in the machine his father invented, but he comes out looking like a runny egg popped into my head too. Don’t worry, I still looked like (a very sweaty) me when I got out of the steam bath.

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Lastly, we sat in the sauna for a bit. It smelled nice in there. On the floor of the sauna, directly above the heat, there was what looked like a variety of spices. Yum. Ooo, actually there was a 5th component to our Ayurveda spa treatment: tea. Can’t forget about the tea!

We left feeling thoroughly relaxed and more than a little oily.

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