Could You Find Balance with an Ayurvedic Massage?
Ayurveda is an ancient Indian holistic medical system based on achieving physical and mental harmony with nature. The 5,000-year-old complementary wellness therapy is made up of different things to improve your health, wellbeing, behaviour and state of mind, including diet, Yoga, massage, detoxification, herbal remedies, meditation and daily lifestyle. So Ayurveda, then, isn’t just a therapy; it’s a way of life.
This is according to the award-winning Ayurveda Pura in North Greenwich, where journalist Martha De Lacey recently visited for the first time. According to De Lacey, ‘Some two-thirds of the way into my decadent session on her massage table, my consciousness suddenly plummeted into the most delicious state of sleep, prompting my leg (as body-parts are prone to do when slipping out of wakefulness) to involuntarily spasm… kicking the good doctor in the face. It is testament to the power of her soothing hands and flawless technique that I managed so completely to leave life’s stresses at the door of her North Greenwich day spa and drift off.’
De Lacey explained, ‘Unlike a deep tissue massage, a Swedish massage or a sports massage, an Ayurvedic massage is a gentler, smoother, more sensory experience. Instead of pumelling knots, cracking joints and bending elbows the way they aren’t meant to bend, Dr Deepa slathered my whole body in comestible, herb-infused oils (in Ayurveda nothing is put on your skin that cannot be put in your mouth) and swept her palms over me, her hands never leaving my skin. Her touch – coupled with the soft, plinky-plunky music, the warm, dark room and the soft bed – sent me drifting off into sleep. Hence all the kicking.’
But what’s the point of it all? In Ayurveda, everything in the universe – including humans – are seen as composed of five basic elements: space, air, fire, water and earth. Ayurveda combines these elements into Vatta (air and space), Pitta (fire and water) and Kapha (water and earth) and while you have all three forces within you, the concentration of each force makes up your Prakriti, or your constitution. Illness is therefore seen as an imbalance of your elements, and Ayurveda aims to restore balance and reinstate health through massage. As De Lacey commented, ‘In other words: massages are essential. This is my kind of belief system.’