A Trip to Kerala India
Awhile back I took a short vacation to Kerala, India. Home to lush greenery and , Ayurveda, the oldest medicine in the world. It was a short, but relaxing, making it the ultimate getaway escape. Chanting music, candles and the smell of herbal oil pleased my senses. My trip to Kerala wasn't a physical one, but a mental one, even though you wouldn't know the difference.
The therapeutic and Ayurvedic oils, techniques and the therapist are directly from Kerala, India; bringing this ancient medicine to Lebanon. The therapist, Binu K.K., was born and raised in the land of Ayurveda. He brings years of experience passed from one generation to another, technique and dedication to his work. Kerala is home to the largest number of Ayurveda colleges and practitioners in the world. If you're not familiar, the practice and lifestyle of Ayurveda dates back to 5,000 years old. It's a naturalistic system that depends on your body's humours-vata, pitta and kapha- to achieve the right balance. The Ayurvedic massage is personalized to suit the individual dosha (body and mind type).
As a dedicated runner and recent student of mixed martial arts, my body has naturally taken a beating. Aside from the physical soreness, my mind is cloudy with deadlines, projects, commitments and day to day stresses, of which most of us go through. Binu recommend the general massage for relaxation and specific aches and pains, the Sirodhara (general head massage and the Njavarakizhi, finished by a steam bath and sauna. I wanted to try all of the therapies, but since they take time, I tried the ones that are good for my current body.
Read as I take you through my trip to India.
Njavarakizhi: A light chanting music plays overhead while the therapist slowly drip warm therapeutic oil across my back and legs. This technique starts off with a short massage so the oil can integrate into your skin. Then, a linen cloth bundle filled with boiled rice and medicinal herbs is applied to my skin in circular motions. The sudden heat from the cloth awakens your muscles, but the circular motions and contact with the oil creates a sedation process that took me into the most relaxing state. Since I run, my calve muscles were tight, but after the therapist applied the heated cloth bundles, my muscles began to loosen up. Overall, this technique is great for someone who likes the thermal application and the soothing feeling that the oil provides.
Sirodhara: I was on to my second massage: a head massage. My body was already very relaxed after receiving the Njavarakizhi treatment. This technique is when lukewarm oil is poured in a special rhythmic style on the forehead. Oil dripped from side to side on the forehead and then back through my hair. It rejuvenated the nerves and scalp which increases blood circulation of the head and brain. The motion of the oil is slow enough that every sensation on my head awoke. When I have writers block, and that is frequent, I come to get this massage because it allows me focus and quiet the noise that seems to never stop in my brain. This technique provides a better vision, better hearing and overall eases mental stress. I don't know anyone who doesn't battle the stress of day to day life, so why not get a massage to ease activity and stress in our brains?
Steam Bath, Sauna and Turkish Bath: After getting oil applied to my skin, it was time to unclogged the pores and sweat out any toxins I've accumulated from my errands of the day. I tried each one to get a feel for which 'post massage' cleanse I would do. My favorites were the sauna and the steam bath. For one, the sauna gives you a full body sweat detox. It is a great way to further relax. I liked the steam bath for different reasons. The steam bath gives you the same sweat cleanse, but your head is out in the air. This leaves a chamber around your body so the steam can still be contained which gives the maximum results. This is a helpful for ridding of cellulite ladies and gentlemen!
After two different massages, a steam bath and sauna, my body was thanking me for the much needed dedicated relaxation time out. Since Ayurvedic is just more than massage; it a medicine that follows the make up of your body.
When you get the massage, tell Binu where your ache is and he will focus on treating the knew with a certain technique. I took a mental trip to India and now my body is ready for what lies ahead!