Herbal treatments, massage, and yoga in India
There has been a rising interest in holistic health and in the treatments and practices that Indians have been studying for millennials. More and more people travel afar seeking natural treatments in order to attain a general sensation of well-being, and this kind of tourism has spawned numerous health spas and resorts in India.
The most visited ones are those offering yoga and ayurvedic treatments, massages, aromatherapy, reflexology, and meditation. Our short article will give you some general information about this traditional medicine and offer you some suggestion about the best resorts and retreats.
Learn more about Indian herbal treatments, massage, and yoga here.
- Ayurveda, in English, is translated as ‘the science of life’, originated thousands of years ago.
- Ayurvedic medicine aims to balance the various components of the human body.
- Panchakarma is one of the main Ayurvedic treatments, a pleasant and healthy experience.
- An Ayurvedic resort may be the best way to relax and enjoy these comfortable treatments
The philosophy of Ayurveda
Ayurveda is a system of medicine with historic roots that originated in the Indian subcontinent. It is one of the world’s oldest holistic (‘whole-body’) healing system, based on the belief that health and wellness depend on a delicate balance between the mind, body, and spirit.
Therapies are based on herbal compounds, mineral and metal substances, and most of them originated during the time of the Indus Valley Civilization.
An Ayurvedic practitioner will create a treatment specifically designed for you. Your unique physical and emotional make-up, primary life force, and the balance between all three of these elements are considered. This holistic approach is used during diagnosis is a pivotal concept of Ayurveda.
Ayurveda has eight tools called: the pulse, urine, stool, tongue, speech, touch, vision, and appearance; and the diagnosis is approached by using the five senses.
In order to attain vitality, it is fundamental to build a healthy metabolic system, focusing on yoga, meditation, and exercise. The natural cycles of waking, sleeping, working, and meditation – as well as hygiene – are extremely important. Part of the treatment says that there are channels that transport fluids and that these channels can be opened up with massages and oils.
To produce the medicine, Ayurvedic practitioners will use plant-based treatments derived from roots, leaves, fruits, bark, or seeds; as well as animal products, such as milk and bones. Consuming minerals and fats are an important part of the treatment.
Alcoholic beverages called Madya, are used to increase the balance within one’s body. Madya is classified according to the raw material and fermentation process and categories include fruit-based, sugar-based, cereal-based, fermented with vinegar, and tonic wines. These beverages are usually used to create dryness, loosen the joints, or improve digestion.
Herbs are a fundamental part of Ayurvedic treatments. The Ayurvedic herbs are used to ‘cleanse’ the body, boost defense against disease, and keep the mind, body, and spirit in balance. It is advisable that before you start any treatment, you visit your own doctor for advice. Here are some of the herbs used for treating some illnesses:
- Ashwagandha, a shrub that increases vitality and balance stress hormones.
- Brahmi, a word that indicates both the Centella Asiatica and the Bacopa Monnieri, is considered the “ultimate brain tonic.”
- Cardamom: a spice that helps remove excess mucus, phlegm, etc.
- Cumin: another spice, great for digestion
- Manjistha: a vine that purifies the blood
- Turmeric: a bright yellow spice, used as an anti-inflammatory
- Amalaki: a small fruit high in vitamin C
- Triphala: an herb blend used as a digestive
- The bark of the Arjuna tree: used to support cardiovascular health
- Shatavari: an herb used to treat problems with reproductive organs
Relying on Ayurvedic principles, the massages focus on relaxation and stress relief. The goal is to find the energy points and adjust the energy in one’s body.
Unlike a traditional massage, an Ayurvedic one will use a lot of oils and will focus on said energy points. The masseur will use tuning forks, metal tools that vibrate and are placed on the body to relieve physical and mental tension.
One of the primary characteristics of the diet is that you eat according to your dominant constitutional type or dosha. Your dosha is your prominent energy. There are three different doshas – vata, pitta, and kapha, and they are derived from five different elements: space, air, fire, water, and earth. Each element provides different qualities or attributes.
Each person has a dominant dosha, and his/her diet should follow accordingly. For example, if the dominant dosha is vata, you should eat beef, eggs, fish, and grains, while avoiding potatoes, corn, chickpeas, lamb, red wine, etc.
Following the Ayurvedic diet, in every meal, you should always incorporate foods that are sweet, salty, sour, bitter, pungent, and astringent. It is necessary to eat slowly, mindfully, and the proper quantity of food.
Ayurvedic healing — panchakarma
Panchakarma means “five treatments”, and it is a process to expel the toxic materials from the body. The body can do this naturally, but poor exercise and a poor diet can prevent it from doing it properly. And this is when panchakarma is used.
Panchakarma is a very pleasant experience, and it usually involves massages with warm oils, herbal steam therapy, lymphatic massage, nasal administrations, and other special treatments. The treatment, however, is not always the same, as it is personalized based on the individual needs of each patient. For the most part, it is a delightful and comfortable therapy with some discomfort that is associated with the release of toxins.
The therapy must always begin with an initial consultation with a qualified physician, who can determine the constitutional type of the patient and the nature of the health problem, and the appropriate degree of intensity of the therapies.
There are plenty of Ayurvedic products that you can buy during your trip to India. There are plenty of herbal products – such as pre-packaged teas, oils, and extracts - essential oils, skin balms, incense, body splash, hair oils, lip balm, and much, much more.
The best way to enjoy a full Ayurvedic treatment is to head to one of the many resorts specialized in this kind of therapy.
If you want to have unlimited massages, then choose Makosha Ayurveda Spa Suites Retreat, with its 600 square-foot guest-suite having an adjoining private treatment area. Here you can also enjoy traditional Swedish massages.
If you like luxury more, Carnoustie Ayurveda and Wellness Resort offer you an extremely luxurious setting and a combination of Ayurvedic, yoga, mantra, and naturopathy treatments.
Finally, if you wish to immerse yourself in nature, then Kairali Ayurvedic Healing Village Health Resort is the place for you. The resort is located inside 50 acres of lush land, and there is a small river running close to each cottage. They serve only vegetarian food, and alcohol is prohibited.
Traditional India massage
Champissage is the famous Indian head massage aimed to release stress and tension, and is completely relaxing, both from a physical and a mental point of view.
This kind of massage stems from Ayurveda and it was developed in the 80s by Mr. Narendra Mehta. A full massage includes 5 steps: the upper back, the shoulders, and arms, the neck, the head, and the face.
There are multiple benefits deriving from Champissage. These are:
- Extra oxygen for the brain
- Increasing blood flow
- Relaxing the whole body
- Relieving headaches and migraines
- Provide relief from back pain
- Promote hair growth
- Relieve depression
The massage provides a general feeling of well-being and freshness, and one of its main techniques serves to release the fascia of the head. Some studies have demonstrated that this will result in increased mobility of the neck and of the waist.
Meditation and yoga in India
Yoga and meditation should always go together: yoga helps to strengthen the body and make long meditation sessions easy; meditation helps the mind get into the body for yoga. Both practices were invented in India thousands of years ago and, nowadays, travelers will find a huge number of different courses and treatments all over the country.
Some of them are luxurious; while others offer basic dwelling and require a vow of silence. However, no matter what you are looking for, you will find it in India.
What is yoga
Yoga, in Sanskrit, means “to connect”. It is the experience of connecting to oneself, and its main purpose is to still the mind, strengthen the body, and soften the heart.
Yoga should be seen as an interior process where you experience an intimate relationship with the marvel that is your body and consciousness. It is ultimately a conduit of joy.
What is meditation
With meditation, an individual uses a technique to train awareness and achieve a calm and stable state. In many religions, especially Hinduism, it is practiced as part of the path toward enlightenment and self-realization.
It can also be used to reduce stress, anxiety, depression, and pain; as well as to increase peace, perception, and well-being.
In Hinduism, meditation is known as Dhyana. Its practice originated during the Vedic era of Hinduism, and it is a part of the process by which the yogi realizes one’s relationship with other living beings.
Check out our pick for the 3 best Yoga Centers
Parmarth Niketan is one of the best places to study yoga. There are 1,000 rooms and there are plenty of classes to choose from or classes that you can also just observe as a visitor. One of its most popular attractions is the Yoga Festival that is held for a week every March.
The founder of Krishnamacharya Yoga Mandiram has developed an individualized style of yoga known as viniyoga. Their most popular program is called The Heart of Yoga: it lasts 4 weeks and there are 120 hours of class, and it covers the principal aspects of asana, pranayama, philosophy, and meditation. There are also courses for wanna-be teachers.
Purple Valley, in Assagao, specializes in Astanga Yoga and offers numerous courses of various ability levels. Assagao is a small, lovely village near the sea, truly a unique location where to learn everything you have to know about yoga. Courses include vegetarian meals and accommodation.
Treat yourself to a relaxing therapeutic vacation with Asia Highlights
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