Traditional Ayurveda Treatments

Massages, body wraps, floral baths and herbs have their place on a typical Indian spa menu- yet many Ayurveda and holistic therapies may be less familiar to visitors to an Ayurveda health center. Here is a primer on some of the more traditional treatments that await spa adventurers in America and India.

Abhyanga: In this 60-minute or 90 minute full body massage, traditionally performed by two therapist, guests are anointed with body-specific herbal oils, then relaxed with rhythmic, push-pull massage movements.

Njavarakizhi: A treatment for sports injuries, joint pain and certain skin disorders, this massage is done with small linen bags filled with cooked Njavara rice, which stimulates circulation and detoxification. This procedure is highly rejuvenating and nourishing and prepares the body to tackle stress.

Pizhichil: In this combination of two classic Ayurveda treatments, lukewarm herbal oil is applied all over the body with fresh linens, while trained masseurs work together in a rhythmic pattern for one to two hours. This is considered to be a natural way to purify the body and build up immunity.

Shirodhara: Popular in many Western spas, this treatment for headaches, insomnia and tension involves pouring lukewarm herbal oils in a slow, steady stream on the forehead, while a gentle head massage helps to revitalize the body and mind.