pas today are playing a pivotal role in helping people achieve health and wellbeing and are no longer just place where people go to get pampered. As people become more aware of the need to look after themselves and get off the modern day treadmill of working like machines, they are increasingly acknowledging the benefits of taking a natural approach.
People are becoming keen to take a more holistic approach to their health and well being and there is an upsurge of interest in treatments that work not only to beautify the skin but also to relax and nurture the whole body. Slowly but surely spas are looking at incorporating treatments that can help their clients to achieve total wellness.
Ayurveda is a leader in this new wave of wellness consciousness, both with the public and with spa owners.
Ayurveda has always advocated that external beauty is directly related to internal wellbeing. This is because there is no lasting benefit from treatments that only work at superficial levels.
One can only achieve long lasting wellness through treatments that make external and internal levels. And Ayurvedic beauty treatments are particularly focused on these areas.
Integrating true Ayurvedic principles can seem challenging to some people but the time has come for these treatments to be incorporated into spas that offer n authentic and complete holistic approach.
Ayurveda belongs to neither a nation nor a religion but to life itself. Ayurveda was revealed to the seers in India thousands of years ago. In a natural environment when goodness reigned supportive to all our life, these seers or rishis came to understand the principles by which health and wellbeing is both created and destroyed at both external and internal levels.
Ayurveda, the science of longevity, promotes health, natural beauty and long life – something that today’s well ness spas seek to offer and consumers are beginning to demand.
When we talk about beauty in the context of Ayurveda, It should be made clear from the start that we are not talking about the market driven ideals of the moment.
In Ayurveda, beauty treatments and products are very specifically proscribed in ancient Ayurvedic texts and the true benefits of such treatments can only be achieved when they are offered in their unadulterated form and only by therapists who are well trained to incorporate all the principles and ethics of the treatment. This is equally true in today’s spa environment.
According to Ayurveda, inner and outer beauty is intimately related. The more we nurture ourselves, the more radiant we become physically and expressively, regardless of our particular body shape or constitution.
Ayurveda has much to offer the wellness spa industry. Spa – style Ayurvedic body care programmes structured by qualified Ayurvedic doctors and spa consultants are both blissful to receive and effective at relieving many of today’s stress – related conditions. In addition, the ambience Ayurvedic concepts inspire in a spa’s interior design creates a calm and peaceful, atmosphere, which spurs customers to come again and again.
Today’s spa goers are demanding a true natural approach to treatments and products and Ayurveda has the tried and tested answers.
The Ayurvedic approach to spa therapy takes the treatment package to a much deeper and long lasting level and can be customised to the needs and imbalances of the client. All Ayurvedic treatments to each individual’s body and skin type.
Ayurvedic understanding is based on the principle that the human body is made up of five elements (such as fire, water, earth, and ether). Each element has specific qualities and these are responsible to maintain either balance or create imbalance in the body. For example, the air element’s qualities includes dry, rough, cold, thin, irregular and empty and the characteristics of the five element are hot, sharp, light and oily. The characteristics of the earth element include dense, heavy, oily, cold, thick, slow and soft.
Ayurvedic therapists are well – trained to access these elements and pinpoint what qualities are out of balance and causing a particular skin condition in their client. Therapists can also identify whether an imbalance due to some physical irregularities or due to a mental cause (which today is the prime cause of skin problems such as wrinkles, blemishes, dark spots or pimples). After the therapist determines the cause they can select skincare products that will be suitable for treating that condition.
It is very important that therapist learn to analyse the skin type and imbalances properly, otherwise the whole treatment can be ruined. For example, skin dryness can be caused by either too much cold or too much heat in skin tissues.) Each type of dryness will bring different manifestations. While dryness caused by cold is more responsible for wrinkles, dryness from heat will lead to blemishes.
One, however, must be cautious about the prognosis of some ‘new age’ Ayurvedic therapists who claim they can tell whether your skin is vata, pitta or kapha just by looking at you.
By incorporating the Ayurvedic wellness approach, a spa can become a one – stop shop where owners can make their clients feel more satisfied and happy by giving them something that will have a long – term effect on their wellness.
The treatments and services an Ayurvedic spa offers include:
- Lifestyle conditions.
- Ayurvedic body work such as Ayurvedic therapeutic marma massage.
- Synchronised Ayurvedic massage.
- Ayurvedic stone therapy massage
- Ayurvedic Navarakhizi massage
- Udwartanam massage ( a unique massage treating cellulite and fat metabolism)
- Ayurvedic body wraps.
- Ayurvedic ubtans.
- Ayurvedic facials
- Shirodhara treatment
- Bridal packages lasting from seven to 14 days.
- Pre and post natal massage.
During lifestyle consultations, clients receive advice about health practices, diet and home remedies to look after their long – term external and internal wellbeing in a sustainable way. Clients appreciate this approach because they can see the emphasis is being placed on their total well being and are happy to return for follow – ups.
Among the many Ayurvedic spa programmes available, therapeutic Marma energy massage remains the most important. In this treatment, a therapist uses traditional Ayurvedic warm massage oils (totally different from essential oils or other massage oils). Along with specific hand strokes to stimulate the subtle energy flows of the body. While this massage makes the muscles more supple it also brings a glow and tone to skin tissues.
Ubtans, another treatment that has the stamp of all Ayurvedic concepts, uses body pastes that are vigorously rubbed into the skin in rhythmic clockwise motions. The paste is made from a concoction of therapeutic herbs, grains and lentils and is totally different from conventional applications used in modern – day spas. The paste nourishes the skin, tones, muscles and promotes metabolism – therefore helping to reduce deposits of fat.
No Ayurvedic beauty experience is complete without experinceing an Ayurvedic facial, where specific strokes with various fingers and pressure are applied to the skin bringing a long – lasting youthful and radiant glow by relieving the tension in face muscles. When combined with the truly profound Ayurvedic treatment known as Shirodhara, (where a fine stream of special medicated warm oil is poured on the third eye) it generates a total blissful state at both physical and mental levels.
Even though traditionally Shirodhara is an integral part of Ayurvedic treatments for major mental and emotional imbalances. It can also play a role in enhancing external beauty as long as the treatment protocol and procedures are followed correctly.
One must ensure that while giving Shirodhara treatment only medicated oil is used, the temperature of the oil is correct and the flow of the oil is kept consistent and rhythmic.
Some so – called ayurvedic spas use sesame oil for Shirodhara treatments, which can be harmful to clients who have deep mental and emotional imbalances because standard sesame oil is not strong enough to counter those imbalances.
In many modern spas Shirodhara posts are used with a tap and have no string inside them to control the rate of flow, which again can aggravate a client’s condition. This is because the whole purpose of the process is to balance vata in the nervous system but when oil is falling on the forehead with speed and force, it can aggravate vata instead of balancing it.
The same thing happens when the oil temperature is not kept constant and the oil used is either too cold or too hot. Again this can be counter – productive rather than giving any benefit.
There are just some of the reasons why Ayurvedic experts insist that therapists must be well – trained by qualified Ayurvedic doctors.
Udwartanam is a unique and sought after Ayurvedic treatment for treating cellulite and excess fat deposits in the body.
Ayurvedic pre and post natal care offers many benefits to pregnant women because it helps them to get their bodies back into balance, not only get them back into sharp but also revitalise and rejuvenate their bodily tissues.
No Ayurvedic spa can be complete without offering a yoga and meditation programme. Again there is a danger of such programmes becoming another ‘new age’ fad but when offered in their true and authentic versions they have a much more beneficial impact on people’s health and wellbeing.
Another key contribution the Ayurvedic approach to spas makes is the special ambience that is created by following Ayurvedic principle and philosophy. By using the services of an Ayurvedic spa consultant, spa owners can bring ancient knowledge of vastu shastra and vedic astrology and the presence of five elements to bear in their spa interiors and to structure the placement and selection of spa environment. The use of specific mantra chanting music can also create a deeply peaceful atmosphere for visitors who will find it hard to leave it for the hustle and bustle of the outside world.
Another important contribution that Ayurveda can bring to the spa environment is the healing power of hands. Therapists who are trained in traditional Ayurvedic knowledge provide all Ayurvedic beauty treatments such as facials, body wraps or paste using only the bare hands and no machinery is used during the therapy. This provides another element of the healing touch and contacting the energy.
Ayurveda also emphasises treatments that look after your hands and feet. there are specific age – old treatments for taking care of both, such as Pada – shubkari (a traditional pedicure) and Hasta – shubkari (manicure) and traditional head massage brings a fresh concept to the spa industry’s efforts to provide a rejuvenating, relaxing, refreshing and welcoming experience to its valued clients.
Finally, the most important component that Ayurveda brings to spas is the use of totally natural products. It is very importamt to note that all authentic Ayurvedic skin care products will have specific therapeutic herbs used as Ingrid nets rather than just simple essential oils or orange and lemon powders.
Authentic Ayurvedic skin care products use traditional preparation methods rather than machines and modern techniques and still meet the needs and demands of today’s customers.
I can share some of my knowledge of Ayurvedic products here by providing some brief examples. When rose petals are used for toners or astringent lotions they are always sun – dried and never treated with artificial heat. When specific mud treatments are made for body packs they are fortified with separate decoctions of various herbs, milk or honey and then sun – dried to get the end product. At the same time, while procuring Ayurvedic herbs for products their potency will be checked in labs to get the best results rather using commercially – made products.
So the time has come for the spa owners that are keen to bring an authentic holistic experience to their spas to incorporate Ayurvedic programmes. However, i will share one word of caution here: that if they wish to offer such treatments they must use the services of well – trained Ayurvedic therapists operating under the guidance of qualified Ayurvedic doctors who are well versed with the needs of the spa industry and not got lured by fly – by – night so – called Ayurvedic experts.
It is also very important to use only Ayurvedic beauty products that are based on traditional formulations are not influenced by the ‘new age’ concept of beauty.
Spa owners wanting to offer Ayurvedic treatments must be aware that their reputation and business needs to be protected. While the spa brings business to them it should also bring peace, harmony, blessings in their life and this will only come when we don’t just think of it as a business but as a service to mankind.