Tripin 2017 - 2018 - page 73

In Sri Lanka
While natural beauty and well-being treatments have
become popular in recent years, one could say the
trend began in Sri Lanka and India thousands of years
ago, through the practice of Ayurveda and yoga. These
practices are interrelated systems of healing which
follow a similar philosophy of mind-body connection.
They are complimentary when used together, and
work effectively with our emotions, physical health
and spiritual well-being.
I was lucky enough to experience several Ayurvedic
treatments for the first time on a recent trip to Sri
Lanka. I travelled throughout the country, visiting a
wide variety of places, with lots of activity, so rest and
rejuvenation was greatly needed!
Ayurveda, known as “the science of life” (Ayur = life,
Veda = science or knowledge), is an ancient form of
medicine which originated in India thousands of years
ago and is widely practised and deeply embedded in
Sri Lankan culture.
The history of Ayurveda in Sri Lanka dates back to
prehistoric times. The practice flourished throughout
to the late part of the 16th century, but faced setbacks
due to foreign invasions. After that, Ayurveda
developed independent of foreign influences, and
continues to be practiced as a traditional process,
but is now growing in popularity among natives and
tourists alike.
Ayurveda holds the core belief that all things in
the universe, both living and nonliving, are joined
together. The practice therefore aims to integrate and
balance the body, mind and spirit, which ultimately
leads to happiness and contentment, and helps to
prevent illness.
Within Ayurveda, an individual’s general health is
referred to as a “constitution” or “prakriti”. Three
qualities called doshas form important characteristics
of the constitution, and control the activities of the
body. The doshas are called by their original Sanskrit
names: vata, pitta, and kapha. Each dosha is associated
with a certain body type, a certain personality type,
and a greater chance of certain types of health
problems. An imbalance in a dosha will produce
symptoms that are related to that dosha and are
different from symptoms of an imbalance in another
dosha. Overall, the focus is on a holistic balance of the
body, mind and spirit.
Already having an interest in beauty and wellness
treatments, and more familiar with western practices
up to that point, I was very intrigued to experience
authentic Ayurvedic treatments. When selecting
a treatment, the one that stood out most to me was
called Shirodhara.
Uncomparable to any Western counterpart,
Shirodhara is a unique body therapy which has a
significant impact on the nervous system. It can
help to relieve symptoms of anxiety, stress, fatigue,
and tension, as well as depression. It can regulate
one’s mood and encourage feelings of pleasure and
The process involves lying on your back while
warm oil is poured in a continuous stream over
your forehead, an area where nerves are highly
concentrated. The gentle pressure of the oil onto the
forehead allows the nervous system to experience a
deep state of rest, similar to meditation.
The sensation itself is a little odd at first, but the
steady flow of oil over the forehead becomes pleasing
and comforting, and you soon find yourself in a deep
state of calm. This lasts for about ten minutes or so.
You can then leave the oil to absorb into your hair and
wash out a few hours later or the next day (perhaps
wear a towel to protect pillows), which will leave hair
conditioned and silky smooth. Overall I found the
experience very relaxing and different to any other
kind of treatment I have previously used.
I also experienced an Ayurvedic deep massage, which
eased weary muscles after a trip to Adam’s Peak the
day before! While slightly uncomfortable at times, the
intense massage used potent and luxurious essential
oils such as jasmine and lemongrass, and untangled
my twisted and tired limbs.
Finally, one other extremely relaxing and luxurious
treatment to experience is a facial from one of
Sri Lanka’s beautiful spas, which performs many
treatments in the Ayruvedic tradition, some of which
were said to have been performed in the grand palaces
of ancient Ceylon. Here you can truly stimulate all
senses with relaxing oils while enjoying multi-step
treatments including a unique facial massage known
for its relaxing and anti-aging qualities. Afterward,
you can also pick up products from these spas to
recreate your own Ayruvedic experience at home
with high-quality oils, massage balms and much more.
The images you see here are all from our
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