My first ayurvedic treatment

PHOTO: My first ayurvedic treatment

It had been a tough week at work and I was very much delighted when I was told to try out a massage treatment at Kerala Ayurveda Centre.

It was my first ayurvedic treatment and I knew the apprehension was stark on my face when I entered the centre located at 444 Serangoon Road, just across the road from Perumal Temple.

Dr Joshi and his wife Dr Bindu - the physicians - put me at ease immediately and assessed my current medical condition.

When they heard that I was just recovering from a bout of flu and had not been sleeping well, they recommended their star treatment - the Abhyangam, a full body herbal oil massage.

I was immediately sold.

I was led to a treatment room that contained a sturdy wooden massage table - no cushy bed with holes for faces to fit into here - that did not look too comfortable at first glance.

By the time the therapist explained that the wooden bed plays a major part as no oil is absorbed into the wood, the aroma of the herbal oils and incense was already making me feel relaxed.

The treatment started with a head massage.

After applying herbal powder onto my scalp, the therapist kneaded it till I felt every bit of tension in my body slip away.

Unlike other massages where some therapists insist on unleashing their fingernails upon your scalp, this was gentle yet hit the right spots.

After about 15 minutes of this pure bliss, I was told to lie down on the massage table as she applied warm herbal oils to my arms and legs and worked on those tight muscles.

With the soothing sitar music playing overhead and the dim lighting, I began to relax.

At one point even her hand movements were synchronised with the rhythm of the music; it was like a form of dance to ease the tension in my body.

It was after that precise moment that I felt the weight of my eyelids... I didn't wake up until I heard my therapist whispering: "Ma'am."

Still very drowsy, I sat up as she applied a very warm pouch filled with medicinal herbs on my arms, legs and back - a treatment called Podi Kozhi.

The warmth from the pouch woke me up immediately and I felt refreshed.

The massage lasted about 1 1/2 hours and as I stepped out into the street and was greeted by the evening prayers at Perumal Temple, I couldn't help but smile.

I felt good and while the treatment didn't erase all effects of the flu - I probably need more consistent treatments for that - I did sleep well that night.