Relax and rejuvenate with ayurveda

Thakradara (pouring of medicated buttermilk on the forehead) at the Kerala Ayurveda Centre.
PHOTO: Relax and rejuvenate with ayurveda

When you are feeling stressed and want to relax, what do you do? I decided to head down to Little India to try something which has been around since ancient times - ayurvedic therapy.

Located opposite the Sri Srinavasa Perumal temple, Kerala Ayurveda Centre is a short walk from Farrer Park MRT station.

The cozy clinic is run by physicians Dr E.J. Joshi and his wife Dr Bindu Ancy Joshi. While Dr Joshi comes from a family of trained ayurvedic physicians, Dr Bindu has had over 16 years of experience practising with one of the top ayurvedic centres in Kerala run by the family of Thaikkattu Mooss.

It was my first time trying ayurvedic treatment and, naturally, I was unsure about the procedures or the kind of therapy I needed.

I was quickly put at ease by Dr Bindu, who patiently examined me while explaining the various types of treatments they had to offer. All their treatments are one-hour sessions, and consultation is free if you wish to go for the treatment. If not, the consultations are charged at $10 per 15 minutes.

After the consultation, she told me that what I needed to reduce the tension caused by stress were two treatments - Abhyangam ($50) and Thakradhara ($60).

Abhyangam is the application of medicated oil on the head and the body, followed by a gentle body massage. All massages are carried out by the therapists: Female patients are attended to by female therapists and male patients by male therapists. Dr Bindu explained that this was a strict policy they followed.

The therapy abhyangam was a full head and body massage with medicated oil. Beneficial for toning the body and enhancing your skin's texture, it also helps the body and mind to relax, thus soothing the eyes and promoting sound sleep.

The therapist applied heated medicated oil before massaging all the pressure points, It was then that I realised how stiff and tense I was. My muscles relaxed and I could feel the tension fade.

In our busy lives, an hour seems like a minute, but in the therapy room, I felt so relaxed that it felt like time had slowed down just for me and the massage seemed to last more than an hour.

It was followed by thakradhara, a treatment that involves the pouring of medicated buttermilk on the forehead and letting it dribble over the scalp. The buttermilk is prepared with special herbs and it is said to aid in calming a person, improving the quality of sleep and reducing hair fall.

While the medicated oil in abhyangam was warm, the buttermilk was cool and as hard as I tried, I couldn't stop myself from drifting to sleep.

Once the session was over, the therapist gently woke me. I felt really refreshed, as if I had a super power nap.

Although the treatment took two hours, the effects lasted for more than a week. My body felt lighter and I felt much more active than before. The treatment also helped with tension headaches and migraine attacks that I used to often suffer from.

This is one natural way to relax and rejuvenate.

Get a copy of tabla! for more stories.