Ayurvedic Massage

Ayurveda

Ayurveda is made up of two words: Ayu meaning life, Veda meaning knowledge or science. It is concerned with every aspect of life, focusing on the wholeness, balance and unity that exist
between body, mind, spirit and the surrounding universe.

Health care through the Ayurvedic approach is "holistic" in every sense of the word. It focuses on the inner health of the individual and the health of the society of which the individual is a functional part.

Good health is regarded as the normal condition and any Ayurvedic therapy whether through herbal potions, exercise, yoga, massage or even nutritional changes, aims at restoring this natural state of being. Indian Ayurvedic massage in all its different forms is but a small component of a complex system of health care for the individual.

According to Ayurvedic massage principles, the natuaral state is the result of total harmony between three fundamental life energies - PITTA, VATA and KAPHA . These are the DOSHAS.

All Ayurvedic massage therapies aim at adjusting and maintaining the balance between the doshas. The practitioner of this form of medicine regards prevention and maintenance as important as cure. Treatments include herbal medications which contain animal and mineral materials as well as plant derivatives.

Indian Massage

There are more kinds of massage to be found on the Indian subcontinent than anywhere else. Some are performed for therapeutic reasons while others are for pleasure. There are endless varieties of body work, some involving soft tissue massage while others are much more manipulative.

It is even possible to find a whole body massage performed only with the feet! Most Indian massage practise today has roots in the ancient Ayurvedic system of health care. Two quite contrasting forms of massage are described here - Indian Head Massage and Chivutti Thirmual.

Indian Head Massage

Many a tourist returns from a holiday in India enthusing over the blissful head massages tried out there. Fortunately, it is available in Western countries but not often widely.

Traditionally it is performed on the neck, scalp and face with aromatic oils. Many practitioners in the West extend its application to the shoulders which are such stores of tension. There is no need to undress and the massage is done with you comfortably seated in a chair.

Squeezing, rubbing, kneading and stroking are all used together with some firm tugging of handfuls of hair. The overall effect is deliciously refreshing and relaxing. A thirty minute massage can transform the way you feel.

Is it suitable for everyone?
Almost everybody can enjoy and benefit from Indian Head Massage. Only those with skin conditions affecting the scalp such as psoriasis and eczema need avoid it.

What does it do for you?
Most people say they feel wonderful after receiving it-what more can it offer? Remarkably it does offer more. Headaches, sinus problems and neck pains are all treated and "the icing on the cake' is strong, lustrous hair and facial skin that glows with good health.

Chavutti Thirumal Indian Massage

This Southern Indian massage could hardly be more different from head massage. It is performed with the feet only on the naked, oiled body of the subject who lies on a towel on the floor. A bar or rope is suspended overhead and the therapist holds this to control the amount of weight applied.

There is nothing rough or uncontrolled about this kind of massage. With wonderfully co-ordinated movements the therapist's feet are able to stroke, knead and squeeze the body. Even the hands, feet and face get massaged.

Since considerable pressure can and often is used, there may be some short-lived discomfort. This is most often felt when the backs of the legs and buttocks are treated. A full body massage can take up to one and half hours.

Is it suitable for everyone?
Not really! The very frail and those suffering from heart problems, seriously high blood pressure, epilepsy and cancer should avoid it. Some might find the absolute nakedness makes them feel too vulnerable to relax completely. For all others it is highly recommended.

What does it do for you?
It is the ideal therapy for destressing both body and mind. In this field it has few if any competitors. Back and shoulder pain, sciatica and headaches of all kinds respond well to Chavutti. Unfortunately there are very few practitioners outside of the Indian sub-continent.