In its most basic translation, it technically means ‘to give life’; from Ayur meaning ‘life’ and Veda meaning ‘to give’. Ayurveda is one of the lifelines of Kerala tourism, forming the basis for the most popular rejuvenating massage therapy that draws visitors by the thousands to God’s Own Country.
This ancient treatment aims at creating a balance of the three doshas: vata (wind/spirit/air), pitta (bile), and kapha (phlegm), through the magic of touch. (The word massage originates from the corresponding Greek equivalent of ‘masso’ which means touch). An ayurvedic massage is believed to treat all sorts of mental and physical ailments. Finding the perfect balance is not possible simply by touch; it involves a change in lifestyle, but this is definitely a starting point.
There is no dearth for ayurvedic treatment in India and Kerala has some of the best; getting an ayurvedic massage tops most lists of things to do in Kerala. Just keep these pointers in mind before indulging:
1. It’s not magic, one massage will not cure you of all your ailments. Different conditions require different treatments. The treatment needs to be continued for a certain amount of time to achieve maximum potential; this is ideally from a minimum of one week till about three weeks.
2. Incorporating an ayurvedic lifestyle during this time, with regard to diet, sleep and activity, makes more sense. The treatment would be rendered useless if you consume alcohol, smoke and anything else that messes with the flow of energy through the body.
3. There are literally hundreds of ayurvedic treatment centers scattered across the state. The tourism department has taken it upon itself to classify into Green Leaf and Olive Leaf centers based on quality standards and services offers. The Olive Leaf ranks higher.
4. Pick a reputed place, preferably if you’ve spoken to someone who’s already been there. A bad massage could actually end up hurting you seriously.
5. Make sure you mention your medical history in detail including all minor allergies and ailments as well. You never know what might get triggered.