Have you ever noticed Ayurvedic massage on spa menus and wondered what on earth Ayurvedic means? Well so have we so we sent Spa Detective Kirby on a mission to find out!Although the benefits of a relaxing massage or invigorating facial are hard to dispute, sometimes true wellbeing just has to come from a deeper place. Enter Ayurveda: an ancient system of natural medicine that integrates various lifestyle factors to achieve optimal physical, mental and spiritual health.
Developed in India over 5000 years ago, the holistic approach is considered one of the oldest forms of natural medicine and is thought to have been the starting point of traditional Chinese natural medicine. While the name might not roll easily off the tongue, its translation to “the science of life” sums up the aim of the alternative process. Western practices of Ayurveda focus on changes to behaviour and lifestyle in order to achieve balance between all of the body’s elements.
Since its migration from India to the West, Ayurveda has become more of a complementary medicine as opposed to a spiritual system. Although the discipline typically requires five years of training in India, health workers as diverse as medical doctors to massage therapists to health counsellors are able to practice in Western society.
Ayurveda does not focus on disease and viruses, but instead evaluates an individual’s prakriti (their personal energetic make up) versus vikriti (any illness or imbalance among the body’s elements). Ayurveda attempts to prevent any imbalance by guiding individuals towards their best lifestyle choices and also prioritises health promotion. Diet, exercise and other treatments are selected by Ayurveda practitioners based on which elements of the body need to be regulated, although the approach changes when a person is unwell. However, the aim of treatment is still to foster harmony in all systems of the body and mind.
Although lifestyle changes are a focus in Ayurvedic practices, treatment also includes massage and relaxation therapies. The aim of these therapies is to promote energy, maintain health and expel toxins, as well as removing negative energies and emotions to also encourage optimal mental wellbeing.
The approach taken by Ayurveda towards overall wellbeing may be one many of us are not used to. But when it offers complete mental and physical wellness simply through behavioural changes, it’s surely worth a try. Perhaps wellness, like beauty, needs to truly come from within. There are many Australian day spas which offer Ayurvedic spa treatments such as massage so there's no excuse not to try it!