Is an Ayurveda holiday right for me?
What is Ayurveda? What does an Ayurveda cure involve? Is an Ayurveda holiday right for me? And is an Ayurveda cure healthy for anyone? We often get these questions put to us at Puurenkuur. Are you considering an Ayurveda holiday? We cover everything you need to know about an Ayurveda holiday, here.
What is Ayurveda?
Ayurveda means ‘Life Knowledge’. Ayurvedic medicine is thousands of years old. This medicine, thought to be the mother of all medicines, is all about restoring balance between the body, mind and soul. A traditional cure consists of an Ayurvedic diet with lots of fresh vegetables and fruit, occasional chicken or fish (link naar blog over ayurvedisch eten), morning yoga and evening meditation, massages, herbal baths and steam baths. An Ayurveda practitioner will tailor your cure to you personally based on your dosha type (link naar verschillende doshatypes blog).
What an Ayurveda cure does for you
On an Ayurveda wellness holiday, you can have it all: an indulgent holiday and health cure in one! You’ll get to enjoy delicious food all holiday and still lose weight. Other pleasant side effects: a clear mind, total relaxation and newfound energy. Ayrvedic philosophy also offers us greater insight into ourselves and the world around us.
Ayurveda is primarily a preventative medicine. An Ayurveda cure can rejuvenate your body and mind and can promote longevity. However, Ayurveda also achieves remarkable results for rheumatic conditions, sleep problems, chronic fatigue, stress, high blood pressure, migraines, psoriasis or depression.
What types of Ayurveda programs are there?
You can choose between a rasayana cure (wellness Ayurveda: for pure relaxation), an intensive panchakarma cure (purification of body and mind) or a medical Ayurveda cure (for the treatment of specific conditions or complaints). Medical Ayurveda cures require a longer stay. We also recommend repeat treatments and therapies.
What is a panchakarma?
If you choose for a panchakarma on your Ayurveda holiday, you’ll experience an intensive cleanse of the body. The Ayurveda panchakarma treatments boost the body’s immune system, reducing the likelihood of illness. The name panchakarma is Sanskrit; ‘Pancha’ meaning ‘five’ and ‘karma’ meaning ‘activity’. A panchakarma cleanses your body in five ways. The main aspects are oil massages, medicinal sweating and cleansing the colon and frontal sinuses (eyes and mucous membranes of the nose). These Ayurvedic treatments compliment one another completely, and lead to a deep and long-lasting bodily cleanse. The outcome is a body-mind balance that creates a sense of harmony and renewed energy.
Who is a panchakarma Ayurveda for?
Anyone! You can follow a panchakarma Ayurveda cure for therapeutic or medical reasons. Are you healthy and want to stay that way? Do a panchakarma cure for prevention. Optimal results from a panchakarma Ayurveda holiday are obtained on stays of two weeks or longer.
Scientists research panchakarma Ayurveda
New scientific research has shown that traditional panchakarma Ayurvedic therapy eliminates toxins present in the blood stream.
Scientific research conducted by Dr Waldschütz: ’Veränderungen physiologischer und psychischer Parameter durch eine ayurvedische Reinigingskur’, Erfahrungsheilkunde 4 (1999), S. 239 – 248), also confirmed that levels of cholesterol in the blood fall.
A typical cure day
A typical cure day usually begins with yoga and ends with meditation. Ayurvedic meals are mostly vegetarian (with chicken or fish once or twice a week). An Ayurveda cure isn’t only limited to massages and treatments, but also includes nutrition, herbs, health products, yoga, meditation, readings and other activities (each hotel’s weekly activity schedule can be viewed on the hotel page).
Ayurvedic baths and massages
In Ayurveda treatments, the therapists use a lot of warm oils with herbs that are rubbed pretty much all over the body. The herbs are absorbed into the skin through the oil.
A-Z of Ayurveda treatments:
- Abhyanga Shareera body massage
- Abhyanga Shareera head massage
- Face treatments
- Herbal baths
- Herbal steam baths
- Nasya Karama nose treatment
- Pinda Sweda Nawara Kizi massage
- Purification Therapy (Rakhtha Mokshana Karma)
- Shirodhara (oil on the ‘third eye’)
- Shiro Vasti
- Vamana Karma (emesis therapy)
- Vereka Karma (purification of the body)
- Vasti Karma (enema therapy)
Balancing the dosha types
Ayurveda recognises three types of life energy: Vata, Pitta and Kahpa, also termed ‘types’ or ‘doshas’. Every one of us is different and has a different balance of these three energies. In a healthy individual, all three energies are equally balanced. If one of the three is dominant, physical or mental issues will develop. An Ayurveda cure is thus designed to rebalance the three doshas. At the start of your cure, the Ayurvedic practitioner will establish which type you are using a questionnaire. He or she will then devise a treatment plan based on your dosha type and any issues. Every individual thus has their own unique treatment plan.
Which Dosha type are you: Vata, Pitta or Kahpa?
According to the Ayurvedic philosophy, from birth, we all have a unique balance of the three Dosha types. This balance is reflected in a person’s body shape, immune system, character traits and behaviour. Vata, for instance, represents impulsiveness. Vatas can be identified by a slight body shape, mobility and a restless mind among other things. Vatas are susceptible to experiencing anxiety and stress. Pitta represents firepower. Pittas often feel starving if they don’t eat on time. They live according to the clock and hate wasting time. They are also demanding, determined and critical. Kapha represents structure power. Kaphas think long and hard before they make a decision. They like to lie-in, are respectful, empathic and are emotional eaters.
A more comprehensive description and a list of questions to ask in order to determine your dominant dosha type can be found in our blog ‘Ayurveda Types: are you an impulsive Vata, fiery Pitta or a calm Kapha?’
Good to know
In Ayurveda, male therapists will treat makes, and female therapists females (the therapist will be massaging / treating you).
This is the case in India and Sri Lanka. In Europe, resorts may deviate from this because there is often just one Ayurvedic therapist. If, as a woman, your preference is to be treated by a female therapist, please make this clear.
Take books and magazines with you. In line with Ayurvedic philosophy, most authentic Ayurveda resorts in India and Sri Lanka do not have TVs or air-conditioning so that you can really relax.
If you have any other questions about Ayurveda, or want help finding the best Ayurveda destination for you, our wellness holiday specialists are here to help.
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