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The Ayurveda Massage Experience!

Solo Travel

sunny 26 °C

The day had come to attend the hospital for the Ayurvedic massage. Ayurvedic medicine ('Ayurveda' for short) is one of the world's oldest holistic (whole-body) healing systems. It was developed more than 3,000 years ago in India. It's based on the belief that health and wellness depend on a delicate balance between mind, body and spirit. Looking forward to this spiritual experience, I grabbed a rickshaw and was soon on my way to the JSS hospital. We headed out through a more rural side of Mysore, animals were grazing and the Chamundi Hills surrounded us in the background.


So in I went and told the receptionist I had an appointment. Chaos ensued, no one was sure why I was there or who I had to see. After making a few frantic calls and repeatedly checking the diary, I offered Ganga's number since she made the appointment. Lots of young students were sitting around playing on their phones, looking relaxed, which didn't really fit with this very medical setting. In the meantime, the receptionist asked me to come behind the desk. There in full view, a doctor took my blood pressure and weight, whilst all the students looked up from their phones. I was then provided with a registration form that asked for details of either my father or husband. I was met with a confused look when I said I had neither. So they settled for my dead dad's details. A vague question that makes sense in the context of a patriarchal culture.

Two of the students then approached me and I followed them. I was taken to a room where a doctor in a white coat was sitting behind a desk. On asking me about my health, I tried to explain I was only here for a massage. He informed me in that case, I needed to visit the phlebotomist to take a blood test. The interns appeared back like magic and took me off to get tested for hepatitis. I was told this was necessary since there would be skin to skin contact. I felt a little relieved at this point since I had previously though hepatitis could only be contacted through blood. After a nail biting 30 minutes, I got the all clear.

I was then taken into a darkened room, with a huge pot bubbling away on a stove in the corner. Next to this was a large wooden box, with a hole on the top, that resembled an instrument of torture. Two therapists appeared and one handed me a pair of huge paper pants and said 'put these on only'. So I changed into the paper pants and emerged from the changing room quite embarrased. I had to quickly remind myself that they will be used to such sights. Albeit, probably not white ones.

Next I was led over to, what I can only compare to a snooker table, without the felt, but with the deep indents around the edges. Having been told to sit on the edge of the table, one of the therapists started to work on my head. I realised the bubbling pot contained the Ayurvedic oils, when I smelled the liquid being lavishly poured over my hair. She worked away on this area for a while before asking me to lie on my stomach. With a therapist at each side they worked in unison, splashing on oil whenever the notion took them. They also manouvered me into cross legged positions whilst lying on my side, which I presume is to work on the internal organs of the body. I began to feel a bit more relaxed, when they flipped me onto my back.

Then it started - the full body massage! Having had the 'full body' experience before, I never quite expected what happened next. Lets just say they didn't miss anything out. And there are two of them; so the therapists had one each. If that gives you any clue! At one point I opened my eyes, stunned. I was told 'close eye'. I had to try really hard not to let out a nervous laugh; so I thought of my dead dad. When they started pummeling away on my stomach, I reassured myself by thinking this was all for the benefit of my mind, body and spirit. I didn't tell them to stop. I didn't want to be that 'stroppy Westerner' who couldn't handle the full Ayurvedic experience. Surely, I would get the benefit. One of the therapists moved onto massage my face, this was divine. Then it was over, or so I thought. I was helped out of the snooker table, which was half filled with slippy oils.

She led me over to the insturment of torture and opened a door. This was the steam room. So in I went, my head was the only part of my body on display. I felt like I was in one of those magic shows, where they saw off your head or some sort of antiquated restraining devise like the 'stocks'. Meanwhile, the steam was belching out around my ears. After around 10 minutes she opened the door. Whilst getting back into my clothes, I considered keeping my paper pants as some sort of perverse souvenir. However, on dropping them in the bin, I reckoned no souvenir would be necessary to remember this experience. I left the room, rather dazed and soon met the young interns. They advised there was a canteen and since I had been there for around 3 hours, I decided to check out the lunch. However, since I was in a state of nirvana at this point, I ate but can't remember what. On leaving, I went over to the reception desk to pay 900 rupees (£9) for the experience. She assured that now I had my own appointment card, the next visit would be smooth.

Of course, the hospital doesn't only operate for massage, this would only be part of a treatment plan. I noticed there were wards and out-patient departments for rheumatism, cancer, dermatology and digestive complaints. By avoiding conventional medicine they believe harmonises more closely with the rhythms of nature and rebalancing our constitution through appropriate nutrition, herbs, exercise, relaxation and lifestyle choices. Together with Ayurvedic therapies, can help to restores health and counteract disease while improving vitality and happiness. Very interesting and I wondered how successful they were in curing diseases like cancer.

I headed out into the fresh air and took a seat whilst taking in the stunning scenery. Having never taken heroin, I could only imagine this could be the feeling taking the substance would leave you with. I felt high and so, so relaxed. I was told that I would be tired after the massage due to the release of toxins and not to plan anything for the rest of the day. I was urged to drink a lot of water to flush the toxins out. Eventually, I staggered down the hill and caught a rickshaw. I got dropped at the local shop and walked home armed with a huge bottle of water and some fresh fruit. The rest of the day was a wipeout!

Posted by katieshevlin62 01:54 Archived in India

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Interesting experience! Where did you hear about Ayerverdic therapies? :)

by hennaonthetrek

Thanka for reading it Henna. That was the first I heard of this kind of theraphy in India. Fancy giving it a try? lol

by katieshevlin62

I would propably fell a sleep in the "steam box" lol

by hennaonthetrek

Ha ha yes I was certainly exhausted by the time I was finished! You should go to India sometime if you havent' been. It's an amazing place! Have a good day. x

by katieshevlin62

India is definitely on my list ;) Good day to you too! x

by hennaonthetrek

A wonderful description Katie. It brightened up my day.

I've had mega-massages in Morocco, Jordan and Hungary but I've never dared venture into an Indian ayurvedic clinic - YET! I'll certainly brave it next time.

by Keep Smiling

Thanks Mikw! It was actually fun writing it! You might do a bit better being a man! What was the blog you attached for me about the bad weather in Scotland? I can't find your blog you sent the link.

by katieshevlin62

oops Mike!

by katieshevlin62

Your relaxing day made for a great read. I couldn't wait to get to the end to find out how it turned out.

by Bob Brink

Thanks Bob glad you enjoyed it!

by katieshevlin62

Katie, all good things come in twos - another reason why even I am anxious about full-body massages!

Check the other blog for reply about the link.

by Keep Smiling

Yeah I can't find the blog with the link! That's why I asked.

by katieshevlin62

Sounds incredible. You've definitely piqued my interest to try it now :)

by Peter

Thanks Petee, it definately was an experience I won't forget!

by katieshevlin62

Katie, the tales of changeable weather in Scotland's northernmost parts is at:

by Keep Smiling

Katie, your story is really exciting. What a great experience, but not for me, thanks. I would have preferred a hike...

by Vic_IV

haha, such a funny write. I know all about it. I also had one in Sri Lanka and had the same experience ... afterwards I felt better, but I was glad not to have known the girl who gave me the massage!

Nice to read you survived it without taking some drugs! :)

by Ils1976

Ha ha yes me too! So embarrasing! I've never been to Sri Lanka, would you recommend it?

by katieshevlin62

haha, sure does. I think you would like it. I Have never been to India, but the people are friendly, the food is delicious and there is a bit for everyones taste to see.

I would certainly recommend and I guess reading your blogs, you would like it too ... but you'll never know before you tried it ... so hope to read about that one day! :)

by Ils1976

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