Spa me the Details Darling
by Dianne Sharma-Winter
Sri Lanka Spa Apsara
I have said it before and I will say it again, when times are tough or even when they are not, don't get mad, Get a Facial. But if someone is going to pour warm oil on my furrowed brow for forty-five minutes after massaging me senseless then obviously I am going to go for that.
I spend some time in Kerala last year learning the practical of Ayurvedic massage and treatment. Ayurveda is an ancient science and one of the most comprehensive systems of health that I know of.
Ayurveda is not just about curing illness but about longevity and preserving life. Wellness comes from within, not with some quick chemical fix or surgical incision. I remember watching a documentary last time I was home where the reporter went off to investigate the current rage for cosmetic surgery. Before her foray into the world of the chemical fix, she consulted a panel of 'beauty experts' who gave their opinion on her looks. She was to go off and have as many treatments as she thought she needed and return back to them for a final report.
The woman went crazy and had all sorts of painful things done to her face and returned to the panel poorer and sorer for their opinion.
One "expert" said that she approved of the work that had been done because the woman reporter had returned looking like she had just spent two weeks in a health spa.
Now why the silly tart didn't just go off to a health spa instead of getting herself sliced and peeled and gods knows what I don't know.
This is what she missed.
First you sit in a chair while warm oil is poured on your head. Your head is massaged until every thought you ever had melts into insignificance. Then you are placed gently on a table and your entire body is massaged with divinely scented oil.
Then your face is massaged with vanilla scented cream.
If you happen to have a hot flush while this process is taking place, the therapist will gently wipe your face with tissues and wait for the moment to pass.
Then you are lead to the steam bath.
Fragrant smells of ancient wood and herbal leaves penetrate your body as you go through a process of sudation, which is sweating away all toxins in your body. After that you get to lie in a cool room with some water and relax.
Then comes the most exquisite experience known to womankind. You are led into a quiet dark room. You lie on a table while the therapist begins to pour warm oil in a constant stream across your forehead.
Just when you think angels have led you to lala land, the Shirodhara is over and it's time for a shower.
After the shower, you will find a floral bath waiting for you. The water is blood temperature and jasmine flowers float on the surface, other fragrant leaves are suspended in the dark water. A candle hangs above the bath and once again you float off on a dream of being a queen.
Very gently you are led back into reality land with an herbal tea and a plate of fruit and an air-conditioned van drives you back to your guesthouse.
You sweep past everything and float to your room where you sleep like a flower and awake smelling like one as well.
I took only a one-day treatment but the centre and many other Ayurvedic centers offer one or two week programs.
Three days after the Shirodhara treatment, I am still sleeping like a baby at night and having moments of absolute peace during the madness of the days that followed.
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