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That healing feeling

india Updated: Jul 19, 2007 12:44 IST

There's something vaguely addictive about visiting a spa. The soothing ambience with burning essential oils, eucalyptus fragrance looming in the air and then the kneading of muscles and the aroma of oil on your skin. It's sheer ecstasy. And so addictive.. that I find myself returning to it again and again.

But no matter how much I fancy spas with their lemon scent and rose petal-strewn baths, it is the traditional Indian style vigorous massages that I feel are much more therapeutic than their chic counterpart. The Ayush Therapy Centres across the city happen to specialise in just this - ayurvedic treatments.

Kerala comes to the city

Set up by Hindustan Lever in collaboration with the Arya Vaidya Pharmacy, Coimbatore, the centres offer Kerala style treatments.

The treatments range from hair and skin treatments to stress relief, specialised treatments for aches and pains and weight man agement. Recently I visited their Chembur centre. Situ ated in a stand-alone bun galow with Kerala-style sloping roof, garden and verandah in the front, it is Kerala at its best.

A stickler for cleanliness, the first thing I noticed is the spotless interiors. The recep tion area is clean and so are the therapy rooms.

Initial step
I was ushered into the chamber of the doctor, who then did a quick prakruti test. It's a questionnaire that one needs to fill about "your sexual drive" to the "spice quotient in your food."

The test helps determine the category you fall in - kapha, vatta or pitta. The treatments are given in line with your doshas. The doctor prescribed abhyangam followed by a gold facial that uses kesar as the main ingredient.

The abhangam is a traditional massage done by a therapist. A fragrant ayurvedic oil with kapuradi tailam and dhanwantram tailam is poured on different parts of the body .

Deft strokes

The massage style is completely different from the Javanese or Balinese massages which are far more gentle. The masseuse here gave a vigorous massage using long, sweeping strokes. Complete bliss. I followed this up with 10 minutes in the steam cubi cle. This massage is said to improve appetite, induce good sleep, reduce stress levels and build the body's immunity. An hour long session of abhayangam costs Rs 800.

The good thing about the treatments at Ayush is that they do not use any artificial products.

Ditto for the facial, which is an improvised skin treatment that involves cleaning, scrubbing, steaming and application of a face pack like any other facial.

Natural way to go

However, here they use just herbal powders and pastes. The gold facial used ingredients like saffron milk, rose water, turmeric and Fuller's earth. The facial is priced at Rs 750.

The entire experience was absolutely worth the trip to wayout Chembur. Just one grouse. I felt it was a bit difficult to relax with the same instrumental version of ghazals and filmi songs being played over and over again to the point of irritation. A better choice of some soothing music may just go a long way .