Choosing an Ayurvedic Spa Treatment

by Nicole Dorsey Straff

This ancient Indian healing system examines imbalances in the body that cause disease. By focusing on each individual’s unique constitution, called a dosha, Ayurvedic medicine helps you (ideally)  find harmony of body, mind and spirit and to forge a deep connection with nature’s cycles.

Ayurveda also stresses self-healing through lifestyle changes like meditation, diet alterations, massage and a regular yoga practice (see Photo Right).

When I travel, especially longer distances, I try to always book an Ayurvedic appointment when I land.

“Ayurveda doesn’t just look at a symptom, but peels the layers like an onion to reach the core of what makes each of us a vital human being. Everyone has a different balance and everyone is unique,” says Nina Molin, M.D., at Canyon Ranch in Lenox, Mass.

The three forces referred to as “doshas” are Vata (ether and air), Pitta (fire and water) and Kapha (water and earth). The first step on the way to health is to identify and treat imbalances. Dr. Molin recommended to me a comprehensive Ayurvedic consultation, which identifies your constitution and recommends daily practices, diet, exercise and herbal therapies for restoring and maintaining your overall health.

“It’s not a one-size-fits-all system,” she said, “but a complex system that explores root imbalances and takes many things into consideration to achieve optimum health.”

Below is my favorite Ayurvedic healing treatment — what is yours?

Shirodhara:  A classic Ayurvedic herbal hair and scalp treatment designed to induce a state of meditation. The therapist directs a warm, gentle stream of oil onto the forehead, restoring calm to the mind while soothing the senses. The oil nourishes the hair and scalp. This treatment incorporates a brief massage to face, hands and feet.

Do you know your Dosha, spa baby? I’m a Pitta dominant with some Vata thrown in for good measure!

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