Treatment of the week: Leave stress at the door with a soothing Ayurvedic massage
- Ayurveda Pura is award-winning day spa in North Greenwich, London
- Dr Deepa Apte offers Ayurvedic treatments including massage
I owe Dr Deepa Apte, the gentle, softly-spoken medic-turned-Ayurvedic masseuse who slathered my whole body in fragrant sesame oil for an hour, a sincere apology.
Some two-thirds of the way into my decadent session on her massage table, my consciousness suddenly plummeted into the most delicious state of sleep, prompting my leg (as body-parts are want to do when slipping out of wakefulness) to involuntarily spasm… kicking the good doctor in the face.
It is testament to the power of her soothing hands and flawless technique that I managed so completely to leave life’s stresses at the door of her North Greenwich day spa and drift off.
The award-winning Ayurveda Pura practices the ancient Indian holistic medical system of Ayurveda – a 5000-year-old system of beliefs meaning ‘science of life’ and based on achieving physical and mental harmony with nature
But it also left me considering one of her full-body treatments ill-advised if your day’s to-do list is as long as the Jubilee line: I left her spa deliriously calm, sublimely happy and went home to take a nice long nap.
The award-winning Ayurveda Pura practices the ancient Indian holistic medical system of Ayurveda – a 5000-year-old system of beliefs meaning ‘science of life’ and based on achieving physical and mental harmony with nature.
As a complete way of life, Ayurveda comprises diet, Yoga, massage, detoxification, herbal remedies, meditation and daily lifestyle, all aimed at improving a person’s health, wellbeing, behaviour and state of mind.
In other words: massages are essential. This is my kind of belief system.
As Dr Deepa explained to me in her softly-scented room, Ayurveda sees everything in the universe – including humans – as composed of five basic elements: space, air, fire, water and earth.
Ayurveda views illness as an imbalance of elements within a person¿s constitution. Its practice aims to restore balance and reinstate health
These combine as air and space (Vatta), fire and water (Pitta), water and earth (Kapha). And while every individual has within them all three forces, it is the concentration of each that makes up a person’s individual constitution, or Prakriti.
Ayurveda views illness as an imbalance of elements within a person’s constitution. Its practice aims to restore balance and reinstate health. And massage can do this.
So, after holding my wrist and determining my body type (Vatta-Pita: ambitious, hard-working, hungry, medium build, often with a gap in teeth – all pretty accurate), Dr Deepa lay me on her soft table.
Unlike a deep tissue massage, a Swedish massage or a sports massage, an Ayurvedic massage is a gentler, smoother, more sensory experience.
Instead of pumelling knots, cracking joints and bending elbows the way they aren’t meant to bend, Dr Deepa slathered my whole body in comestible, herb-infused oils (in Ayurveda nothing is put on your skin that cannot be put in your mouth) and swept her palms over me, her hands never leaving my skin.
Her touch – coupled with the soft, plinky-plunky music, the warm, dark room and the soft bed – sent me drifting off into sleep. Hence all the kicking.
When the hour was up, Dr Deepa gently woke me, allowed me to wash off the oil (she’d used enough to deep fry a human whole) and poured me a fresh herbal tea while I showered, both to rehydrate and to extend the glorious sense of calm and contentedness for a while longer.
As I floated back out into Greenwich the world seemed somehow muted, less frantic and not quite so urgent. To-do list? What to-do list?
Unlike a deep tissue massage, a Swedish massage or a sports massage, an Ayurvedic massage is a gentler, smoother, more sensory experience
Ayurveda Pura Health Spa & Beauty Centre, London, SE10 0BA, www.ayurvedapura.com 020 8312 8383