To say that my health over the last four years has been a bit shabby would be an understatement only equaled by my aging aunt saying that Saddam Hussein didn’t seem like a ‘terribly nice chap,’ or that Hitler bumped off a couple of people in his time, or that pomegranate seeds, carefully peeled and then washed in contaminated water resulting in a case of typhoid left one feeling a ‘bit off colour’. But you see, that’s where this all started. A case of typhoid, closely followed by dengue fever, closely followed by dengue related hepatitis plus a bit of stress thrown in for good measure, left me encumbered with M.E, a bloody awful condition which I wouldn’t wish on anyone. Throw into the same time frame appendicitis, a post appendicitis operation infection, shingles and calcification of the left boob and you can see why I wasn’t understating. Now, thanks to two amazing ladies and a complete change of diet, I have made a full recovery and I am back to an alarming degree of good health and energy levels. However, that being said, I decided that before embarking on my new job, I would ‘treat’ myself to two weeks in a spa for a full cleanse, detox, whatever you want to call it. It certainly wouldn’t do any harm and would only stand me in good stead to face the new challenged ahead. As I have moved back to India, it made sense that this be in an ayurvedic resort. What other treatment program is so strict, natural, guaranteed to deliver the desired effect and on my door step?
Now, I am no stranger to Ayurveda. You can’t be a specialist in holidays to India and not know about it, especially as I started out as a Kerala specialist, from where it hails. I have sampled massages up and down the country, purely for client research purposes of course. Despite not being a massage type of person, I have come to appreciate their qualities and no longer grip onto the solid teak massage table (built for oil, not comfort) for grim death, waiting for the two ladies to finish. Sorry chaps, before you start getting excited, ladies get two female therapists and men get male therapists.
In addition to the occasional massage, I have also previously embarked up on a couple of courses of treatment of 7 – 10 days in duration and I have come out positively glowing, and quite importantly, slimmer.
However, both times this was as a guinea pig for a friend who opened new (and excellent) ayurvedic resorts and both times, whilst I threw myself into the experience wholeheartedly, I never had to endure the full range of treatments than can be applied, depending on your purpose for going/illness. I am not sure if it was a case of me not actually needing the more, shall we say, ‘invasive’ treatments but I do often wonder if the owners had a word with the doctors along the lines of, ‘listen chaps, this lady is a tour operator who actually provides us with quite a good amount of business and we would like this to continue so would you refrain from pouring warm medicated oil up her rectum and nasal passages.’
At this point, I have visions of a Victoria Wood sketch, ‘I see, so you pour warm oil, lightly seasoned with organic herbs from the garden up the anal and the nasal passages? Aha, right, ok, so, do you mind me asking, what is your policy on recycling?’
They continue, ‘Oh, and whilst you are at it, please don’t go forcing her to drink a gelatinous mass of silage looking liquid, daily until just the thought of it has her dry retching in a corner.’ I say dry retching, as the amount of carefully thought out and weighed out organic vegan food is so quickly absorbed by your starving digestive system, that actual vomiting remains an impossibility. If they did intervene and saved me, then I have to say, perhaps not surprisingly, that I will remain forever grateful.
Ordinarily, knowing the owners aside, it is not possible to avoid a particular treatment because, those clever Keralites don’t determine which you will have until you have had a live, one to one consultation with the doctor, then and only then, is your specific treatment determined. By this time you are in situ, fully paid up and trapped.
And yet, for some unfathomable reason, this time around, I am going in blind, I have chosen a place where I don’t know the owners or managers and I will be completely at the mercy of whatever is determined for me. Given my list of prior ailments, it doesn’t bode well.
Yet ayurveda, this thousands of year old natural, medical system has not only survived, but is thriving. Not so much with ‘Britishers’, but the Dutch, Germans, Belgians, Danes, all embark on an annual migration during the summer months (the best time apparently) in their droves to undergo a two or even three week treatment. Why? Why? Well, I am about to find out, despite having the additional reminder last week from a dear friend and highly esteemed colleague who has just completed a 14 day course looking at me aghast and asking me,
‘Do you actually remember how horrible it is?’
I am not to be deterred. I know I will benefit from a detox and so a detox I will have. You see, sarcasm aside, having being around Ayurveda for so long, it is something I do believe is incredibly good for health, and as the Indian saying goes, ‘health is wealth.’ And given the last few years, I could do with a bit of that too. But I also have a couple of other reasons.
The first being a wine ring which needs to be gone. Now this isn’t a circular mark on a table that most of you will have pictured. No, this wine ring is one which over the last 12 months has gradually moved in around my midriff, and not only demanded squatter’s rights, but insisted on being fed with an alarming frequency. I’m not entirely sure tossing a couple of milk thistle tablets with religious regularity down my throat every evening was sufficient to combat the effects on my albeit recovered liver.
The second is the realisation that I need to embark upon meditation and yoga. This isn’t a want or a desire, by any stretch of the imagination, rather a recognised need and one which I am battling all the way to the dojo. (If I had to go to an ashram, it would be a battle already lost see http://memsahibinindia.wordpress.com/2014/11/13/from-runswick-bay-to-rishikesh-men-shouldnt-skip/
I am the type of person who would much rather be riding a particularly tricky horse, or rafting a series of rapids, than sitting still in a room, so meditation and yoga really? I spent 2 years staring vacantly at the wall when I had M.E, why would I volunteer to do that again? However, innumerable people have impressed upon me the benefits and so as they come as part of the ayurvedic passage, it seems like a good a time as any to get to grips with the basics at least.
Now, all of my friends who have gazed at me wistfully over the last couple of weeks when I have mentioned my plans to spend 10 days in an ayurvedic spa and said, ‘Oh, I wish I could do that.’ And a hundred other similar sentiments, I hope I have dispelled the myth that I am doing this for fun, enjoyment or relaxation before being once again chained to a desk in gainful employment. A pampering spa this is not, however, a bit of luxury I will admit to. The location will remain undisclosed as I undergo and blog about my experiences, but safe to say, it is overlooking the ocean, adjacent to the beach with what looks like wonderfully comfortable accommodation. I sense that I will need this aspect of it to keep my sanity.
And on that note, I will sign off. More later, once I have ‘deplaned,’ checked in and embarked upon the experience.