Embrace the secrets of the world’s oldest holistic beauty system for total body radiance
If you want flawless skin and glossy hair without resorting to harsh synthetics, look no further than Ayurveda. This gentle practice originated on the Indian continent over 3,000 years ago and is still going strong today. It’s based on the belief that health and wellbeing depend on a delicate balance of the three doshas (energies) kapha, vata and pitta – or earth, air and fire. Beauty rituals play a large part in both daily routine (dincharya) and seasonal routine (ritucharya) in Ayurveda. Massage, yoga and spiritual practise is teamed with applications of nourishing fruits, seeds, herbs and oils. These range from gentle cleansing ubtans (pastes) of turmeric, sandalwood, saffron, cashews, yoghurt and rose water to deeply replenishing body treatments using natural oils of coconut, sweet almond and sesame and sunflower. So why not tap into some ancient energy and try one of these gorgeous traditional treats for yourself!
Best for relaxation
Sometimes referred to as ‘third eye’ therapy, this supremely soothing treatment involves gently pouring liquids over the forehead (the ‘third eye’) and through the hair and scalp. The name comes from the Sanskrit words shiras, meaning head, and dhara (flow).
The liquids used depend on your dosha type, but they can include oil, milk, buttermilk or coconut water. This deliciously comforting sensation takes the body and mind to a place of deep peace, renewal and effortless clarity.
Best for eye brightening
2. Akshi tarpana
A Sanskrit term simply meaning ‘eye nourishment’, this clever beauty booster uses a doughnut-shaped mould made out of black gram flour to create a natural eye bath. The therapist then fills the hole with warm triphala ghee to soothe the eyes, while reducing wrinkles, fine lines and dark shadows to restore brightness.
Best for body balancing
Another favoured spa treatment, this delicious indulgence often sees two therapists massaging herbal oils from head to toe, paying particular attention to the joints and marma energy points. It increases circulation and helps bring all the doshas into balance, while increasing skin suppleness. This therapy is often followed by a full body steam or herbal linen wrap.
Best for glossy hair
One of the most popular ayurvedic spa treatments, Indian head massage is a great way to keep your tresses in tip-top condition. Replenishing oils such as coconut, brahmi, bhringraj and triphala are massaged into your head, neck and shoulders to not only encourage healing and balance in your whole body, but fabulous hair too!
Best for radiant skin
Great for all skin types, this therapeutic facial includes a steam treatment and massage with herbal oils, followed by a custommade face mask with nourishing herbs, oils, plant extracts and ghee. It helps to tone facial muscles, combat wrinkles and fade pigmentation marks.
Best for detoxing
6. Potli kizhi
Perfect for purifying your body, this nourishing fix uses warm linen-wrapped pouches (called potli) filled with medicinal rice and other grains that are dipped in herbinfused milk or oil to boost skin tone and texture. Team it with a vigorous body scrub or steaming first and a rejuvenating herbal bath afterwards for the ultimate detox.
Best for tired feet
7. Kansa vataki
This soothing ritual uses a small bowl made from three different metals to massage marma points on the soles of your feet to rebalance the three doshas. It’s the perfect treat to refresh tired feet, boost circulation and improve pranic energy.
Best for body toning
Using a potent paste of herbs, grains and spices such as triphala, this invigorating body rub increases circulation and breaks down fat deposits. Udvartanam is the Sanskrit term meaning ‘to move upwards’, and the massage uses long strokes to boost lymphatic drainage. It’s a great treatment for cellulite and weight loss.
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