I could tell you a great big lie about why I have massages when I’m travelling. I could say it’s for research, or I could say it so I can write a blog, but neither of them would be true.
Sure, I may write an article or blog about a massage – and I confess I have one everywhere I go – but nearly always the main reason is pure pleasure and relaxation. Of course, sometimes I have tight muscles or a sore back and massages are my go-to treatment for them too.
About 18 months ago, while staying at the Kannur Beach House in Kerala, I gave myself an early Christmas present – the day before Christmas – and had an Ayurvedic massage, here in what must be the Ayurvedic capital of the world (Kerala) – the first time I’ve had one.
So, what is Ayurveda? Firstly, the word is evidently Sanskrit and translates as the knowledge of life or life science. It’s a holistic way of living that combines meditation, yoga, diet, herbal remedies and massage. Its beliefs include: everything in the universe is made up of elements, including ear fire and water. It is the balance of these bodily energies, which governs our physical and emotional health. According to a book I read at the beach house. These were written in the ancient Hindu scriptures, The Vedas, which describes health as balance and illness, as an imbalance. Imbalance can be set right through eating foods based on body type, proper digestions, physical exercise and yoga or meditation.
Enough of my research, what about the massage?
I arrived by Auto (a 3-wheeled, Tuk-tuk type vehicle) and was first interviewed about my health history.
She started with a head massage, which was lovely, and finished with my face being massaged at the end. It felt luxurious having very warm oil poured over me. No oil on her hands but poured directly onto my body in copious amounts.
The massage included long dramatic, two-handed swirls and strokes from my foot to my fingertips. Smooth figure-eight movements travelled all over the front of my body and included long sweeps over my arms and torso. This certainly was a different sort of massage and not at all like a Thai massage or Swedish.
With great care,
I climbed off the oil-covered massage table – fearing I would slip right off. I thought that was the end of it, but no, I was then put in a steam box and wish I had a photo of the box with my head poking out. I found it very claustrophobic and quite scary and asked to be let out after about 5 minutes, which she did gracefully. A shower followed – with shampoo and body wash provided.
So, I’m not sure if the herb-infused oil used in the massage purified me, detoxed, cleansed or removed any toxins, but I can say it was a great massage and next time I’m back in Kerala I will return for another!
However, like all massage therapists each one differs: that first one was magic, it felt authentic, but then I had another one further south, which seemed more tourist orientated, and more like a regular massage> I’m pleased I was able to ask a local where to go, who they could recommend, when I was at the Kunnar Beach House 😊