Why Choose A Wellness Retreat?
What is Ayurveda?
Where standard medical practices treat symptoms with pharmaceutical medications, Ayurvedic doctors create specific herbal blends and recommend healing therapies, such as Reiki or Pranamantra, to relieve any issues and bring the body back into the natural balance. This is an oversimplified explanation, but it covers the jist of Ayurvedic medicine.
Consulting an Ayurvedic Doctor
My doctor was Dr. Ajitha and she was very knowledgeable. I will admit that I was skeptical at first-how much can she really assess from a pulse? However, I was amazed when she told me literally all the concerns I'm feeling-from stress to insomnia and other specific issues, she nailed it. Dr. Ajitha told me my body constitution-each one of us is a blend of the 3 doshas. We discussed why I was here and what I wanted out of the experience (too bad you need to stay a minimum of 14 days to get the benefit of their weight loss program-I'm here for just 4 more days) and then she told me she would put together a program which consisted of the appropriate diet and healing therapies so I could get a feel for the available treatments. The best advice she gave me was to "Eat breakfast like a King, eat dinner like a beggar!" Essentially, you should eat lighter as the day progresses, try and walk after dinner to aid digestion, which ultimately will result in better sleep. This is pretty much the opposite of my current lifestyle-I rush through the day, barely having time to eat properly or wanting "to be good" (protein shakes for lunch anyone?), then eat a substantial meal at night because I haven't eaten much all day. She also recommended a vegetarian diet because it's easier for your organs to process and digest and this type of diet works well with the herbal concoctions she was going to prescribe for me. She did let me know that if I was "craving meat", she would allow grilled fish.
Still wanting to be reassured that this was a legitimate method of treatment (did I say I was skeptical?), I casually asked what training an Ayurvedic doctor undergoes, are there board exams that need to be passed, what sort of degree would one have if she completed such training? I was trying not to be offensive but rather just reassure myself that I could trust what she was recommending and that it came from the appropriate background and knowledge and not some self-taught information or online course!
It turns out Ayurvedic doctors follow the same training as "medical" doctors. They go through 5.5 years initially learning about all the systems in the body, then they do another 3 years of post-graduate training reinforcing the basic principles, and finally they can specialize in an area of interest. They hold a B.A/M.S. degree - Bachelor of Ayurvedic Medicine and Surgery. Dr. Ajitha had done her specialization in ear, nose, and throat (ENT).
Developing A Treatment Plan
I came back for the Pranamantra healing therapy with Dr. Rahul a few hours later. I honestly had no idea what to expect, what was involved, or what the benefits would be. Call it blind faith, but I surrendered to whatever Dr. Rahul was suggesting. This healing treatment is a stress reducer. You lay down, face up and fully clothed, on a massage table. The doctor says some mantras while gently touching your marma points to bring divine energy into your body. Marma points are secret or sacred junctions between your physical and divine energy. By using small circular movements to stimulate the marma points, divine energy is brought into your body and both physical and spiritual healing can begin.
Okay, so I was skeptical and very tense during this treatment. I wasn't expecting much, but let me tell you this was the most RELAXING thing I have ever done. In one short hour, my body was completely at ease. I think I actually fell asleep, except that my mind was awake. During the session, Dr. Rahul would say various mantras--I only understood the ones in English. They were positive affirmations about how the universe loved me, how I was getting divine energy into my body, how I should relax in the lap of Mother Earth and let this divine energy hold me. I probably felt better as far as tension in my body and stress release than I have after the best massage treatment back home. Again, this wasn't a massage. Dr. Rahul merely was touching the marma points in my scalp and on my neck--unbelievable!
One Last Meal
When I called for room service, the restaurant knew what diet I was prescribed. Of course, I was thinking more about the wonderful dishes in the menu I was perusing, not realizing these are not part of the diet.
When I started to order, I heard a brief silence..."Madam, are you not doing your Wellness menu?" Ummm, Ok. So here's the deal. I haven't had lunch and I'm sort of famished. The Wellness menu scares me because it sounds scant and I really think I need ONE LAST GOOD MEAL before I dive right into this. Of course, the staff will provide whatever you request, so it was not an issue. I'll just start fresh tomorrow. Really. I will.