On Global Wellness Day, we explore some uniquely homegrown spa treatments and tell you where in India you can find them.
Having a spa day may not be a possibility right away. But we can start dreaming of the time when the world of wellness will open up to us. And, instead of your usual Aromatherapy, Thai or Swedish massage, or a typical session of Shirodhara (the technique that involves having someone pour liquid — usually oil, milk, buttermilk, or water — onto your forehead to rebalance the body’s life forces or doshas), why not explore something different? Here are a few to get you started on a new wellness journey.
Experience these bundles of joy
Potli massage, also known as kizhi massage or choornaswedana, is a unique Ayurvedic massage carried out using cloth poultices filled with herbal leaves or powders and dipped into hot, medicated oils.
What to expect: It is not only extremely relaxing, but it also gives almost instant relief to anyone suffering body pain, stiff joints, backaches, etc. It is said to be highly effective in enhancing healing musculoskeletal conditions such as arthritis, spinal problems, spondylitis, and sports injuries.
Try it at: The Viveda Wellness Village in Nashik, Maharashtra, a wellness destination where wellness and serenity occupy centre-stage. Not only does the spacious and well-appointed spa have separate his & hers floors, but everything – from the restaurant to the meditation dome to the outdoor acupressure path – is created with your wellbeing in mind.
Join the spice club
Are you in a kitchen or a spa? The ancient connection between aromatic spices and wellbeing is explored in this unique tradition-meets-New Age therapy aptly called Masala.
What to expect: This treatment uses a scrub made from a blend of traditional Indian spices that help relieve sore muscles while improving blood circulation. The enriching experience of energising aromas and rejuvenating massage by a trained therapist leaves you with a renewed sense of self.
Try it at: The Jiva Spa at the Taj. The IHCL group that owns the Taj hotels chain has more than 50 Jiva Spas across India. We especially recommend the Jiva Grande, 165,000 sq feet of sheer bliss, at the truly spectacular Taj Bekal Resort and Spa in Kerala, whose architecture has been inspired by the graceful boats of the backwaters called kettuvelloms.
Regain that sparkle
If you want to be treated like royalty, then nothing can be closer to the experience than a truly indulgent gemstone massage that promises to rejuvenate you.
What to expect: A luxurious lymphatic drainage massage that incorporates precious stones along with natural aromatic Indian blends. This treatment revitalises the mind and eliminates tension.
Try it at: Kaya Kalp –The Royal Spa at the ITC Mughal Resort & Spa in Agra. One of the largest spas in Asia at 99,000 sq feet, it features a luxe hammam. The stunning hotel with marble floors, and décor that is almost as elegant and romantic as the Taj Mahal itself, has won several awards for its architecture and design.
Get bowl-ed over
Traditional Himalayan singing bowls are an integral part of our spiritual practices now. This massage technique harnesses their energies in a beautiful and harmonious way.
What to expect: This revitalising therapy begins with long, stimulating massage strokes delivered to activate energy centres. Next, a Himalayan singing bowl is used to create sonic vibrations that ripple through the body, relieving fatigue and calming the senses. The experience draws you into a deeply meditative, relaxed state.
Try it at: The spa at the opulent Oberoi Udaivilas in Udaipur, Rajasthan. Built to resemble a maharaja’s palace on the banks of the picturesque Lake Pichola, the hotel and the spa inside are as regal as they come, with majestic sandstone architecture, marble embellishments and calming pools of azure.
Experience the truly desi detox
Unlike all the others above, Panchakarma is not just one therapy, but an entire holistic system of Ayurvedic wellness treatments. It takes several days rather than hours and its benefits are more far-reaching too.
What to expect: A highly individualised set of treatments that are prescribed, monitored, and changed daily depending on your body’s specific receptiveness and tolerance. Panchakarma includes five natural methods of elimination, intensively detoxifying the body, while balancing the three doshas: Vata, Pitta, and Kapha.
Besides therapies such as oil enemas and nasal purification, as well as a specialised diet, you’ll undergo Shirodhara, Kativasti (for the spine), Januvasti (for the knees), choornaswedana (or the potli/poultice massage mentioned above) as well as Yoga, herbal and steam baths to complement the purification processes of the body.
Try it at: Atmantan Wellness Centre, a gorgeous 42-acre eco-friendly property with a gold LEED certification, in Mulshi, Maharashtra. It is said to be located over a stash of crystals, making it especially effective for natural healing.