Ayurveda and Spa Sri Lanka
Sri Lankan Ayurveda has been practiced for more than a thousand years. Ayurveda focuses on two main aspects – the removal of the causes of an illness and the active promotion of one’s good health and well being..!
Ayurveda is a comprehensive and scientific system of medicine based on natural products, promoting a healthy & long life, and can complement modern medicine. Ayurveda has two main aims – to treat the root cause of the disease and manage the disease where it has already occurred, and to prevent disease through purification and strengthening of the immune system. Ayurveda treats the body, mind and spirit of a person as a whole entity, and works on the basis that the mind and body affect each other, and together can overcome disease.
History of Ayurveda
Sri Lanka’s written history begins with the story of the arrival of King Vijaya around 537 BC. The stories connected to his settlements have continued as history and legend for over 2500 years. However during the prehistoric era, Sri Lanka had a well-developed civilization in comparison to other countries in the world. Agriculture, architecture, irrigation, and the medical system were well developed at that time. In addition it is believed that they had means/ facilities of traveling through air. These vehicles were called Dandu Monara Yantraya. During this period the Emperor Maha Bali, Tharaka and Rawana ruled Sri Lanka. They ruled some parts of India as well.
When King Vijaya came to Sri Lanka (547 BC) with his people, he is said to have brought along some Ayurveda medicine as well. It was however, during the period of King Devanampiyatissa (247 BC) that Buddhism was brought to Sri Lanka and with it, Ayurveda.
King Devanampiyatissa established a hospital for the Buddhist monks at Mihintale. That was the 1st hospital in Sri Lanka and it is one of the oldest hospitals to date, in the world. Even today the ruins of this hospital can be seen. The 1st book on Ayurveda in Sri Lanka is the Sarartha Sangrahaya, which was composed by King Buddhadasa (362 – 409 AD). It contains a detailed account of the preparation of drugs, diagnosis, treatment of diseases, and Ayurveda surgery. King Buddhadasa was a famed Ayurveda physician and surgeon. Later Buddhist monks practiced Ayurveda and wrote several books and promoted Ayurveda in Sri Lanka.
Master of Ayurveda
Pulasthi Rishi, the son of the Emperor Tharaka and father of the Emperor Rawana lived about 4400 years ago in Sri Lanka. He is known to have been a skilled physician. Historical Indian Ayurveda texts mention that Pulasthi Rishi participated in the 1st conference of Rishis (seekers of knowledge) held in the Himalaya Kingdom (India) and that he was from Sri Lanka. Son of Pulasthi Rishi, the Emperor Rawana ruled Sri Lanka around 4394 years ago. He was also a physician and is said to have written 3 Ayurveda medical books. They are named as Arka prakashaya, Kumaratantraya, Nadi prakashaya. He was also the inventor of the distillation process.
Ayurveda in Sri Lanka
“The thorough knowledge and practice of a way of life which leads to the establishment of prime health, physically, mentally and spiritually”.
Sri Lankan Ayurveda has been practiced on the island for over a thousand years, with Ayurveda still being the predominant medical system on the island nation today. Sri Lanka has also become a popular destination for foreign guests seeking Ayurveda during the last 15-20 years. Many are attracted by the holistic perspective of Ayurveda – the very broad approach to health, incorporating physical, mental and spiritual aspects. Many also are appreciative of a medical system which does not rely so heavily on medications, turning instead to changes to one’s diet and lifestyle to effect better health.
The warm tropical climate found along the southern coast of Sri Lanka is an added advantage. This warmth assists in opening the skin’s pores, intensifying the deep cleansing and the disposal of toxins from the body. Psychologically the calming effect of a stay near a tropical beach also aids in the overall effectiveness of Ayurveda. It provides the ideal setting to take time out, to recharge and assess one’s priorities in life.
Basic Principles of Ayurveda Treatments
Panchakarma – Purification Therapy
Panchakarma is the main purification process in Ayurveda. Panchakarma is the common word used for all three stages of the purification process and could include the preparation of the body for the main purification (Purvakarma), the Panchakarma or the five methods of purification, and the post purification or the rejuvenation treatment (Paschath karma) Over the years your body collects toxins from food, pollution, smoking, alcohol, and drugs etc. Pauchakarma therapies remove these toxins from the body through a series of herbal decoctions (taken orally) oil applications, and heat treatments.
Synchronized Oleation (Oil application) – Abhyanga
After a head and face massage, two therapists will apply oil on your entire body using a special medicated oil The oil application to suit your individual body type. Massage promotes relaxation, tones the body and promotes circulation. Oils increase strength, relieve fatigue and help cure diseases.
Herbal Bath – Drasvasveda
Herbal leaves and roots are boiled and the water is poured onto your body while you sit in a warm herbal bath. Herbs used in preparing the bathwater have healing properties.
Herbal Steam Bath – Ushmasveda
You rest in an enclosed wooden casket in which steam from boiled herbs and roots vaporize. The herbs and steam help relieve various ailments including being overweight and joint pain.
Herbal Steam Inhalation – Vaaspasveda
Herbal steam is inhaled to cure colds and coughs and clear sinus problems.
Formentation – Pinda Sweda/ Nawarakizi
This special heat treatment is done by applying small steam-heated bundles of herbs tied in cotton bags and pressed gently on aching parts of the body.
Head Oil Bath – Shirodhara
A steady flow of warm medicated oils is poured onto the forehead and applied into the scalp and neck. This treatment helps diseases of the head and neck. It also eases chronic headaches, migraine, insomnia, mental stress and many other diseases.
Head Oil Bath – Shirovasti
Warm medicated herbal oil is poured into a cap fitted onto the head so that the oil is kept on the head for a longer period. It eases facial paralysis, insomnia, chronic headache, migraine, and mental stress.
Herbal Pastes – Lepa /Alepa
Powdered herbs are made into a paste and used on the body to relieve muscle pains, swellings, skin conditions, etc.
Oil Bath – Phisichill/ Sarvangadara
Heated medicated oil is collected in a cloth or natural sponge and squeezed onto your body. The oil is then gently rubbed onto your body by the therapist. It is very effective for paralysis, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, sciatica, spandilosis and osteo-arthritis.
Nasal Treatment – Nasya
Herbal juices, medicinal oils and powdered herbs are put into your nose either in nose drops or inhaled vie the nose.
Special Medicated Oils Pads – Pichu
These soft pads are used to cover the areas of the body affected by pains, aches, arthritis, etc.
Milk Rice Treatment – Pindasveda
A special recipe of cooked rice is stuffed in small cotton cases and pressed on problem areas of the body.
Herbal pastes and steams are used to cleanse the skin and smooth wrinkles.
Medicated Enema Treatment – Vasti Karma
Liquids such as medicated oils, milk, and herbal water are administered through the rectum.
Purgative Therapy – Virechana
Oral medicines are administered to induce purgation.
Blood-Water Therapy – Raktha Mokshana Karma
Impure blood is drained out using an ancient method whereby water leeches are applied to affected part of the affected part of the body.
Eye Treatment – Akshitarpana
The eye is bathed in medicated oils by creating a small tank around the eye using special pastes. It improves eyesight and strengthens the ocular muscles.
Application of needles onto the body’s meridian or vitality points to cure specific ailments.
Herbal medicines are prepared according to individual prescriptions. A large number of natural ingredients (bark, root seed, flowers etc) are boiled in earthenware pots over a long period of time. The water is reduced to about one cup and the medicine is consumed each morning and evening, the flavors can seem quite strong and pungent.
Ayurveda and Yoga Meditation
According to Ayurveda, traditional medical system, each one of us has an inborn constitution, that shapes our bodies, minds, and predilections. Most yoga teachers know at least a little about Ayurveda and have some notion of the basic constitutional types Dhosha of kapha, piththa, and vaatha.
As we get older our bones get stiff and our muscles get slack. The skin loosens its bloom and wrinkles begin to appear, and we slow down in our activities. Instead of using more cosmetics and pills to tighten the ravages of an over-rich diet, shallow breathing and little or no exercise if we invest a little time on a yoga regime with a wholesome diet, the results will be amazing.
A system of exercises called “asanas”or postures keeps the body fit by speedily removing its toxins, massaging and toning the internal organs and activating the endocrine system.
The endocrine system is made up of a number of ductless glands such as the pituitary, pineral thyroid + Para-thyroid, thymus, adrenals, pancreas adrenals+sex-glands. These glands release the secretions directly into the blood system, which has a profound effect on youthfulness.
Yoga should be made a part of your every day life. If you can set aside as little as 30 minutes each day to practice your favorite Asanas it will be sufficient provided you attend a weekly class which devotes an hour to a serious session of asana. You will be well on your way to achieving your birthright, which is radiant good health.
This reflects the Ayurveda belief that people of different constitutions, left to their own devices, often make lifestyle decisions and choose yoga practices, that tend to put them further out of balance. Ayurveda also holds that people of different constitutions are prone to diseases that reflect the ways the dhoshas become imbalanced.
It is our mission to enrich your life with unforgettable travel experiences in Sri Lanka..!