- Alternative & Natural Medicine
Transform Your Life With Ayurveda
Ayurveda is an ancient medicine that began in India more than 5,000 years ago. It’s actually a Sanskrit word that means the science of life or longevity. Some consider it the sister science of yoga with a holistic approach to mind and body and life and healing. Practitioners focus on diet, lifestyle, massage, herbal medicine, aromatherapy, yoga, meditation and more. Ayurveda is a natural next stage for yoga devotees who seek symmetry in their lives–it’s not just another trend.
What's Your Dosha?
One of the primary objectives of Ayurveda is to understand your makeup (dosha) so treatments and the entire experience is tailored to meet your individual needs. Usually, sessions begin with a consultation about personal habits (including indulgences), a pulse check and inspection of the tongue so that your dosha can be determined. The three doshas (based on the five elements) are vata (air and space), pitta (fire and water) and kapha (earth and water). It’s rare they are equal in composition in any person’s body. Based on the characteristics of your dosha, the proper oils and treatments are organized. Included in the consultation is specific information on steps you can take at home, such as what foods to ignore and which yoga postures to pursue.
If you’re interested, but haven’t banked a mountain of frequent flyer miles to fly to India (it’s expensive), one alternative is to stay right at home and reap the benefits where you live. You can do just that in the San Francisco Bay Area: Cultivate your inner healing and beauty while being pampered on the outside in San Francisco, Marin and Palo Alto.
Watercourse Way Bathhouse Spa
South of San Francisco, you’ll find Palo Alto’s Watercourse Way Bathhouse Spa, inspired by the hot springs and zen environment at Tassajara in Carmel Valley. Watercourse maintains the intimacy of its spa by offering only private rooms for treatments. Just sit back and let go: You’ll be reinvigorated. The Ayurvedic Hot Oil treatment begins with a consultation to determine your dosha so that the proper oils can be used for detoxifying and calming your nervous system.
Next up is a dry brush massage. Sounds simple enough, but what it actually does is increase circulation, exfoliate your skin and enhances your skin’s ability to soak in the warm oil. After a warm shower, your body is sprayed with a mixture of sandalwood herb and rose oil–this continues the process of opening your pores to absorb the hot oil used in the body massage. A facial is up next using a patchouli oil to cleanse the skin. Patchouli has an umami aroma and is considered to be a healing oil to help balance and relax.
Watercourse Way offers a tranquil environment in which to cleanse and purify. The Hot Oil Treatment is one part of a broader menu of treatment options.
Marin Ayurveda, in San Rafael, educates others about the healing powers of this ancient medicine. It is also a certified Panchakarma Center which means its various therapies focus on helping patients detoxify their mind and bodies. Learn which time of year is best so you have the ultimate chance of cleansing. Whether it’s due to a particular disease or simply just allergies, being lethargic or eating unhealthy foods, toxins build up in your body and prevent healing. This approach aims to purge those toxins so holistic healing can begin.
Panchakarma is a multi-stage process that involves incorporating routines at home (changing your diet and daily schedule and using massage oils) with therapies such as warm herbal oil massages, meditation and yoga. Many traditional treatments are used: Abhyanga (a warm oil massage given by two therapists), Shirodhara (warm oil poured on the forehead) and Ubvartan (rejuvenating the skin).
If you continue the process of slowing down your life and eliminating stress at home, you have a better chance of achieving a healthier life style – it‘s even said the signs of aging can be reversed.
Choose a course of action that will work best for you – usually a combination of consultations and hot oil therapies and massage. Marin Ayurveda even offers the opportunity for deeper immersion through half day and multi-day retreats.
In San Francisco, Chitta Happens is a clinic offering consultations and Ayurvedic treatments as well as yoga and meditation. Chitta is a Sanskrit word meaning “pure awareness.” A core element of a visit here is to achieve this awareness every day. Such a state is attainable, but you have to work towards it.
Sickness is not the only reason to indulge in these treatments – achieving balance in your life is another important goal. Spend time in an in-depth consultation to learn more about yourself and your dosha. Every aspect of your life is explored from what you eat to how you spend your time and how your body functions. Western medicine is employed, too, so that a physical exam provides keys to your overall disposition.
Once your dosha has been determined, recommendations are made to bring your life into balance with a feeling of wholeness. One of the popular treatments is the Abhyanga massage which integrates herbal oils (driven by your dosha) to release toxins in your body and restore balance. During the Shirodhara, warm oil is poured over your forehead (the “third eye”). This heavenly therapy helps to relieve insomnia and headaches. A Marma points massage targets certain spots on your body. These are specific areas, when activated appropriately with oils and fingertip placement, will stimulate the entire body to produce what it needs for healing. As a result, tension dissipates, emotions are calmed and balance is restored.
Chitta Happens offers a very personal experience that will jump start you on the road to achieving a more tranquil existence.
Find Your Inner Peace
The goal of an Ayurvedic approach to medicine is to integrate the philosophies and practices in your daily life. The challenge is to keep the feeling and attitude going. Be mindful of what you do and you’ll find peace and serenity and your mind, body and spirit will be united.