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the-south-asian.com                         7  August   2000

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Ayurvedic Spas of Kerala

By Saikat Neogi


Dhara: Oil flow therapy


A continuous stream of hot oil poured on the forehead …. linen bags filled with steaming rice for a massage….. these are some of the treatments for rejuvenating the body, infusing new life in tired limbs and banishing stress – the Ayurvedic way.


The 3000-year-old system of Ayurveda medicine as practiced in the Indian State of Kerala, is gaining immense popularity among those suffering from stress related symptoms and living life in the fast lane. Cardiologists from USA, stockbrokers from Vienna, retired couples from the UK, writers from South Africa, any number of senior executives from all over India – all visit these spas for physical, mental and spiritual cleansing.

Ayurveda, or the Science of Life, is no longer confined to the backwaters of Kerala. It has transformed into a booming trade and Ayurvedic health tourism accounts for almost 40 percent of the state's tourism revenue. It is not surprising that health spas have sprung up in the farms around Kochi, Thiruvanthipuram, Palakkad, Calicut, Quilon and Kottayam offering exotic oil massages, yoga, meditation and organically grown food cooked in medicinal herbs and spices.

Ayurveda is the world's most nature-friendly system of medicine and has no side effects. Practitioners at these resorts claim to have cures for a variety of physical and mental ailments ranging from stresses, strains and tensions to arthritis, spondylitis, paralysis, obesity, sinusitis, migraine and more.

The line of treatment called Panchkarma is based on the principle of Tridosha {three faults} which all humans are born with---Vata, Pita and Kapha. Through massage, therapies, yoga and meditation, these local healers strive to strike an equilibrium in the body and create a metabolic balance.


Ayurvedic massages with special herbal oils and medicines guarantee to get you back in shape, restore lost vitality, cure chronic diseases and detoxify and rejuvenate the whole body system within a matter of 14 days.

In many resorts the cost for a 14-day therapy is between Rs. 15,000 to Rs. 20,000 [ U.S.$ 400-500]. Board and lodging can range from Rs. 2,500 to Rs. 10,000 a day [U.S.$ 50 – 200] depending on the kind of accommodation. As most of the treatments run into a fortnight, the accommodation at some of these leading resorts rivals that offered by the best five-star hotels. On offer are cottages, villas, presidential suites, equipped with air conditioners, televisions, refrigerators, telephones, fax machines and more. There are swimming pools, tennis courts, amphitheatres and cyber centers.


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