Ayurveda is a holistic health treatment practised by Hindus for centuries. Much like Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), it uses herbs for various treatments of illness and maintaining general well-being through medicines, massages, steamed baths and many others I am not aware of.
As I arrived at Trincomalee, only to learn that my blue whale watching trip had been cancelled due to strong waves, we decided to spend some time at an Ayurveda spa as I see many around my beach front hotel.
There is a Ayurveda doctor at the spa who oversees the treatment. The Lotus Ayurveda Spa was selected by my guide after he went around and said this spa had the best hygiene condition. The spa wasn’t what I had expected at all with the price quoted, which was probably jacked up by both parties. I get better ambience and hygiene at the same price in Singapore.
There was no air-con and the therapists were not in uniforms. In fact, I thought I had arrived at somebody’s house, as women lounged in sofas watching TV as we entered.
Resident doctor, Dr Mithu, told me that Ayurveda doctors are trained for six years and do internship for another before receiving a licence to practice.
We had booked a massage followed by steam bath. They showed me the steamed casket – I know of no better word to describe the wooden box laid with leaves, with its curved cover, which would soon encased me. I was told the herbal steamer would melt away my fats.
There were two treatment rooms and my husband and I went into one with twin massage beds, separated by a thin partition and curtains. The fan whirled furiously above, as I undressed, wary of the open window overlooking the backyard.
I lay on the small bath towel on the PVC upholstered bed, vulnerably clad only in panties with nothing to protect my modesty.
My therapist drizzled a generous amount of oil on my thigh and proceeded to rub. She reached for the flash of my buttocks and gave it a few hard wriggles after every few minutes of leg rub. I imagine the cellulite dislodging with the wriggles and erased by the rubs.
After the legs, I feel the spread of oil she poured on my back. There was no fixed pattern or strokes, unlike the massages I received elsewhere, whether they’re Thai, Javanese or aromatic. I began to wonder if she was a trained masseur, who usually knead along large muscle groups.
I turned around after the back massage, hoping she would at least cover me with a towel but alas, I lay exposed to everyone who happened to pop in or walked by the backyard. The rub on the front was also randomly done, including my breasts and abdomen.
Next, she doused my day clean hair liberally in oil and proceeded to wash it. I imagined the sensual head massage my hairstylist back home indulges me with was disappointed at this rub and hair pulling I was subjecting myself at this spa.
I was then instructed to wrap myself in the towel for the steam bath. The doctor and male owner were at hand to help me – clad in towel – onto the leafy bed. There was quite a bit of maneuvering to ensure the cover didn’t strangle me as they lowered it. I was told to open my towel internally and rest, while the therapist continued the rub and pull on my head.
At the end of the 15 minute steam bath, I changed and was served a cup of sweetened coriander tea. I was advised to only bathe after two hours.
And so, I proceeded to lunch at a restaurant in my state of oiliness, from head to toe.
(Photos below of the oils that were blended and used for the massage.)