Holistic

Ayurveda, the European way

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Editor’s Review

It has been a very busy year so far and it’s starting to show. I’m eating more of the wrong foods to cope with looming deadlines, my mobile takes priority, my weight is nudging the scales and my skin has lost that freshness. I have no time to just be….

Is this just me or are we losing a sense of our existence, how we feel, how we view the world, who we are. Is there a disconnect between mind, body and spirit? Are we e-people, controlled by technology?

Slow forward to the gentle slopes of Austria, where church bells ring in synchrony with the collar bells attached to goats grazing. Where the Alps form a protective wrapping around the landscape – unpolluted air, solitude, silence. What better setting for an Ayurveda Resort amidst this cradle of tranquillity and peace in Hinterthiersee.

I was visiting for four days for a dose of holistic healing, European style, which meant local and seasonal food,  a western interpretation of treatments and, best of all, no jet-lag.

First was a consultation with the resident Ayurvedic doctor who proved intuitive and impressive in his pulse diagnosis and lifestyle evaluation. He delivered an accurate, informative assessment both with humour and an in-depth knowledge of Ayurvedic doctrines and healings. Based on my particular symptoms and constitution, a therapy plan was created which  combined herbal medicine, a nutrition programme with detox and supportive treatments.

Ayurveda is a system of medicine with historical roots in the  Indian subcontinent. It is the oldest form of medical science based upon the body’s protection of life against negative effects. Put simply, changes in the composition of the natural elements inherent within and around us  affect our health. When our “doshas” (bio-energies) are disturbed, the body becomes imbalanced,  causing illness. Diagnostic ayurvedic treatments can help to restore the body.

A salt rub is not for the faint-hearted, it’s vigorous and stimulating. Known as Upana, this Alpine scrub is used to release stressful energy and strengthen the immune system in preparation for cleansing and detoxing.  Its effects are then sealed in with a sauna visit.

The spa area houses a number of saunas differentiated by heat temperature and purpose.  The Kapha is a detoxifying steam bath, the Pitta a herb and clay sauna while the Vata is denoted as the gemstone and saltwater therapy.  There are several infra-red cabins,  a small gym, an indoor pool and various relaxation areas.

The resort exudes calm and intimacy which is visually reflected by a décor which splashes the colour purple alongside local timber panels to create an earthy feel.  Spiritual energy seems to ooze from buddha statues and handcrafted sculptures dotted around.

Meal times are quiet and pleasant. Each guest has an assigned table, a daily personalised agenda with personal encouragement and affirmations which I would read at regular times during the day. I would also peep enviably at those guests not following a specific programme – enjoying  seasonal, colourful dishes, artistically presented. For those of us on a stricter regime, the simple delicate detox dishes were served with encouragement and a knowing smile.

I was prepared for the  “purging cocktail” concocted to rid the body of toxins and waste products. It was administered by the medical team on the second day – so no cheating was allowed.  The remainder of the morning was confined to the room and close to the much needed facilities. I was grateful for the distraction of the mountain views from the balcony. Later, a belly massage continued the process, a treatment designed to strengthen and detoxify the tissues and release any blockages.

No caffeine, no sweet treats. I was suffering from a headache and tiredness from the previous day, natural reactions I was assured to a detoxification process. But to my delight, a head and body massage was on the day’s agenda, very timely. Billed as Shirodhara, this treatment is a traditional head treatment and body massage specifically to relieve stress-relating symptoms and it worked.

The atmosphere is cosy, friendly and supportive. Guests share their experiences in a positive light and are sympathetic to the effects endured. Many guests return  here for their annual MOT, some travel with supportive partners but most are alone. Days can be active with Yoga, Pilates, Qi Gong, Tai Chi walks, forest bathing and lectures, all providing a social opportunity or non-verbal company.

Guest rooms are tastefully furnished with amenities needed for this type of stay – a hot water bottle to help with liver detox and flasks for hot water, thoughtful and considerate, just like home!  And with 30 rooms and a staff of 50, service levels are high. The therapists are trained and conversant in the European Ayurveda discipline. Those I met monitored my progress along my ayurvedic journey.

When I left this inner sanctum to join the outside world, I felt consciously transformed, lighter in weight and freer of worries. My mind was now connected to my body and spirt.  The church bells seemed to be louder and more in tune and I noticed more goats munching  on the Austrian Alps. Ayurveda maybe ancient but it remains even more relevant today.

There are direct flights from the UK to Innsbruck and a one hour drive from the airport by taxi

Prices for a 7-day Pancha Karma programme are priced from € 1,525 excl. accommodation, single rooms from €166 pp/pn

European Ayurveda Resort Sonnhof, Tyrol, Austria www.sonnhof-ayurveda.at

European Ayurveda Resort Sonnhof is included in the niche destinations distinctive portfolio www.niche-destinations.com

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The Thermae Bath Spa

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This natural thermal spa lies in the heart of Bath, a World Heritage Site.

The Thermae Bath Spa is an award winning facility flowing with warm, mineral-rich thermal waters.  Combining the old with the new, this historical spa building blends with the contemporary design of the New Royal Bath.

Following in the bathing traditions of the Celts and Romans, dating back 2000 years ago, here you can enjoy bathing in the Minerva Bath or the open-air rooftop pool with views over the city and countryside.

A dedicated Wellness Suite has been designed to offer a range of multi-sensory facilities.  Guests are invited to experience a thermal journey which includes an infrared sauna, an astral relaxation room, a series of aroma steam rooms and an ice chamber. Creative displays and features reflect the spa traditions of the Romans and Georgians.

For light refreshment, the Springs Cafe Restaurant serves freshly prepared meals and drinks.

www.thermaebathspa.com

 




Royal Palms Resort & Spa, Phoenix

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Once a 1920s-era winter home, the Royal Palms Resort and Spa is located in Phoenix Arizona at the base of Camelback Mountain. The resort is an original Spanish Colonial Revival villa where tradition meets rejuvenating spa services, fine dining, and sweeping desert landscapes. At the Alvadora Spa, guests choose from a collection of signature treatments infused with natural botanicals, including the Citrus Ritual and Orange Blossom Body Buff. The Alvadora also specializes in various water therapies, including a Watsu® pool for in-water massages.

UNIQUE THERAPY: “Song of the Rainforest” Ritual Langkawi, Malaysia

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The Andaman Resort is tucked between a 10 million-year-old rainforest and the tranquil Datai Bay on Malaysia’s Langkawi Island. Styled in a Malaysian contemporary design are 178 rooms and suites which enjoy sweeping views over the Andaman Sea and ancient rainforest.

The Resort’s V Botanical Spa is set within the natural surroundings of the rainforest hillside, offering a number of unique treatments and rituals.

The “Chi Nei Tsang” treatment is rooted in the ancient Taoist tradition. It aspires to heal the body from within by removing unprocessed emotions that manifest themselves in the form of energy blockages. Blockages impair the body’s vital functions and constrict the flow of the life-force Chi. Upon reading the navel, the therapist works on the knots (carefully) and tangles in the abdomen, stimulates the intestines, abolishing toxins, improving digestion and metabolism and revitalising the entire body.

Its signature “Song of the Malay Rainforest “Ritual is designed to evoke the rainforest spirits with a unique ritual that focuses on a sensory journey. It aims to revive the body mind and spirit into a deep meditative state. It uses villages remedies, blended with traditional home-made treatments and herbal remedies potent for purification, balancing and regeneration. It draws inspiration from the Malay healing practices and uses ingredients from the rainforest to capture the healing powers of plants and medicinal herbs.

“The Holistic Gemstone Facial” uses selected gems for specific purposes. Jade drains toxins from the facial tissues, Jasper improves microcirculation, Aventurine calms the skin, Obsidian balances uneven skin tone and Unakite regenerates skin affected by free radicals. When heated these precious stones relax the jaw area, open the pores to allow antioxidants and organic essential oils to penetrate and nourish the underlying tissue.

 

Pangkor Laut Resort, Malaysia

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Located on a privately owned island in the Straits of Malacca, Pangkor Laut Resort is set amidst an ancient rainforest, blending into the natural resources of its surroundings. The award-winning Spa Village Pangkor Laut is a four-acre haven offering spa treatments inspired by the healing therapies of the Asian region

SHA Wellness Clinic Medical Spa Resort

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The award-winning SHA Wellness Clinic is an international pioneering wellness clinic dedicated to significantly improving and prolonging health and wellbeing. Regarded as one of the best medical spas in Europe, SHA combines natural therapies originating from ancient Eastern wisdom with the most advanced Western techniques. The Clinic is renown for cutting-edge programmes which include everything from weight loss and detox to cognitive brain training, de-addiction, sleep recovery.

The established SHA method was created and supervised by world renowned experts, including the famous Michio Kushi, who was appointed president of the World Federation of Natural Alternative Medicine in 1995 and has been advisor to many international organizations like the UN and the World Health Organization. Today he is regarded as the father of modern macrobiotics.

Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain Resort & Spa, Scottsdale

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The Sanctuary is an architectural statement embedded within 53 acres of private terrain set within the landscapes of Camelback Mountain. Stunning panoramic views provide the ideal location for reconnecting with mind and body.

Innovative dining is created by Food Network celebrity and Executive Chef Beau MacMillan, escape to the Asian-inspired treatments at the world-class Sanctuary Spa, and explore the breathtaking scenery that unveils a magnificent perspective on the world and one another.

Unique Asian-inspired treatments and services include signature experiences such as the Sanctuary Luxury Facial, Sumatra Coconut Body Ritual, and In Harmony Massage, or an extensive list of offerings tailored to fit personal well-being. There are 12 indoor & outdoor treatment rooms surrounding the Spa’s Zen meditation garden and reflecting pond.

Specialised treatments include a guided imagery meditation, a labyrinth walking meditation through the pathways of the seven path classical labyrinth and Numerology. Body treatments range from a golden lotus balancing ritual and a signature wakai renewal.

The Gaia Spa at Boringdon Hall Hotel, Devon

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The Gaia Spa at Boringdon Hall Hotel in Devon opened in August 2016 offering a range of treatments focusing on health and wellbeing, using its s own-brand natural products as well as some of the UK’s top names in spa and wellness.

The Gaia Spa concept seamlessly combines ancient wellness traditions from around the world with the refinement and skills of modern spa.

Aleenta Phuket Resort & Spa, Phang Nga

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The all-suite luxury Aleenta Phuket Resort & Spa in Phang Nga is set on Natai Beach, a short distance away from Phang Nga Bay and just 20 minutes north of the Phuket International Airport.

The Ayurah Spa & Wellness Centre adopts a more medical and results-oriented approach to wellness, with rejuvenating spa treatment rooms, a post-treatment relaxation chamber, a chromo-therapy room and Vichy shower room which offers horizontal water massages.

The facility offers anti-aging spa therapies, age defying spa treatments, and advanced techniques including oxygen therapy and the latest light therapy technologies.

Six Senses Douro Valley, Lamego, Portugal

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The Six Senses Douro Valley in Portugal’s Lamego is a renovated 19th-century manor house opening doors to 41 guest bedrooms, 9 suites and 7 villas enjoying sweeping views from its panoramic location overlooking the vine covered hills of the Douro Valley and the River Douro.

Senses Integrated Wellness brings together the latest technology and in-house expertise with personalized wellness programs and nutritional advice.

The facility offers Six Senses speciality treatments and multi-day programs with locally inspired therapies, some of which are grape and citrus fruit based. Programmes range from Wellness Screening and Movement Efficiency, treatments such as Rose Crystal Lymphatic Facial and Schist Stone and Almond Body Soother which is synonymous with local port wine production and stress retreats at designated times throughout the year.