Published on April 21st, 2014 | by Catherine Tingey0
Ayurveda in Los Angeles
Ayurveda is a holistic system of medicine originating thousands of years ago in India. Its aim is preventative as opposed to treating disease, and considers the mind, body and spirit as the foundationof whole body wellness. Ayurveda also has the oldest medical text in the world, the Charaka Samhita, which is dated at the earliest at 100 BC. The text is 6 volumes long in English translation. The oral tradition is over 5000 years old.
I take a few Ayurvedic herbs on occasion but was really curious about Ayurvedic oil massage (abhyanga) and more specifically, a treatment called Shirodhara.
Shirodhara comes from the Sanskrit words shiro (head) and dhara (flow), and is considered one element of Panchakarma, a systematic cleansing ritual believed to eliminate toxins from the body.
A shirodhara treatment in the West typically involves the pouring of warm oil over the third eye point and scalp.
Now if you think of oil as something that clogs pores, this is definitely not for you.
But if the idea of having your body slathered in warm oil feels luxurious, anointed, sensual and relaxing, run to book your treatment now!
Last Sunday I had an Abhyanga + Shirodhara treatment with Kailas, an Ayurvedic practitioner, healer and guide in Venice. His home office is a peaceful, light-filled sanctuary filled with deities, Sanskrit and herbs.
Using professional massage draping, he begins by grounding your feet with his hands and chanting a Sanskrit prayer to Ganesh (remover of obstacles) and a personalized invocation that is quite beautiful.
Warmed organic sesame oil is then poured over your body as your arms, legs, trunk, head and neck are massaged for 75 minutes. Note: you will get VERY oily.
Kailas then uses different essential oil blends on specific parts of the body for additional healing and energy clearing.
The sweet Shirodhara comes last after a wonderful scalp massage. A bronze vessel is suspended above your head, allowing a continuous flow of warm oil down your forehead and scalp. The experience took me to a profoundly relaxing place; not completely out-of-body, but pretty close.
A shower is available for you post treatment, but if you have dry skin, you might want to allow the oil to penetrate your skin for a bit. Your skin and hair will thank you!
Conclusion? If you’re a fan of massages and alternative healing treatments, I highly recommend finding an Ayurvedic practitioner in your area.
Ayurvedic Massage (Abhyanga) – 90 minute session: $140
Shirodhara – Add-on to Ayurvedic Massage: $50
Ayurveda By Kailas