We took time off and went to Kerala to get refreshed – by ancient Ayurveda
THEIR FOUR hands worked in perfect unison: soothing, relaxing, easing knots of muscular tension in my tired body. The rich aroma of warm medicated sesame oil filled the room, along with other more subtle herbal scents, which I could not identify. After an hour in the gentle hands of my two masseuses I felt as drowsy and cosseted as a newborn babe and I had to be helped to my feet off the massage table and into the steam bath. When, however, I stepped out of the therapy centre I felt as if I had woken from a deep, and very refreshing, sleep.
Sleep had been very low on our list of priorities. Hugh, my husband, and I are travel writers, and for nine months we had been shuttling frenziedly across the world, Eventually, when our constant weariness began to affect our work, we flew to Kerala to be rejuvenated by Ayurveda.
Kerala is full of Ayurvedic centres, not all of them manned by experts. Luckily, the Kerala government has a rating system. The best centres are allowed to display an emblem showing three leaves outlined in dark green. For the rung below, the colour is olive. As a good rule of thumb, however, an hour’s standard massage (or abhyangam) should not cost less than Rs500 because the herbal oils and the training of the therapists are expensive. Expect to pay between Rs 800 and Rs1000 in the average green leaf Ayurvedic centre and sign on for at least a week’s therapy.
And you don’t have to live spartanly. At the Kairali Ayurvedic Health Resort in Palakkad, we had our own luxurious air-conditioned cottage; we dined in an elegant restaurant, and frolicked in a swimming pool in their palm-shaded grounds.