Journey to Vanamoolika – Part 5
Ayurvedic Massage

Ayurvedic Massage Center

Every day in this Indian paradise called Vanamoolika (medicinal herbs) I am called at 7AM for a typical Ayurvedic massage to start out my day with positive feelings and fresh energy.

This massage is a true experience by itself and no comparison to Swedish, Thai, or whatever massages, because an Ayurvedic massage it is also an Arurvedic message! It is a physical as well as a mental and emotional experience.

From my hut that is entirely built from the wood with 20 medicinal plants I walk through a variety of trees and bushes all cultivated for Ayurvedic medicines. It is a short walk to the place where every day my masseur waits my arrival.

Paul Penders Getting the Ayurvedic Treatment

There is some drizzle and rainclouds seemingly every morning and combined with the mountains, it is an astonishing view. The Vanamoolika medicinal farm is located 5,000 feet above sea level and the air is very clean. There are no sounds other than a few chattering birds watching me and probably talking about me as well!

The massage place is also a small wooden hut and the masseur greets me with a pleasant smile which it seems Indian people were given by God. When you look at them all seems right in their world. Peace and order. Well at least this is the case for my daily morning massages.

I need to fully undress and am given a piece of cotton with two cords. I am then asked to sit before the massage table, which is carved entirely from one piece of tree. It is beautiful but quite heavy! Before lying down the masseur puts warm herbal oil on my head and prays.

Afterwards I lie on the table and ritualistic moves begun. What makes this massage technique so different from other techniques is that they make long sweeping movements from the top of the hands to the bottom of the feet about 20 times which is very rapidly executed on each side of the body. Truly exhausting for the masseur, as he is almost out of breath, but then continues with my hands only. The same massage strokes are done with me lying face down , so both sides of the body get to feel the energy.

I tell you, the feeling of the warm oil is quite a pleasant experience!

Oil on the Head

The last part of the massage (which takes up to one and a half hours) is the head and many movements are being done from very barely-touching-gentle to much more firm techniques. Then it is time for the shower. You have to be very careful because of the oil dripping from the body. Trying to simply stand while taking a shower can be hazardous!

I had this same treatment for 3 days but on the 4th day the unique ancient head treatment starts and this is a true experience by itself.

The entire body is totally wrapped in cotton and then the eyes are covered with cotton balls. Cotton is then placed on the head from the chin to the eyebrows, leaving only the upper forehead exposed. This special body wrapping is done to protect the body from reacting to abrupt temperature changes because the plant oils applied to the head are warm. When temperature is not regulated, unexpected responses may occur.

Over the head hangs a clay pot filled with warm oil and a string of cotton hangs below. This is when the actual treatment begins. The cotton string will be cut and oil flows or drips onto the forehead creating a sensational feeling. But that isn’t the sole purpose.

The flow of Bala Thailam (medicated oil) is made from cedar herbs that smell like a mix of Northern California coastal trees and calendula oil from the German forest, that I use to buy. It is controlled and is being poured or dripped in different ways and at different times. This is called the wellness treatment to improve the blood circulation and blood cells in the brain.

Handcarved Ayurvedic Table

There are also different disease related medicinal treatments using different oils and different movements in the Ayurveda. This pouring and dripping of oil takes about 30 minutes and each time the clay pot is being refilled with the same oil.

The sensations and feelings experienced are emotional as well as physical. When you are entirely packed in cotton with only partial head exposure, an emotional sensation is indeed experienced.

Ayurvedic treatments are a daily routine here for me and start my day with renewed energy as I attempt to take in as much as possible in this truly unique experience. Being on this special land makes one forget the days and become only interested in learning more and more about the people and their sharing of simple but true wisdom in order to better the world.

Related posts:

Part 1 Love-Labor & Determination
Part 2 Meeting Fr. Joseph Chittoor, a visionary Priest
Part 3 The President of Vanamoolika
Part 4 A Gorgeous Ayuredic Doctor
Part 5 Ayurvedic Massage
Part 6 Inspirational Visit to Indocert; Indian Organic Certifying Agency
Part 7 Journey to Vanamoolika