Kerala has been busy promoting inner peace and deep relaxation to wellness seekers for decades. With its long history of Ayurveda, it’s not surprising that many hotels in India’s most laid-back state offer related treatments, including packages (usually lasting from just a few days to a whole month) during which expert doctors and masseurs at Kerala’s best spas, unite their efforts to maximise physical and spiritual well-being.
Ayurveda has been around for approximately 2,000 years and loosely incorporates a mixture of yoga, meditation, diet, massage, as well as oils. Kerala is recognised internationally as being at the centre of the practice so there’s really no better place to try it.
It’s a curious fact that Ayurveda was in fact suppressed by the British during Colonial times, although of course during modern times it has become increasingly popular in the West. In India a huge number of people rely on Ayurveda, as much as 80 percent of the population, based on the belief that it works as both a preventative therapy as well as a means for sustaining good health. The duration of the treatment depends on what is required, some people sign up for weeks of therapies while others partake in much shorter standard spa length treatments.
Unique spa experience
Top recommendations for maximum effect on limited time (usually under one hour) includes Shirodhara where herbal oil is poured rhythmically across the forehead, an excellent treatment for headache and insomnia sufferers. Pizhichil is another, where warm oil is poured over the body which is followed by a massage by two or more masseurs, particularly effective for clearing the body of toxins and preventing ageing, and lastly, Kizhi where leaves of medicinal herbs are put into muslin bags to form a poultice, which are then pummelled onto the body until the treatment concludes with a massage. Quite different to any other spa experience, a basic understanding of Ayurveda, or a little research before arriving, goes a long way.
Kerala’s best spas
There are many superb spa facilities in Kerala. Even the mini-spas you will pass on the side of the road are likely to employ therapists who have had skills handed down to them through generations, but the very best are nearly always on the site of a luxury hotel. Marari Beach, near Alleppey, Kalari Kovalam and Surya Samudra -Kovalam all have stand-out spas on-site, it is only a case of choosing which sunset view you’d like and how long you have got to dedicate to your wellness journey.