Incentives for your escape from the wheel.
Assumingly most people heave heard of Ayurveda. We talk about stress relieving health treatments for your body and mind which are supposed to bring you back on (the health-) track. Clinics pop up all across Western countries. Fancy ones. Basic ones. 5 star-treatments. One-(wo)man shows. Every single business promises total well-being. These treatments cost a lot and you will face meals consisting of vegetables, soups and fruits only. Before you spend a salary or two on one of the spa resorts in Europe which promote themselves virtually in the best way you might consider to combine your treatment with a holiday and a flight to Sri Lanka or Southern India where Ayurveda has been practiced long time before the European market was established. There you find a much cheaper and definitely more authentic way of solving your health problems. If you are lucky enough not to have any issues you at least will be able to clear your mind and focus on just being. Your gateway to relaxation…
Before the project started Exithamster was totally blank on this topic. (Reading the below to some of you it might still seem so!) The idea was to find out about the possibility of significantly increasing your health condition within 28 days just by changing your lifestyle, nutrition and physical activities and of course by receiving Ayurvedic treatments and massages on a daily basis. Very curious about this process Exithamster did some research and contacted resorts / clinics in Southern Asia to ask for a one-month-all-inclusive offer. After corresponding with some hotels the choice fell on a place called Ayurveda Kuren Maho (AKM).
The resort is 2,5 hours drive from Colombo / Sri Lanka inland and first opened in 2004 by a German businessman in his late 70ies. It is located 150 meters above sea level far off industrial areas, smog and traffic. The air in this area does not carry any salt crystals. A very good condition for an Ayurvedic treatment as sun and sea are obviously not very supportive in this case. The land covers 130.000 square meters on which you find two hotels. Yapahuwa Paradise Hotel is frequented by regular customers who like to continue with normal nutrition and prefer a more luxurious place to stay. Ayurveda Kuren Maho (AKM) serves as the clinic for health tourism. The below only refers to AKM’s premises which cover a lake, a pool, an open reception and restaurant building, twelve bungalows, four houses with six rooms each, a luxury water villa with four apartments and breathtaking views towards both the lake and the jungle and last but not least a huge park. The area is surrounded by 2 meter high brick walls to keep elephants and other intruders off the premises. The only noise you hear is the fauna around you. Monkeys, birds, peacocks, geckos and lizards take care of animalistic sounds. From time to time you hear a train passing by whose engine sounds like being from British colonial times – well, it obviously is. The noise reminds more of a chopper than the railways.
The “chairman” employs around 150 locals from the surroundings.
Arriving here you must have in mind that the next three to four weeks – a shorter period does not make sense as it takes time for the body to adjust and the treatment / medicine to work – will be spent mainly amongst people between 60 and 80 years old as they are the top target group for health tourism. Besides they have the time and money to spend and leave cold winter months behind.
Most of the time you will find yourself resting covered in oil and reading books. Either in the (recommended) shadow in front of your bungalow or in bed. The meal times are your social highlights – three times a day. If you get bored and your treatment schedule / physical and mental condition already allows you to browse around you can do the activities listed below.
You have plenty of time to read books, listen to music, walk around in the park, take photos, swim and just think about life, health, profession, friends, family, new travel destinations, love or just nothing. Looking at the “library” close to the reception desk people seem to focus a lot on the love part as there is a whole section with books covering the topic d’amour. If you are craving for company you can join the afternoon yoga or meditation session in the pavilion. It only lasts one hour and it is certainly senior friendly but tough enough for a yoga rookie. Don’t be afraid of sore muscles the day after.
About every second Thursday there is an information hour where the idea of Ayurveda is explained. You should not miss out on that one otherwise your mind is facing the “WHY” throughout the whole period.
The first day after your arrival you only receive a gentle and oily foot and head massage before you are being sent to your first doctor’s appointment. You talk about your physical condition, present your arm for measuring the blood pressure (in a nice old fashioned way) and have a chat about what’s going to happen the upcoming couple of weeks. After the talk you will be rated as one of the three Ayurvedic types – Vata, Pitta, Kapha or a combination. You will be handed out some medicine before you start the treatment on the second day. Every morning or afternoon you walk in your green coat to the Treatment Center facing one oil massage after another.
Leave your Calvin Kleins and La Perlas at home as they will be damaged by dark liquids and pastes within no time. The first days you are still curious about the massages, oil sessions and other interesting health-improvers. After ten days 90% is routine and you are thrilled about every simple change on your activity schedule.
AKM has a room for each treatment type:
Sirodhara – Three beds separated by curtains for your forehead oil flow treatment.
Panchakarma – One bed for your nose treatment / enemas / etc… Three bath tabs for gargling and spitting.
Steambath – Three wooden cuffins separated by curtains and two inhalation boxes.
Herbalbath – Six bath tubs and a shower cabin separated by tiled walls.
Massage building – Six cabins with massage beds and nine relaxing chairs.
The open massage building is by far the biggest and offers a nice view on a little hill with a Buddhist shrine on top. Especially ornithologists will be excited. You will spend most of your treatment time there. People even manage to fall asleep and start to underline the fauna sounds with their snoring. You have approximately six different treatments followed by each other every day (either in the morning or the afternoon) and they last approximately 2,5 hours.
An Ayurveda month in a resort is definitely something, which irritates your wallet. No matter where you go. In Southern India treatments could be cheaper and sometimes more hard core / original – this might on one side be an advantage but on the other side stresses your mind if you don’t feel 100% at home in your room due to a possible lack of hygiene. AKM offers all-inclusive arrangements (including medicine) and discounts for early bookers, returning customers and people who passed the age of 60. Get in contact with their office in Germany (email: firstname.lastname@example.org). They are very flexible will be able to find the right solution for you. If you are two people sharing a bungalow or room the price drops significantly. Once paid you don’t need to think about money for the time of your stay. But please consider bringing some cash for all the (low salary) employees who are trying to make your stay as comfy as possible. They will be more than happy to receive a tip from time to time.
Talking to a couple of guests it was possible to get some opinions on AKM as well as a comparison with other Ayurveda hotels in Sri Lanka which are mainly located on the west coast. And the result was quite surprising: AKM seems to be one of the best spots to do more serious Ayurveda. The therapists and treatments are said to be more professional than at some of the other places. The location is better if you are looking for peace and quiet as it is relatively remote and in the middle of the island without much infrastructure around. Their park is incredibly well taken care of. And at last the buffet is good too. Actually it is quite hard to lose weight considering three proper meals a day. Of course you will be able to find hotels placed on a more spectacular spot with a better view, newer facilities and more cosmopolitan atmosphere. But if you are coming here with your main focus on peace, well-being and treatments for a good price and without the hassle on the beach, AKM could be the right resort for you. You definitely get good value for your money. This place should be considered as a clinic with hotel facilities and not the other way around.
You might have heard of people who stopped the treatments after a short period of time, as they couldn’t handle it anymore due to various reasons. This might be the case if you end up in a place where you don’t feel comfortable. Consider paying a bit more and get a nice and clean room in a peaceful atmosphere then managing the complete program is not a problem at all. You will never go to bed hungry and you – unless being a heavy alcoholic – will not miss your beers or glasses of wine. After a couple of days you get used to the new lifestyle and your mind starts to relax. Most likely you will not feel any change within the first two weeks except of an improvement in your digestion system. Sometimes people face skin irritations between week two and three as the detox process seems to starts working. During Sirodhara – which lasts between 2 and 5 days – your sleep will be a bit twisted. You might wake up a couple of times during a night and dream about weird things. Apparently this is the period where your mind starts to release all the rubbish. You will have one therapist throughout the complete stay. A male for the gentlemen. A female for the ladies. They are well educated in their field and are flexible to adjust to your needs.
Coming to that point the whole ayurveda idea actually really works. Just be patient… and proactive. Then you will leave as newly born!
As already partly mentioned above – some good news for your wallet:
Her contact details are: Phone: +49(0)2269 181489 / Mobile: +49(0)151 16608151 / Homepage: www.ayurvedaparadisemaho.com
If you want to see the complete photo portfolio go to Exithamster’s album on Facebook!
GOOD LUCK WITH YOUR TREATMENT!
Note: Everyone makes different experiences and has other opinions about things. This is a personal opinion, which does not cover the complete topic of Ayurveda. If you are interested in a more detailed abstract please refer to Google and its thousands of search results. It is not possible to test each and single resort but it is possible to write a story about your experience. Feel free to share your thoughts about this kind of treatment in the comment section or contact www.facebook.com/exithamster if you have specific questions.