A dose of monsoon wellness

Heal your body with 'pinda sweda'

A spa experience, in most cases, is associated with luxury, a ‘me’ time to de-stress and relax. But when I headed to Ritz Carlton Spa on a rainy weekday afternoon, relaxation was certainly not on my restless mind. I was ticking off a checklist of things to be done at work and at home (like most working mothers). Having said that, my body was definitely screaming for respite from the daily grind and I felt the weight of the world on my tired shoulders.

As I entered the opulent interiors of Ritz Carlton Spa, I was instantly taken in by the tastefully done décor that exuded a luxurious yet calming vibe. The lovely paintings and exquisite jali-work partitions and windows were a refreshing change from the commonplace Oriental pieces that most spas are known to highlight. I was welcomed with a refreshing drink laced with lemongrass and ginger, and after a brief consultation about the ideal treatments for the season, I was quickly whisked away for a therapeutic pinda sweda massage.

Seasonal speciality

Pinda sweda is an Ayurvedic treatment that involves the use of fomentation technique to induce sweat and relieve pain and stress. The massage is especially beneficial during monsoon to balance the different doshasvata, pitta and kapha — in the body.

As I slipped into my robe, Aika, my masseuse for the day, seated me on a chair and started exfoliating my feet with a scrub made of tamarind and sugarcane extracts. And the pampering had officially begun! I was then asked to lie down on the massage table, where Aika started the treatment with a massage using a medicated Ayurvedic oil. Infused with herbs and roots like ashwagandha, devdaru, ellam, manjishtha, bringhadi, camphor, etc, the oil is meant to revitalise and harmonise the energies in the body. Warm medicated oil works on a deeper level and helps cure disorders related to vata dosha (governs flow and motion in the body), which gets aggravated during monsoon.

What started with gentle long strokes along my back soon gathered pace and landed on the pressure points on my shoulders and neck. The movements strangely didn’t feel too relaxing at the time, despite the calming tunes playing in the background. But the strokes stimulated blood flow and somehow loosened the knots on my back and shoulder blades. “Is this too painful for you? Is the pressure bearable?” Aika kept checking with me, as I remained oblivious to the time that had passed.

Timelapse

After the intensive massage, it was time for the most important aspect of the treatment — “sweating it out”. Pinda sweda involves the use of poultice of herbs packed in bundles, heated and placed on the pressure points and joints of the body. The poultice contains some of the most fragrant and therapeutic ingredients like lemongrass, ashwagandha, ginger, eucalyptus, tamarind, vetiver, turmeric, camphor, clove and kafir lime. These are known for their antiseptic, antibacterial and anti-fungal properties so they work wonders on the skin, too.

At first, Aika gently placed the heated bundles on different parts of the body, letting the warmth sink in. The movement then transitioned into vigorous pats, which were surprisingly soothing. I felt the warmth seep into my skin, absorbing the goodness of the oil and easing the knotted muscles.

Pinda sweda is designed to rejuvenate the body and the senses. And it did just that. As the treatment came to an end, the initial soreness of the massage gave way to a refreshed feeling. After a hot shower, which is all I had time for, my body felt light as air, and my skin supple and smooth. The 90-minute therapy might seem a little demanding time-wise, but it is definitely worth it. However, to get the full effect of the treatment, I suggest you enjoy a soak in the hotel’s plush jacuzzi to revive your body. This treatment definitely did this tired mommy some good!

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A dose of monsoon wellness

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