Abhyanga – Ayurvedic Whole Body Massage (1 hour), £60
A relaxing massage that can help to improve lymph flow, stimulate the immune system and revitalise the entire body.
The ancient concept of Ayurveda – the holistic medical system from India – was extensively explained to me as I settled down into a comfy chair 5 minutes after arriving for my treatment at Ayurveda Pura in Greenwich Millenium Village on a dank, cold January day. Colette, the Ayurveda Pura’s Spa Manager shared her in-depth knowledge of the practice and what comes across most is her ability to sum 1000s year’s worth of Indian tradition into a brief pre-massage chat. You know someone really knows their stuff when they can demonstrate it in lay mans terms and still evoke inspiration and complete confidence.
Through understanding the 5 basic elements which are the principles of Ayurvedic tradition and what my unique balance of Doshas was (learnt by taking my pulse and looking at my tongue) I was intrigued by Colette’s perceptions of my general well being. From picking up the tension in my arms and shoulders – a product of a particularly energetic boxing class I’d been to the day before – to identifying my ‘fire’ side which gives me a tendency to plan and analyse all matters (cue anxiety) she was confident in what particular areas she would focus on during my hour long Ayurvedic massage treatment to get me rebalanced and reset.
With diagnosis discussed, I was already in a calm and confident place in terms of my treatment plan and ready to hop onto the massage bed. In long sweeping movements which crisscrossed my entire body in figures of eight it felt magically like I had 10 pairs of hands working on me as opposed to two. With particular care taken over my neck, shoulders and arms, it was the head to toe sweeps very unlike any other massage I’d had before that provided the most amount of relaxation. These long motions and the use of specialised 100% organic Ayurvedic oils in abundance (you absolutely have to shower post massage!) are the key differences to this type of treatment. These combined with the beautifully incensed room and the very spiritual sounding music playing quietly in the background is enough to transport you from a grey rainy day in East London to a beautiful Indian spa on a spectacular hilltop.
I usually find it hard to relax during massages and although my body is happy, my mind continues to whirrrrr… perhaps it was the particular focus that Colette was giving to calming my fire imbalance or just the combination of the oils, warmth, music and defused light which fully transported me to a new and very relaxed place. A place I’d like to be a little more often!
In our post massage chat over a cup if Ayurvedic tea, I learnt about the organic and holistic approach that forms the basis of the Ayurveda Pura Spa. This unassuming spa really packs a punch in their offering and I was surprised by the breadth in their treatment menu, plus yoga courses, vegetarian café and their own range of certified organic Ayurvedic beauty products Holistic Essentials.
This one stop health and wellbeing gem in South East London could quickly become a weekly favourite, whether it would be popping in for a treatment or just a simple totally organic snack with friends post yoga class, the friendly atmosphere is completely un-intimidating and welcoming and this combined with deep professionalism and expertise really sets this place apart and should be on any health’s fanatics radar.
Ayurveda Pura, London
Health Spa & Beauty Centre
48 Newton Lodge
Greenwich Millennium Village
London SE10 0BA
words by Laura Morris