Ayurveda and Massage Therapy

What is Ayurveda Therapy

What is Ayurveda?

by Tiffany Cox. LMT

Thirty years ago most people in the Western world hadn’t even heard of Yoga, much less how to define it. We’ve since integrated it into our culture so thoroughly, you’d be hard-pressed to find even a single manliest of men who could deny having some knowledge of its existence.

There have been many new ideas introduced into our culture over the past few decades that are only now being revealed and adopted into mainstream consciousness. Not surprisingly, the practice of Ayurveda has eluded that consciousness to the extent that even the pronunciation is baffling to the unfamiliar.

(Phonetically) eye-yur-vay-dah, encompasses a way of life that is widely unknown in Western culture. Even the minority here in North America who participate in its practices are novices at best, administering the most basic of treatments and routines. The moniker itself is a testament to its intricate constitution, meaning literally: ayus~life, and veda~the science or knowledge of.

A true Ayurvedic lifestyle is a manifestation of meditation on comprehensive betterment, by directing intention through every thought and action, creating an existence of singular purpose ~ wellness in, and of, everything.

One reason Ayurveda is not as widely known is due to the complex contingencies applied within the practice itself. The culture in which Ayurveda unfolded is vastly different from American life, and many vital components within these customs can be considered absurd, “weird,” or even taboo by conventional assessment.

One of the more recognized Ayurvedic treatments known in the West is Shirodhara as a result of it now being offered in elite, luxury spas and wellness centers. I’ve worked in two spas that have provided this service, and only one exhibited a consistent, effective application of the treatment.

When administered by an educated, experienced provider, Shirodhara can have a profound effect on both client and therapist.  A greater number of therapists are now being introduced to these practices while still in massage school, when they’re at a heightened level of receptiveness, encouraging a more in-depth pursuit of the native science upon which Ayurveda was developed over 4,000 years ago.

Recognizing and preserving the significance of the Ayurveda name, origin, and meaning by becoming an authenticated student of customary Ayurvedic teachings is the best way to inspire the adoption of this standard of wellness.

Bringing these treatments into Western view incites intrigue among the alternative-lifestyle seekers, and introduces a dialogue between themselves and a (hopefully) well-educated practitioner.

Focusing attention on its benefits will help ease trepidation and increase acceptance, encouraging the introduction and integration of these unique methods of optimal wellness, so that one day we can all pronounce words like Ayurveda with the tongue of more than just a novice.


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