Kerala, in southern India, offers the spectacle of a generous tropical nature. But the tourists come mainly for treatment according to the traditions of the Hindu traditional medicine. Ayurveda is traditional Hindu medicine described and practiced in the Ayurveda, the "Veda of life", one of the sacred books in Hinduism. Ayurveda is also called Pancham Veda.
Ayurveda is a form of traditional medicine native to India and practiced in the subcontinent for thousands of years. Like many forms of "alternative" medicine, the practice looks at the body as a whole, interconnects drugs and treatments and can be both preventive and curative. Considerable emphasis is placed on diet, lifestyle, and the balance of the three doshas or humors (in the old sense of the word drug) as part of the constitution of each patient.
While most visitors to India do not seek the advice of an Ayurvedic physician, many take the opportunity to get an Ayurvedic treatment or a massage. The Indian state of South Kerala is especially popular as a destination for Ayurveda, and many of the most respected Ayurvedic hospitals in the country and treatment centers are located here.
The treatments and Ayurvedic massages are a little different from what most Western travelers are used to. The massages are carried on long wooden tables and tend to focus more on the use of long brushes which are designed to increase circulation rather than the massage with hands. Often two therapists will work together; one on each side to massage the patient's body in symmetrical strokes. Medicated oils are also used and these are often chosen for their medicinal properties rather than for their fragrances. Massages and treatments such as Shirodhara that involve slowly pour oil or other liquids on the patient's forehead is also common.
Those who have little time to experience Ayurveda in Kerala or who want to discover the benefits of a treatment or massage without engaging in a program can easily visit one of the many centers of state for a massage or while performing Kerala backwaters tour which includes an Ayurvedic massage.
Travelers with severe disease and those who want to de-stress, lose weight, or detoxify often opt for shelters in the longer term for their Ayurvedic treatments. Most centers have doctors on hand to help therapists to design the most appropriate treatment for each client. Most often, these treatment centers are far from glamorous so do not expect a service with rose petals in your bathtub. Accommodation is often in shacks or shared dormitories; the decor is simple or clinic; and the atmosphere is not far from that of traditional austere ashrams and monasteries. Others, like the Kalari Kovilakom Palace Ayurvedic treatment center line of the Ayurveda Healing Village Kairali offer rooms much more comfortable. And even if you opt for treatment in the afternoon rather than a program, you are sure to enjoy some of the many benefits of an Ayurvedic massage. Moreover, this is a great way to stay relaxed and healthy during your trip.