Friday, August 05, 2005

Vishesh Swedna means thank you...


I love massages. You don’t need a reason to get a massage. This was my first foray into Ayurvedic massage. Ayurvedic massage is a Hindu based system of medicine and health that focuses on balance and natural rhythm. I was curious and signed up for a vigorous rhythmic massage with hot oils followed by an herbal steam. This massage is called a Vishesh Swedna. I don't know what that means in Hindu but that's the sound you make when you try to say thank you at the end of the session. It was one of the most relaxing all over body massages I have every received.

Most massages leave you relaxed and tired. This massage left you relaxed and invigorated (and starving).

Prior to your massage you shower and remove all makeup and hair products. It is also suggested that you eat a light meal and cleanse your bowels, which if you’re following along, was not do-able for me. I did however, eat lightly. I’m not sure if it was a combination of the massage and the mini-fast but I had a ravenous appetite afterwards.

When you arrive, you complete a self-assessment on your dosha. My therapist, Amy explained that all bodily processes are governed by a dosha. There are 3 doshas and although we all have all 3 doshas, our constitution has a dominant dosha. Our dominant dosha or for some their dual dosha helps the Ayurvedic therapist choose the best combination of herbal oils to help balance your bodies needs.

I’m sure this an oversimplification but I wasn’t going to pay an extra $155.00 for the full assessment. Anyway, from my one page checklist quiz, I was analyzed to be a Pitta which means I’m governed by fire and water. “Pitta controls our metabolism.” I wanted to tell her that my Pitta needs some help since I haven’t pooped in days but felt it was a little too much information.

Looking back, I’m sure this piece of information wouldn’t be too invasive seeing that she spent 20 minutes vigorously rubbing my breasts. I don’t know where she comes from but what she was doing to my breast in my world is called foreplay.

For the next hour, I was stripped naked, doused with the warmest herbal oil concocted and massaged until I had an out of body experience. Unlike other massages I’ve had, this massage consisted of a lot of oil. I mean a lot of oil. I’m talking stain the sheets oil and this oil was hot. I now know how a VO5 hot oil tube feels like. She started with a vigorous 6 point scalp massage that totally loosened my muscles. She then continued hemisphere by hemisphere to my feet. At one point, she massaged a point between my toes that sent a surge of energy up my leg. It was as if she released some blockage of energy that was stuck between my toes.

When I thought it couldn’t get any better, she placed a tent over my body and began a humidifier like contraption by my feet. They keep your head out of the tent so you look like your about to be sawed in half. Ta da. Am I the only one with Gob withdrawal? I can't wait for AD to start up again. It was like a giant clothes steamer but filled with herbs that are supposed to pull out the toxins from my blood. The herbs must be the same herbs my Grandmother used to make my special soup with once a month. They smelt just the same. According to my Grandmother the special soup was supposed to pull the toxins out of my blood and help replenish my system after my period. I just remember it tasted disgustingly bitter. Between oral consumption and a steam bath, I’ll take the steam bath.

“Now to regulate your temperature, we will be placing ice packs on your pubic bone and heart to avoid overheating.” “Oh, ok.” It wasn’t as shocking as you’d think folks. Those things felt wonderful. You know how you sweat profusely and sometimes have a hard time breathing in a sauna? Well, you don’t feel that way at all with the ice packs strategically placed. Sure you sweat. That’s the point of the steam tent but you don’t feel hot or cold. You just feel right. Periodically, Amy would place a cold towel on my forehead and face and it felt wonderful. Apparently the steam, the ice packs and the herbs did a number on me because I woke up a half hour later in a daze. Amy was toweling the sweat off me and wrapping me in a warm sheet.

Amy left me with a list of suggested massage oils and a note that the toxins may expel from my system that evening as loose stool. Apparently, shit seems to be in the brain here. Amy directed me to the door and I shuffled my way back to my room to meet with Judy who had a hot stone massage.

For the rest of the afternoon, Judy and I were in a euphoric daze. By dinner, I started feeling a natural high. It was like I was feeling the effects of caffeine except I was starving. I mean starving. Judy was surprised to see me eat everything in sight.

The after effects continued through the night. I was totally invigorated and was unable to fall asleep until 1:30am. Unfortunately, programs end at 9:45 so I was left to entertain myself with a copy of Oprah and a bag of half eaten chips.