Ayurvedic holiday in Sri Lanka: oasis of bliss

Ayurveda is the most ancient and best known holistic approach to well-being and health. A few decades ago, this ancient science from the Indian subcontinent experienced a veritable renaissance, and found a great many followers in the West too. The Lotus Villa in Sri Lanka offers the opportunity for disabled people to indulge in a therapeutic wellness holiday following Ayurvedic principles.

The tub is surrounded by a sea of flowers, the air is full of aromatic scent. Local Ayurveda therapists strew more and more blossoms onto the water's surface, leaving only Christiane's head visible. And her head too, is adorned with blossoms. "I felt curiously like Cleopatra", says Christiane of her experience. An Ayurveda therapy at Lotus Villa on Sri Lanka ensures your wellbeing factor reaches hitherto unknown heights, hardly surprising if you take into account that its sole purpose is to achieve unity of mind, body, and soul.

The Lotus Villa, far from the bustling tourist centers, offers exactly the right ambience. The warm air gently caresses the skin, exotic birdsong fills the air, and the garden with its abundance of blooming plants soothes the eye. The rooms are approached through the garden and are not only very comfortable, but are filled with fresh flowers every day. If you leave your windows open you can hear the waves of the Indian Ocean - and who would even think of shutting the windows, in this beautifully warm and scented air! This must be as close to paradise as you can get on Earth.

"Eat like God in France"

Ayurveda is the science of longevity (ayus = life, veda = knowledge) and is much more than just another health fad in our modern, fast-paced world. Ayurveda has a truly holistic approach to life. Everything must be in balance. Thus, an Ayurvedic holiday doesn't just consist of a few treatments, but defines the entire day, including the diet. It starts by determining the "dosh" (basic energy type) of each participant. At the Lotus Villa this is accompanied by an in-depth consultation with an experienced Ayurveda practitioner. There are three doshas, each of which requires different therapies, medication, and food.

The key element of Ayurveda therapy is the massages. This involves rubbing oils into the person's body. These are specially mixed for each individual and are delivered into the body through the massage. In order to develop their full effect, the oils must remain on the skin for two hours. Best known and most "soothing" is the "royal massage" where warm oils are gently poured over the front of your head. Other types of treatment, such as "pichu" take a bit of getting used to: In this therapy, a kind of paste - again individually prepared - is dabbed onto the affected body areas, where they need to remain for two hours. This is usually done on the arms and legs only, though exceptionally also on the face.

The therapy is further supported by a specially formulated medicine which you take three times per day. It may not always be to the person's taste, but as it is taken immediately before a delicious meal it normally doesn't cause much anguish. All three daily meals are plentiful and varied - nothing but local cuisine of course. Vegetables are prepared in many different ways, and are normally accompanied by chicken, fish, tofu and rice. However, each person is asked to eat in line with his or her particular dosha, and that means you have to go without some of the delicacies that you might actually fancy.

Boat trip to the lagoon

After the final application, the Ayurveda participants have the rest of the day to themselves. The contemplative atmosphere of the establishment induces most people to occupy their free time for a relaxing parlor game, or a good book. But the Lotus Villa's Austrian-born manager also offers excursions. So you may wish to visit an ancient Buddhist monastery, or a silk factory. Another attraction is the weekly street market held in one of the villages nearby. And a special highlight is the boat trip to a lagoon where you can watch the sunrise early in the morning.

"The Ayurveda holiday is a very special event every time", says Michael Geiss from mare nostrum travel. And he should know, since for him, like for many of his guests, this is not the first time he's been here. mare nostrum enjoys a good reputation as a travel agent catering for disabled holidaymakers - so you can have full confidence in them organizing your Ayurveda holiday at Lotus Villa. "The establishment is totally wheelchair-proof, and if needed, we can offer a range of services to help with special needs", confirms Michael Geiss.

Author: Volker Neumann
Source: HANDICAP magazine, the Magazine for quality of life, Issue 3/2004