First of all, may I beg your pardon… It has taken me a full 48 hours to get round to writing this blog post. Partly, I admit, because I’ve been mighty busy. But also partly because (a) I was so spaced out post-massage on Wednesday, I couldn’t have written anything sensible, and (b) I’ve been processing the entire experience almost non-stop since.
A brief explanation about Ayurvedic treatments may be in order here. Ayurveda is a holistic science of health, founded 5-6,000 years ago by Indian monks, which focuses on maintaining a physically and emotionally balanced state. Ayurveda is based on the principles of three doshas – the energies that make up every individual, determining physiological and personality traits, as well as general likes and dislikes.
I love all this stuff! My closest friends are all aware of my ‘woo-woo’ tendencies… my belief in angels, crystals, tarot (more on that in a later blog), alternative and holistic therapies. And I do like a good massage. So to receive a voucher for a 90 minute Marmabyanga – Full Body Ayurvedic Massage at Aroma in Pontcanna as part of my birthday present from my lovely friends, was just spot on.
After a suitably upmarket coffee and cake on Pontcanna Street, I arrived at Aroma where I was greeted by my therapist, Jade, and shown to the treatment room. Immediately the ambience was relaxing. Jade asked me to sit in a carved wooden chair with inset crystals, and began to ask me a series of questions designed to ascertain my dosha. She asked me about my eyes and skin, about my joints, my sleep patterns and body temperature, my bowel movements (!), my weather preferences and finally a little about my temperament. She then explained that my dosha was predominantly ‘Pitta’ and proceeded to enumerate some of the typical ‘Pitta’ qualities. It was as if she was reading me like a book… Amongst ‘Pitta’ traits are:
Sharp mind, good concentration powers; Orderly, focused; Assertive, self-confident, and entrepreneurial at their best; Aggressive, demanding, pushy when out of balance; Competitive, enjoy challenges; Passionate and romantic; Strong digestion, strong appetite, get irritated if they have to miss or wait for a meal; When under stress, Pittas become irritated and angry; Good public speakers; Generally good management and leadership ability, but can become authoritarian; Subject to temper tantrums, impatience, and anger; Typical physical problems include rashes or inflammations of the skin, acne, heartburn, acid stomach, insomnia, dry or burning eyes… Yup. That sounds like me!!
Next, Jade explained that determining my dosha would allow her to identify the ‘marma points’ on which to work during the massage. Marma therapy is based on the utilization of 107 points in the body which are considered to be access points to body, mind, and consciousness. It works on the principle that where a strong blow can cause injury, a mild touch can cause healing. Massaging the correct marma points can ‘unblock’ a person and allow the flow of ‘prana’, a universal energy which flows in currents in and around the body. Just listening to her calm but convincing explanations was beginning to relax me, and the massage hadn’t even started yet!
I was left to undress and lie on the couch under the blanket, face down. Warm massage oil was poured onto my back and Jade began to work her magic – starting on my hips and legs, working up my back and sides. Apparently the hips are a common blockage point and mine were no exception… I was duly pummelled. My shoulders were next – what a crunching there was! Arms, neck and head (bliss). Over onto my back… I was so relaxed by this point, I can’t actually tell you what happened next (feet? legs?)…but the hour was blissful and over far too quickly.
I was left to get dressed again, but just before she left the room Jade made a few comments. The first, which made me smile, was that my shoulders, though obviously tense, seemed ‘to be used to carrying stress’ and she had the feeling that I just accepted stress as a part of life, dealt with it, and got on. Heck…spot on again. She also warned me that I might feel ‘light’ for a while after the treatment. Light??? If I tell you that having dressed slowly and had a glass of water in the treatment room, I got as far as the reception desk before I had to sit down and have another glass of water…that was the start of ‘light’. And when I left the salon, I had to go and sit on a park bench in Pontcanna Fields for a good 20 minutes before I felt safe to get behind the wheel of my car! I definitely felt ‘light’ all evening on Wednesday; and pretty much all of Thursday my mood was elevated. Oh and I peed for Britain 😉
I have had many massages. A couple have been very memorable. This one definitely ranks amongst the memorable ones. I haven’t stopped raving about it to family and colleagues, and I fully intend to treat myself to a Marmabyanga again. Thank you Jade, and thank you to everyone who contributed to this experience. Highly recommended.
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