Beware of “Instant” Ayurveda

I recently contacted an ayurvedic day spa in America, hoping to get the owner to be my resource person for a magazine article I was writing.

The pleasant, peppy-voiced owner of the spa spoke to me at length over the phone about how she had set up and built her business, despite the pressures of bringing up two children, keeping house, and adjusting to a different culture (she is from India).

It was all wonderful to know, until she said, ďI added ĎAyurvedicí to my spa name, and thatís when the business really took off. People here are quite taken with that word, you know. Frankly, I didnít even know Ayurveda had all these deep principles!Ē

I listened in stunned silence as she went on to tell me how the Americans stumped her with their questions about the doshas and chakras and such, until she was forced to Google search, make notes and at least demonstrate some verbal knowledge of the subject. Based on her study of similar spas, she downloaded a “Whatís Your Dosha?” form and now hands out the pop-quiz to those who walk in.

This, from the owner of a spa that promised an entire buffet of ayurvedic therapies, including “Shirodhara,” which is a profound and sacred therapy requiring extensive training. By the time she let on, quite cheerfully, that she did that too herself, “with the help of my assistants, of course,” I was too shock-numbed to react.

Now the interesting thing here is, this lady genuinely doesnít think she is shortchanging anyone. That’s because even in India, the birthplace of Ayurveda, this wonderful holistic system of healing has been reduced to what people vaguely call “herbal massage.” Worse, most of this massage isnít even actually “herbal”: almost anyone in need of a job is taught how to knead tired bodies, applying dubious lubes and pastes squeezed out of “herbal” oil and lotion bottles. This is, of course, big business, bringing in big bucks.

Mind you, there isnít any harm done by treating yourself to a good massage at a day spa. For the time-strapped, just the me-time and the temporary relaxation it brings is very welcome. I only wish some of these so called “Ayurveda Spas” would stop disguising simple feel-good massage as something that makes a major difference to your doshas and chakras. I wish they would stop cashing in on a word that embodies an entire ocean of healingÖ

 

70 comments

Margaret F.
Margaret M. F.3 years ago

Thank-you for the article.From those I know who practice Ayurveda I know it is a form of traditional medicine in India & a form of Alternative Medicine elsewhere. Dosha is comprised to 3 body types, Vatta, Pitta, & Kapha, with each being responsible for different bodily systems. Sometimes I simply say it is a way of living, a short answer for those who have difficulty grasping it's concept.

Margaret F.
Margaret M. F.3 years ago

Thank-you for the article.From those I know who practice Ayurveda I know it is a form of traditional medicine in India & a form of Alternative Medicine elsewhere. Dosha is comprised to 3 body types, Vatta, Pitta, & Kapha, with each being responsible for different bodily systems. Sometimes I simply say it is a way of living, a short answer for those who have difficulty grasping it's concept.

Trudy Killa
Trudy Killa3 years ago

Just another way of business. Yes-unfortunately it is up to the buyer to ask the appropriate questions & know what they in fact are paying for. Thanks for the "reality check".

Susan S.
Paul Stephan3 years ago

Buyer beware-

Melissah Chadwick
Past Member 3 years ago

thanks

Kathleen Cazander

Thanks for the article. I think it is all to easy for people to assume that if someone opens a business specializing in something, that they actually have expert knowlege about it.

Teresa Cowley
Teresa Cowley3 years ago

No matter what the "con" happens to be, even a well-revered therapy, there are plenty of people who will see it as "let the buyer beware", and just pocket the bucks!
As some say, "nothing's sacred anymore"--unfortunately, that's true for too many!
Lesson learned and thank you for sharing this lesson with all of us.

Julie H.
Julie Hoffman3 years ago

My bf taught me all about chakras & vibrations and energy. Iv become a much more happy person since then. I ENCOURAGE EVERYONE ON HEAR TO BE OPEN MINDED AND READ ABOUT CHAKRA HEALING. Western culture needs to be aware of this.

Regina P.
Regina P.3 years ago

Thanks., You see this all the time for spas.

Marie W.
Marie W.3 years ago

Good to know.