Ayurveda therapies

Ayurveda Treatments

Learn more about Ayurvedic therapies

What is Ayurveda?

Ayurveda is the ancient Indian holistic healing method, which quite literally translates to the "science of life". Although it has been practiced for thousands of years, it has recently gained notoriety as a natural healing therapy form, used to treat everything from light stress to chronic diseases. Each therapy is individually tailored to treat not only the disease, but the specific body type or constitution, otherwise known as dosha-type. This page will show you what to expect from each Ayurveda treatment and how your Ayurvedic doctor determines which treatments are right for you!


Ayurvedic stamp massage

What can Ayurvedic treatments do for you?

Ayurveda serves to prevent and maintain lasting health, often well into old age. It detoxifies and purifies the body and supports its natural healing process for recovery from acute as well as chronic illnesses.

Ayurvedic treatments have a positive effect on the circulatory systems of the body - blood, lymph and nerves - calming the body and alleviating stress. Ayurvedic massages, for example, have a purifying and regenerating effect, gently relieving tension and pain, tightening the skin and tissues, strengthening the body and thereby having a rejuvenating effect. Anyone who has a stressful job can even prevent a potential burnout with Ayurvedic treatments.


Relaxing ayurvedic treatment

Benefits of regular Ayurveda treatments

People who have discovered  Ayurveda will return again and again, often experiencing improved results over time. Regular Ayurveda treatments can help achieve:

- a smoother and clearer complexion - a rejuvenated appearance,
- a reduction in stress-related symptoms such as headaches, tension, sleep problems, etc.,
- muscles are relaxed and tissues are strengthened,
- the body is detoxified and purified,
- body, mind and soul are restored to harmony and balance,
- healing processes are promoted and the nervous system is strengthened.

Ayurvedic treatments and massages

Ayurvedic diagnosis

Any Ayurvedic treatment begins with a consultation with the Ayurvedic doctor. The guests discuss symptoms and their expectations of the treatment with the practitioner.
Ayurvedic practitioners most commonly use a pulse diagnosis is used to determine the type of constitution and balance of the doshas. This will help them decide which Ayurveda treatments and medicine will help rebalance your mind and body to give you the best results.

In the picture you can see an example of an Ayurvedic diagnosis at Life Ayurveda Resort.

Ayurvedic Diagnosis
Masaje Ayurveda con Aceite


Ayurvedic medicine relies heavily on the use of oils, and recognises them as carriers of healing substances. There are particular oils assigned to each Dosha. Oils can be applied to particular body parts or to the entire body. Abhyanga is a traditional Ayurvedic massage with warm oils.

Ayurveda Oil Forehead Treatment


Shirodhara (shiro-forehead, dhara-flow) is an Ayurvedic treatment in which oil is poured onto the forehead and is acknowledged as the best-known Ayurvedic practice. It is performed with a special mixture of oil and herbs. The recipes vary and some of them are over 2,000 years old! The head massage and continous oil flow calm the nervous system, reduce stress and relieve headaches.

Netra Basti

Netra Basti

According to Ayurveda, the eyes are linked to the sun, so in order to sooth eye complaints, the Pitta Dosha must be brought into balance. During a Netra Basti treatment, the entire eye socket is bathed in a pool of warm ghee, which has a nourishing effect and helps sooth itchy eyes. The treatment usually lasts between 5 and 20 minutes.

Ayurvedic Massage cotton bags

Pinda Sveda

Massages with hot cotton bags filled with herbs are called Pinda Sveda. They are often performed by simultaneously applying two bags to both sides of the body, as shown in the picture. Sometimes two Ayurvedic therapists use four bags to give a full body massage. The aim of this Ayurveda treatment is joint and muscle relaxation, tension release as well as the opening of pores to allow medicinal substances to be absorbed and remove toxins through sweating. There are herbal mixtures with different flavours, tailored towards specific dosha types or ailments.


Ayurvedic Head Treatments

Ayurvedic Head Treatments

Ayurvedic head treatments are versatile. You have already discovered Shirodhara above, but there are also other types of applications with oils and herbs, as seen on the right. There are also many massages of the head in a sitting and lying position. Two well-known names in Ayurvedic head treatments are Shiroabhyanga (massage) and Shirovasti (head treatment with oil). Shiroabhyanga is a head massage, which can be performed lying down as well as in a sitting position. Shirovasti is an oil treatment which uses a wrap to prevent the oil from pouring down your face.

Ayurvedic Herbal Baths

Ayurvedic Herbal Baths

Ayurvedic baths are used to soothe your muscles and relax your body. Flowers are often added to the water along with herbs and oils. The pleasant aroma and warmth of the water allow for revitalisation and pure indulgence.

Pictured is an Ayurvedic flower bath prepared by SpaDreams partner Life Ayurveda Resort in Sri Lanka.

Ayurveda wrap treatment

Ayurvedic Wraps

Ayurvedic treatments include a variety of wraps and body scrubs, with use of natural ingredients which correspond to your dosha type. The main ingredients are herbs and oils. Wraps can be complete body wraps or partial wraps; they vary according to the purpose of the treatment but the ingredients are always natural.

Ayurveda Facial Masks

Ayurvedic Masks

Ayurvedic face masks work in a similar way to conventional face masks. Typical ingredients include healing clay, herbs and oils as well as other natural elements such as algae. The masks soothe, nourish, revitalise, rejuvenate and detoxify skin as well as contributing to mood enhancement and supporting Ayurvedic treatments.

yoga in ayurveda

Yoga and Meditation

Ayurveda doctors will usually recommend yoga and meditation as part of a well-rounded Ayurvedic treatment. Yoga is practised to relax and strengthen muscles through controlled use as well as to increase flexibility. Mental relaxation is attained through meditation. Here you are taught to control emotions and increase mindfulness through practicing awareness and breathing techniques. 


Ayurveda herbs

Ayurvedic medicine

An important part of an Ayurveda programme is Ayurvedic medicine. It is comprised largely of herbs, spices and oils that are specially mixed for each dosha type or medical ailment. The medicine is completely natural and some hotels or Ayurveda hospitals even grow their own herbs or mix their own medicine on site to be used in treatments and medicine. 

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FAQ - Ayurveda Treatments

What are Ayurvedic treatments?

Ayurvedic treatments are forms of recovery according to the ancient Ayurvedic teachings that have been developed in India and Sri Lanka. They are holistic healing methods that aim not only to alleviate symptoms, but also to recognise the origin of diseases and ailments. Ayurvedic teaching is medicine, philosophy of life and healthy lifestyle at the same time.

What types of Ayurvedic treatments are there?

A classical Ayurvedic treatment is a very individual process in which each person is regarded as an individual with his or her own history and environment.

Each treatment is individually adapted to the host, the longer the duration of the treatment, the better the fine adjustment and the result obtained. Due to this degree of individualisation, many hotels, resorts or clinics offer a single programme, which is generally called "Classical Ayurvedic Treatment". However, as not all visitors understand exactly how the individualisation of treatments works and therefore want to know in advance "exactly what they have booked", many hotels have started to directly advertise different programs. The most common are:  

  1. Panchakarma Treatment - the fivefold Ayurvedic purification, also called detoxification treatment
  2. Rasayana Treatment - also called wellness, rejuvenation or relaxation treatment. 
  3. Langhana Treatment - Ayurveda Treatment for weight reduction

In addition to these main foci, there are of course countless other focus areas of Ayurvedic treatments, as diverse and individual as people. Therefore, our advice to you is not to feel irritated by the names of the treatments, the Ayurveda houses that offer a single programme do everything well if this programme is a "classic Ayurvedic treatment". 

Are "Ayurvedic Treatments" and "Ayurvedic Applications" the same?

The term "Ayurvedic treatments" refers to Ayurvedic programmes or treatments. They last between 1 and 6 weeks, being the most popular formats for Europeans of 2-3 weeks, most simply because most of us don't have an infinite number of vacation days. 

By "Ayurvedic applications" we mean the individual components of Ayurvedic treatments. These are the daily curative treatments, of which there are a large number. Well-known examples are the pouring of oil on the forehead (Shirodhara) or the different oil massages (Abhyangas). For more information on individual Ayurvedic treatments, please visit our Ayurvedic treatments gallery.

What's so special about Ayurvedic treatments?

The special feature of Ayurvedic treatments is the high degree of individualisation. Not only the treatments themselves, but also the herbs and oils used can be specially adapted and put together for each guest. In addition, the friendliness of Ayurvedic doctors and therapists is simply legendary, something we are accustomed to from many parts of the world today and which we love even more.

Where do Ayurvedic treatments come from?

Ayurvedic treatments are based on Ayurvedic teachings. The word "Ayurveda" (Sanskrit, m., आयुर्वेद) translated means "knowledge of life" and is therefore a traditional health teaching. The origins of Ayurvedic teachings date back to the 2nd millennium B.C. and the earliest health texts can be dated to the year 500 B.C.. These teachings have been developed and refined to this day. Although it probably originated in northern India, Ayurveda is lived and applied today with special intensity in Kerala, southern India and Sri Lanka.

Where can I perform Ayurvedic treatments?

Those who want to enjoy and experience Ayurvedic treatments in their place of origin should book a trip to India or Sri Lanka. Ayurvedic treatments there are traditionally the most authentic and widespread. Since Ayurvedic treatments are so popular all over the world, other health hotels around the world have long developed a taste for traditional Ayurvedic treatments. When this happens at a high level, there is usually a whole team of doctors and therapists who have been trained in India or Sri Lanka and have many years of experience, as well as Ayurvedic chefs.

Who benefits from Ayurvedic treatments?

Ayurvedic treatments are good for everyone. It is a healthy lifestyle and a philosophy of healthy living. Since Ayurvedic treatments are often used to alleviate illness, it is sometimes a mistake to think that it is not for healthy people as well. It is good for all of us to eat well, sleep well enough, be in harmony with ourselves, reduce stress and be active. Since Ayurvedic treatments are much more than the sum of their prescribed applications, they do us good in all situations.

How many Ayurvedic applications are performed per day with a classic Ayurveda treatment?

This question occurs very often, especially when it comes to comparing the different Ayurvedic treatments. The number of applications always seems to be a clear "fact" that can be easily compared. But the quality of an Ayurvedic treatment cannot be measured in this way. Here are some explanations:

  • Ayurvedic treatment is performed in stages, each stage has its own applications with their own meaning. Since not all stages are equal, not all applications are equal in complexity and duration. If you are talking about a 3-week treatment with approximately 3-4 applications per day, you should be dealing with an approximate average, with 5 applications on one day and 2 on the next. 
  • Ayurvedic applications themselves have different durations and intensities. A good example:

  • Two friends book an Ayurvedic holiday together. Although they are the same age, they have different health problems, one is tense and very stressed by computer work and constant pressure, the second fights against allergies, frequent headaches and sinus inflammations.

  • The first receives an Abhyanga on day X, a synchronous full body oil massage, a massage by two therapists for just over an hour on the whole body. Her friend has performed 5 treatments at the same time, a head massage, a foot massage, a nasal rinse, a sinus massage and a packet of herbs on the neck. 
  • Both feel great afterwards because the treatments were tailored to their specific needs. Now, can you tell if 1 or 5 treatments are better?

Who decides Ayurvedic treatments I receive?

The decision about which Ayurvedic treatment is best for you rests with the Ayurvedic physician. He also determines the number and order of Ayurvedic treatments. This occurs after the so-called "initial consultation". This can be compared to the "anamnesis" when you visit a new doctor. Together they talk about their medical history, their current health problems and what they expect from the Ayurvedic treatment.

Tip: Be prepared, open, and honest. If you don't tell the doctor that you’re suffering from lower back pain, he won't be able to help you get rid of this pain.

The treatment plan established by the doctor is usually not carved in stone, and the doctor will usually talk to you every few days to ask how the current treatment is affecting you, what is good for you, and what is not. The plan will be adjusted according to your comments. The longer the treatment, the better the outcome.

Who performs Ayurvedic treatments/applications?

The Ayurvedic physician will draw up the treatment plan and determine which oils and herbs will be used especially for you. Ayurvedic therapists carry out the treatments. Like the doctor, they are extensively trained for this, have studied in Ayurveda academies and have years of experience.

Attention: In India and Sri Lanka in general men treat men and women treat women. If men should massage women (because they have more strength), then women are asked beforehand and should agree. For cultural reasons, women never massage or treat men. Nor is it appreciated when men explicitly ask women to massage them.

Why is the Dosha type important in Ayurvedic treatments?

For many guests the Dosha type is something like a zodiac sign. It is exciting when the doctor reveals the Dosha type and interesting to identify the guests with the same Dosha type. This is fun, but should not be exaggerated.

As an experienced Ayurvedic physician once explained to us, Doshas are actually like glasses through which one looks at certain aspects of a person to learn something about their health. There is absolutely no question of dividing people into groups and no Dosha is better than another. The highest goal of Ayurveda is the healthy balance of all the Doshas with each other.

During Ayurvedic treatment, Dosha is used to determine certain herbs and oils that have a high probability of being beneficial and are meant to rebalance the body.

In addition to these considerations, which for the host usually take place almost invisibly in the background, the type of Dosha is usually relevant at mealtime. In most hotels there is an Ayurvedic buffet and dishes are labelled according to Doshas, for example with colours. The Ayurvedic doctor will tell you which dishes are suitable for you.

What is the best time for an Ayurvedic treatment?

There are three approaches to answer this question.

When are Ayurvedic treatments particularly medically effective?

The most important aspect is moisture. The more humid the air, the better Ayurvedic oils can get into the skin and do their job. Therefore, many experts recommend Ayurveda in the rainy season. Since the occupancy rate in hotels is usually not as high at this time, doctors and therapists often have a little more time for each guest.

What is the best time to combine Ayurvedic treatments with a holiday?

Most guests do Ayurvedic treatments in India and Sri Lanka from November to March. Christmas and New Year's Eve are especially popular. It's just so much fun to escape the cold and grey winter and let yourself be pampered at almost 40 degrees.

When are Ayurvedic treatments particularly economical?

The Ayurvedic low season coincides with the rainy season. Although a treatment in a humid climate is better for the body, most guests simply don't want tropical rain during their vacation. Therefore, the months from May to August are often the cheapest and tend to cost half as much as December/January.

Are Ayurvedic treatments unpleasant or tiring?

Yes, sometimes, but only a little. With the classic 2-3-week Ayurvedic treatments there is a phenomenon called "memory pain" in the first phase, which usually lasts 2-3 days. Through special applications in this phase, everything that is not in balance appears in the body. It's perfectly normal that you don't feel so good these days.

As soon as the next phase of treatment begins, all these things are immediately balanced and improved. At the end of the treatment, the guests feel revitalized and in great shape.

Tip: Does Ayurvedic Massage Harm You? Every person is unique when it comes to massage. Some like it really firm, others just like to be gently stroked. The feeling is just different. If the Ayurveda therapist massages too hard or too weakly, just let them know. He likes to adapt to what is pleasing to you.

What diseases are treated with Ayurvedic treatment?

Since Ayurvedic teaching is a fully developed healing art, there are approaches and treatment options for almost every disease and life situation. If you would like to receive information about specific diseases or ailments, please let us know and we will contact our Ayurvedic doctors. They can then decide whether it makes sense to treat your condition with Ayurveda.

Here is a list of diseases or symptoms that can usually be treated with Ayurveda:

  • Rheumatic complaints and pains of the musculoskeletal system
  • Symptoms of menopause
  • Psoriasis
  • Stress and exhaustion
  • Migraine and sleep disorders
  • Overweight

The classic contraindications of Ayurvedic treatments are the following:

  • Severe acute infections
  • Open wounds
  • Cancer (if chemotherapy is not completed)

Is Ayurvedic treatment useful soon after chemotherapy?

In general, this can be answered with a "yes". After full chemotherapy, it is usually about strengthening and detoxifying the body again. Here an Ayurvedic treatment can be significant, as relaxation and healthy cooking, rich in fruits and vegetables, help build a new vitality. In principle, however, anyone interested should discuss this with their doctor beforehand. The effort of an air travel and the warm climate should not be underestimated, it is important that the doctor considers that you are strengthened enough to start such a journey.

Do Ayurvedic treatments also benefit healthy people?

Of course! Ayurvedic treatment is good for everyone, regardless of their physical condition or age. After all, it is about living healthier and being in positive harmony with yourself. A little relaxation and a pleasant tropical rest from everyday life is always helpful.

Are Ayurvedic treatments also suitable for European patients?

Yes, an Ayurvedic treatment is suitable for people all over the world. Treatments and also nutrition are good for all of us. However, if you want to adopt a permanent Ayurvedic lifestyle, you have to adapt what you have learned in India and Sri Lanka to your own environment. For example, Ayurvedic cooking allows locally available fruits and vegetables to be consumed seasonally, as our organism adapts better to them in the course of evolution. Don't worry if you can't find all the Indian vegetables in the European supermarket. The doctors at Ayurveda hotels will be happy to give you advice on how to continue some techniques at home after an Ayurvedic treatment. So you can extend the relaxation of the treatment as long as possible at home.

How can I prepare for Ayurvedic treatments?

In any case, it makes sense to prepare for the initial examination with the Ayurvedic doctor. Make a list of your most important health problems and consider what you expect from the treatment. Since doctors often speak English, it is also a good advice to have the most important medical terms in English. If you have recently had surgery or broken bones, x-rays will also help your doctor.

For travel clothing during an Ayurvedic treatment, the following applies: naturalness and relaxation. Ayurveda vacations are not a beauty contest and hotels are rather natural and casual. Wear comfortable, wide clothing made of natural fibres such as cotton. Remember that especially underwear can become very greasy due to massage. For yoga and meditation, which usually take place in the morning at dawn or at night at dusk, you should also plan on comfortable and flexible clothing and a light jacket (if the sun is gone, it often cools quickly). You can take extra yoga clothing with you if you already have it, but you don't need to buy it.

Also consider mosquito repellent or mosquito spray. Since mosquitoes are usually active at dusk, the wide, light clothing that covers the arms and legs also helps here. We invite you to see our detailed list of what to bring to your Ayurveda trip.  

What should I bear in mind when booking an Ayurvedic treatment / How can I recognise professional Ayurvedic treatments?

Due to the popularity of Ayurvedic treatments, offers have increased considerably in recent years. Unfortunately, not all of these offers are serious and reliable. Therefore, we will give you some tips that will help you identify serious and authentic offers:

  • Ayurveda hotels in India and Sri Lanka must be inspected and certified by the respective government authorities.
  • Upon request, you should receive information about the Ayurvedic doctors and, if applicable, their training and professional experience.
  • At least one Ayurvedic doctor and several therapists should be permanently in the house and not just come for treatments.
  • Ayurvedic treatments will only be determined after the initial consultation with the doctor. (If the applications have already been determined in advance, it will be a wellness stay, not authentic Ayurveda).
  • In addition to treatments, Ayurvedic cuisine should also be offered. (This is sometimes not valid for European hotels, when it comes to Ayurveda wellness)
  • A truly effective Ayurvedic treatment should include daily yoga (and/or meditation), but at least 4 times a week.
  • Taking Ayurvedic (herbal) medications may be part of the treatment, but it is never mandatory. If Ayurvedic medicines are available, the hotel should be able to provide information on their provenance and production.

By the way: When you book with SpaDreams, of course we have already checked the hotel for you and you can be sure that both the hotel and the reserved Ayurvedic treatments actually exist. 

How do you recognise questionable Ayurvedic treatments?

After we've explained earlier how to recognise good programmes, here's a list of tips you should be suspicious of: 

  • There is no Ayurvedic doctor in the hotel. 
  • The website seems very dubious, is poorly translated and the information is sometimes contradictory. 
  • Emails to the hotel are not answered at all, incompletely, maliciously or only after several days. 
  • Only the Ayurveda hotel can be found on the hotel website itself, it is not mentioned or listed anywhere else. 
  • You will not receive any information about certification by Ayurveda authorities in India or Sri Lanka.

How much does a (good) Ayurvedic treatment cost?

It is impossible to give a general average here. The following factors have a decisive influence on the price of Ayurvedic treatments:

  1. Seasonality: In the rainy season (usually from May to August) it is very possible that you will pay only half of what you would pay during the high season (December to March).
  2. Hotel facilities: There are many very small and very simple Ayurvedic houses. Often with less than 20 rooms. The equipment is therefore rather rustic, much wood and not particularly luxurious. In these hotels the Ayurvedic treatment usually costs considerably less, which does not mean that it does not have to be of absolutely good quality. Tip: Take a close look at the photos of the simple hotels, so you can check details such as cleanliness.
  3. Hotel comfort: If you want a little luxury, you have to pay something for it, also in Asia. There are luxurious Ayurvedic dream hotels and some of them still offer good and authentic treatments despite all the luxury, but these also have their price. Where 5-star Ayurveda is offered at a discounted price, you should be sceptical.
  4. Prestige of hotel or doctor: Some Ayurveda houses and/or their doctors enjoy a great reputation all over the world. This leads to a strong demand and, therefore, higher prices.


Are non-vegetarian foods prohibited in Ayurvedic treatments?

Ayurvedic cuisine is traditionally vegetarian, but very tasty thanks to many spices, vegetables and fruits. Most guests don't miss the meat, even if they can't believe it at first. Some Ayurvedic hotels now offer dishes with white fish and chicken. This is usually a small compromise, as both are mostly compatible with Ayurvedic principles.

Is alcohol forbidden in Ayurvedic treatments?

Yes, alcohol and the Ayurvedic diet do not go well together. In traditional Ayurvedic hotels, therefore, alcohol is not served at all. In some hotels that offer Ayurveda but also other types of holidays, there may be a small bar, but often the staff is instructed not to serve alcoholic beverages to Ayurveda guests.

Is smoking prohibited during Ayurvedic treatments?

Smoking is not considered healthy either according to Ayurvedic teachings. It is therefore forbidden to smoke in the very strict Ayurveda houses throughout the hotel grounds. Some other houses tolerate smoking in certain hidden areas in the garden or in front of the hotel.

Perhaps you should use an Ayurvedic treatment for several weeks to get used to not smoking.

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