The nurture in the nature : 

Chiang Mai’s Rajeev Suchada Ayurveda Holistic Healing Centre will get you back in balance

Veena Thoopkrajae

The Nation on Sunday
Chiang Mai June 30, 2013 1:00 am


Rajeev and Suchada Marwah, a married couple and both doctors, are walking advertisements for the benefits of ayurveda healing. Seemingly ageless and full of energy, they routinely go for treatments, a habit their two children have also adopted.

Not that ayurveda gets all the credit for their youthful vigour. They also owe much to its inherent philosophy that the body’s systems must be in balance. So their lifestyle, including diet, takes the same holistic course. They drink a lot of warm water, for example, and their tea is caffeine-free.

The couple greets visitors to the Rajeev Suchada Ayurveda Holistic Healing Centre in Chiang Mai with a cheerful calm. I felt immediately reassured that the three-day “Anti-ageing” programme I’d signed up for would be worthwhile.

The programme goes well beyond the trendy “beauty” aspect of anti-ageing treatments. It’s a clock-stopper for your body’s deterioration, harnessing each individual’s unique combination of energies and putting them in balance.

The main goal of ayurvedic practice is to cleanse the body of substances and emotions that cause damage. This programme, organised in cooperation with the La Villetta boutique hotel, is a chance to rehabilitate your tired body. The three days are spent undergoing seven hours of treatment with the two doctors and resting at the hotel.

I turned into a complete sleepyhead after each day’s session.

I was flabbergasted that I could fall asleep so easily – anytime of the day or night. Fifteen-minute naps became common, as did climbing into bed at 10pm. The doctors say everyone has a different reaction, though, as they go through what they call a “healing crisis”.

“Your body is undergoing changes, and reactions will vary from one person to another,” Suchada said. “Some have a better appetite, some just get a headache.”

I underwent my first treatment with the Marwahs many years ago when they worked at the Mandarin Oriental Dhara Dhevi Chiang Mai’s Holistic Centre and Spa. It was a one-off, with only a brief preliminary health check, that brought no significant results apart from relaxation and calmness. But Suchada said they have since developed methods that offer better results. They use an essential, premium-grade Ayu-brand oil that’s sold at their centre.

This time I went through a complete health check, Suchada taking my pulse from hands, feet and head. She had a good look at my tongue, lips, nails, skin and spine. There was a bit of pain as she pressed my feet, but I presumed she could tell in advance where it was going to hurt most. Amazingly, all this poking around told Suchada the precise stage of my health.

Next she evaluated the energy flow at my chakras, the body’s main centres of vitality also known as marmas. If the energy is blocked when your system is out of balance, it stays in the stomach, chest, neck, back and knees, causing trouble. Physical imbalance typically shows up as migraines, constipation, backache and insomnia, and the cure, the doctors stressed, begins with a better diet, other lifestyle changes, and getting the right treatments.

During my stay I received three marma treatments for the body and the head, though the focus varied. My chronically stiff shoulders were targeted for an ayurvedic massage. The therapist used a poultice of rice and herbs to press quite a lot of warm oil into my skin – all of which was quickly absorbed, leaving no sense of greasiness. You’re advised not to wash the residue off for at least two hours, but it felt so good that I didn’t wash until bedtime.

In another treatment, rarely seen in Thailand, a ring of bread dough was placed on my hurtful upper back as I lay face down. It formed a barricade, a pool into which warm oil was poured a drop at a time. It felt great. Suchada said this would enhance the energy flow by opening the marma at that juncture.

The head treatment utilises a combination of pure oils of lavender, bergamot, rosewood, sunflower, coconut, wheatgerm and grapeseed, dropped on the forehead. People aren’t kidding when they say this is relaxing – I slept through most of the session. “It’s good you can fall asleep,” Suchada said. “It shows that your body is in need of rest – and that you trust your therapist!”

Rajeev explained that the heat of the applications is crucial to getting the herbs into the skin. “It’s not so different from Chinese remedies, but instead we use oil,” he said. While the Chinese create a vacuum against the skin with heated cups to draw out toxins, the oil press exhumes them in such small quantities that “you don’t see the detoxification progress”.

Day 2 was devoted to working up a tailor-made nutrition and lifestyle chart based on my first-day assessment and my personal element, known as a dosha. The aim is to stop your energy from deteriorating. The fundamental advice is to avoid coffee, strong tea, alcohol and tobacco – “in short, all stimulants”, Suchada said.

You need to get plenty of sleep and eat regularly, too. Food should be freshly cooked and easily digested – nothing frozen or instant because it lacks the energy that comes from the original life form.

Also, no TV set in the bedroom if you want to sleep soundly, and no smart phone or any other gadget that emits electromagnetic energy. “After a treatment you should switch off all devices because otherwise you might get headache,” Suchada warned.

It’s a recommendation I was happy to accept after getting so well rested. All devices are now switched off at night. Don’t even think about calling me.

Divine dining

Every meal should have all six tastes, but nothing in excess.

Meals should be light and regular. Fill half the stomach with food and a quarter with water. The rest stays empty for easier digestion.

Have breakfast before 9am, lunch between noon and 2 and dinner before 6, or at least four hours before going to bed.

Food should be fresh – no canned or frozen.

Food should be prepared and consumed with love, harmony and gratitude. Never eat when irritated or otherwise upset.

Avoid TV, loud music, arguments and the Internet while eating.

Never have ice-cold water. Sip warm water instead.

Don’t eat food you don’t like – it leaves body and soul dissatisfied.

Don’t mix hot and cold, as in hot noodles and iced drinks, or milk with sour fruit, meat or yoghurt. Don’t have potatoes with eggs, milk, banana or melons. Eggplant doesn’t like eggs, milk, banana or melons. Yoghurt disdains sour fruit, meat, fish, cheese and hot drinks.

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