Softouch Ayurveda Centre at the Kempinski Hotel San Lawrenz Spa in Gozo, Malta is the first authentic Ayurvedic center in the Mediterranean and the largest in Europe.
Although we have never been to Indian (yet), we have long been intrigued with Ayurveda, a five thousand year old holistic system of medicine which originated in South India, in the Kerala region, so we were thrilled to discover that the Kempinski Hotel San Lawrenz has an Ayurvedic centre in their Spa during our stay at the hotel in June 2007.
We arrived at the reception area of the Kempinski Hotel San Lawrenz Spa and were warmly greeted by Dr. S. Vijayakumar BAMS M.D. (A.M.) who escorted us to the Softouch Ayurveda Centre on the second level of the Spa for a consultation to determine which of their wide selection of treatments would be the best for us.
During our consultation, Dr. Vijay explained, "Ayurveda is more than a massage, it is a complete lifestyle. It is a holistic approach to treat the body, mind, and soul through herbs and over 300 types of oil."
The Softouch Ayurveda Centre specializes in the following treatments: Rejuvenation, Aphrodisiac, Skin Care, Body Slimming, Purification Therapy, Spine and Neck Care, Psoriasis Treatment, Sinusitis and Migraine Treatment, Stress and Strain Relief Programs, Body Immunization, Prenatal Care, Postnatal Care, and Arthritis Care.
During the course of our consultation, we expressed that we had pain in our necks from our recent air travel, and a problem with (Edward's) ankle. For our treatments, Dr. Vijay prescribed head and shoulder massages, followed by full-body massages, and finishing with facial massages, which sounded wonderful to us!
Dr. S. Vijayakumar BAMS M.D. and Team
Our therapists, Tinu (for Debra) and Beena (for Edward) led us to separate attractively decorated treatment rooms exotically furnished with carved wood furniture, including massive wood massage tables with navy cushions with silver pots hanging from moveable beams above the tables.
Debra: Tinu gently guided me to a chair where she began my treatment with a head and shoulders massage, and as she worked her magic with ayurvedic oils massaging my head, and working the stiffness out of my neck and shoulders, I immediately began to relax both in mind and body.
For the second part of the treatment, she requested that I recline on the massage table as she continued my treatment with a traditional Elakkizhi massage using ayurvedic oils. As she massaged my body, I dreamily slipped off for a "journey of the mind" to distant Indian, listening to the low Indian music playing in the background, with the light aroma of camphor wafting in the air.
After first massaging my body with the ayurvedic oil, she continued the massage using warm bags filled with fresh lemon, rock salt, coconut, herbal powders, and fresh herbs cooked in ayurvedic oils. This was an interesting part of the treatment as she worked the warm bags over my body gently tapping each part of my body with the bags. Alternately using two warm herb bags, while she passed one bag over my neck, the other bag was heated in the oils. This process continued until she had tapped and rubbed each part of my body with the bags. This massage is for lubricating the joints, relieving pain especially in the back, cleanses the channels of circulation, and expels toxins through sweating.
For the final step of my treatment, Tinu gently poured warm ayurvedic oils on my face, and massaged each contour of my face, and massaged more of the oil into my hair. Completely covered with ayurvedic oils from head to toe, I slowly and ever so carefully rose from the massage table. Tinu draped a large bath sheet around me, and led me off to the steam room, where I joined Edward, so that we could increase the effectiveness of the treatment and the oils.
Edward: Beena and Dr. Vijay escorted me to the treatment room with Dr. Vijay reviewing with Beena the points we spoke about during the consultation. Dr. Vijay talked about the shoulder muscles that needed special attention due to the considerable amount of time I spend in front of a computer, as well as the tender right ankle tendons.
Debra's and my treatments were similar with the exception of the areas that we each noted that required special attention. The Elakkizhi treatment started with special warm Ayurvedic oils being rubbed onto my scalp, which was a very relaxing way to begin. Beena's hands were magic as they got the blood flowing in my scalp, and massaged the oils deep into the roots of my hair that was in dire need of special treatment after spending long hot days in the Mediterranean sun. We moved on to the full body massage with the warm oils rubbed into the muscles and joints, while Beena granted my request for a firm body massage. Special treatment and time was spent on the shoulder muscles, as well as my tender right ankle. The highlight of the treatment was the use of the warm tamped bag of fresh herbs, which were cooked in the Ayurvedic oils, and applied to my skin with firm and even tapping.
After making two scuba dives requiring brief walks carrying heavy tanks and weight belts, the Elakkizhi warm Ayurvedic oil massages were a perfect way to rejuvenate our bodies.
We look forward to returning to the Softouch Ayurveda Centre at the Kempinski Hotel San Lawrenz in the future and experiencing more of their treatments.
In addition to the Softouch Ayurvedic Centre at the Kempinski Hotel San Lawrenz Spa, the Spa also features a Marine Care Center.
Read other articles on the Kempinski Hotel San Lawrenz and the Maltese Islands in the Destinations, Hotels and Resorts, Restaurants, Chefs' Recipes, Spas, and Adventures sections.
Softouch Ayurveda Centre at the Kempinski Hotel San Lawrenz Spa
Kempinski Hotel San Lawrenz
Triq ir-Rokon, San Lawrenz
SLZ1040 Gozo, Malta
For information on the Maltese Islands, please visit: Malta Tourist Authority, www.VisitMalta.com, and Heritage Malta, www.HeritageMalta.org.
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