The first question I was asked in Kerala (apart from “Taxi, Madame?”) was “Are you doing treatment?” No Sir. I had considered strolls through crowded Indian towns, beach, sunset, green coconuts, the finest of fabrics, coffee, backwaters, tea plantations and spices. No treatment.
After discussing Ayurveda over dinner, P. and I decided to get an herbal opinion on our typical western immune systems, shattered by a bouquet of different antibiotics.
KIMS (Kerala Institute of Medical Science) is one of the best hospitals in Asia and frequently visited by the Arab world and their delicate hearts. More importantly, they have an Ayurvedic department of similar standards. Never seen any of those outside India, even though Ayurveda is the oldest of the six recognized systems of medicine. About 5000 years old, to be more specific.
This is where I met Dr. Bindu. The most beautiful doctor I have ever seen, wrapped in a green silk saree, accompanied by a team of pharmacists and therapists. She smiles, asks many questions and – zack, vipps, voilà, there I was, a member of the treatment crowd.
I have been in the Panchakarma Theatre daily since then and never have I experienced anything this delicious (oils, incenses, massages) and disgusting (medicine) at the same time. I liked the ricepuffs with the hot lemon oil and loved the 45 minutes of cooling buttermilk mixed with my own personal medicine running over my forehead.
Now I feel different. Clean and calm and energetic, riding back to my little village in an old Ambassador.
I can only recommend these treatments – to those comfortable with only a fraction of a blanket separating four therapeutic hands from their naked self. Women hands for me, mens hands for P..
– and I recommend some preparation before booking anything from Europe. Traditional treatments have become a big business in Kerala (maybe beaten by houseboats and “fruitsalad, madame”). Selfmade and real Gurus wait on every street corner for Westerners gone astray, yearning to bump into themselves – somewhere between jewellery shop and sunset.