The Birla Kerala Vaidyashala has a new branch at Kandivali where they offer a 2-hour treatment named after a Sanskrit blessing that means, may you live long
Having strangers strip down to bare essentials within minutes of meeting them, can't be an easy way to make a living or an acquaintance. But there we were playing strangers to two smiling massage therapists who seemed baffled by our reluctance to let go off the thin, cotton towel they provided us with.
The colourful marigolds that had been carefully scattered on the wooden massage table were swiftly put aside. We were asked to sit in the centre for our treatment, the Ayushman Bhava, that starts with a 10-minute head massage. Oil is clearly not in short supply here as you will have copious amounts poured, massaged and slathered on to your skin in an attempt to rid your body of toxins.
After you are oiled and relatively inhibition-free, comes the soothing face massage. The excess oil is gently wiped off your face, and a therapist applies a medicated face pack made from natural ingredients to cool your skin.
If you prefer, they could start with Shirodhara, a therapy that involves pouring warm, medicated oil in a steady stream over the forehead for several minutes. Shirodhara is supposed to help heal the body of a range of lifestyle-related diseases including stress, anxiety and depression.
Once the treatment is over, you can head straight for a bath to try and get rid of at least some of that powerful-smelling oil. It takes more than two scrub-downs and shampooing, so you might want to put those party-after-massage plans on hold for another 24 hours.
Bathed and dried, we had some grey ash-looking powder smeared in the middle of our forehead to ward off colds, like evil. The 90-minute treatment is relaxing and the perfect way to allow the hustle of everyday living to fade, even if temporarily, from your memory.