The seasoned therapist was treating me to an Udwarthanam therapeutic massage (Urdhwa which means upward and Varthanam which means transfer in Sanskrit). This Ayurvedic therapeutic deep-tissue therapeutic massage has a variety of purported advantages, together with treating lymphatic congestion, managing weight, and exfoliating pores and skin to go away it smooth and radiant.
The irony was not misplaced on me: Right here I used to be in Thailand, and as an alternative of receiving one of many conventional Thai massages that the nation is revered for, I opted for Ayurvedic therapy. Rising up, I discovered easy methods to make the most of Ayurvedic medication and strategies as a part of my every day routine—my mother would put together a potion of turmeric, almonds, saffron, and sizzling water (or milk) to deal with unhealthy coughs and sore throats, or grind up cardamom seeds with ginger to treatment an upset abdomen. As Ayurvedic medication continues to change into mainstream, I’ve struggled with the superb line between what I do know to be “genuine” versus trendy variations. So, when introduced with a full menu of therapy choices at this Thai wellness facility, I used to be inclined to attempt one thing most acquainted to me.
Seems, the therapy was much more acquainted to me than I spotted—and regardless of being hundreds of miles from dwelling, it related me to my household and my roots. After getting back from my journey, I discovered that my late grandmother repeatedly obtained Udwarthanam massages to handle her weight and help with being pregnant problems associated to her polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), a situation I even have.
In India, PCOS was as soon as thought-about taboo, and the discourse round it was restricted, if not nonexistent. My grandmother was so embarrassed and ashamed of her PCOS that she hid it from my grandfather as a result of she was fearful her marriage suitability, within the period of organized marriages, would lower if he knew the reality. As an alternative, she secretly started receiving weekly Udwarthanam massages, which she stated helped scale back ache and take away blockages.
“In keeping with Ayurveda, a situation like PCOS is precipitated when minute channels within the physique are blocked by toxins or undigested waste,” explains Nidhi Pandya, an NYC-based Ayurvedic practitioner. “This slows down general circulation and prevents nourishment from reaching all of the tissues. Because the interior setting will get affected, the reproductive tissues get broken and PCOS can come up. Udwarthanam works to mobilize blockages, open up channels and get issues transferring so the physique can restore its operate.”
As soon as again in New York, I considered how the therapeutic massage was a solution to ease a number of the PCOS signs and ache my grandmother routinely felt. Coupled with a weight loss program that prevented extreme bitter meals and dairy merchandise, however included ghee, rice, and high-fiber fruit and veggies, she was capable of handle her signs over time. I acknowledged how the massages may assist me cope with my very own PCOS, or on the very least, provide symptom reduction for a situation I struggled with. Later in my grandmother’s life, she continued to obtain Udwarthanam massages after having my mother and my uncle, because it helped to strengthen her stomach and different muscle groups after childbirth. This preventive strategy even appeased my very own fears associated to future childbirth; if she may get by it, so can I.
I’m lucky that in my world, PCOS does not carry fairly the identical stigma for me because it did for my grandmother, and that there is now a deeper understanding of easy methods to deal with the situation with hormonal and way of life modifications than there was once. Even so, the 60 minutes I spent experiencing the Udwarthanam therapeutic massage taught me about being open-minded to holistic options, which I may need beforehand dismissed. The therapeutic massage not solely made me really feel related to my grandmother and our Ayurvedic heritage, nevertheless it additionally jogged my memory that I am not alone—there’s a complete neighborhood of ladies who’re in the identical boat, and none of us ought to must endure in silence.