Experience report© Susanne Oehlschläger

„If only I had known earlier of Ayurvedic treatments.“

Since 1995, Doris Boehm has travelled to India once a year and always to the same place. After each trip, she returns as if she  has fallen into a fountain of youth. The fountain of youth really exists there: the millennia-old knowledge of the health of body, mind and soul called Ayurveda.

It took a long time before Doris and her husband Wolfgang Böhm made the long journey for the first time. He was tormented by a frontal sinus disease while she had a sore hip, stomach ulcers and chronic inflammations. The pain was intense and neither he nor she could be helped on a long term basis in Germany. After a friend came back from an Ayurveda treatment in Kerala and had only positive things to report about it, the Böhm couple took the decision to go there. In less than two weeks, they were on the airplane, on the way to Kerala and were excited about what would happen to them there.

Just on their arrival at the airport, a little fairy tale began for them. A hotel employee was waiting for them and presented each of them with a welcome fragrant lei around the neck. After an hour's drive, a heavy wooden door opened and the couple seemed to have arrived in a small piece of paradise. A large tropical garden nestles on a hill overlooking the Arabian Sea. The view is of tropical flowers, palm trees and the ocean. The country-style small round houses are scattered throughout the gardens.

"Welcome to Kerala, Misses and Mister Booom" sounds in their ears and an Indian woman serves them a welcome drink of fresh tropical fruits with a charming smile. It was a refreshing welcome after the more than ten-hour night flight from Germany. A friendly conversation leads to the reason for the stay. The first treatments are scheduled and the couple enjoys the longed-for breakfast in the open restaurant with a sea view. The cure can begin.

Wolfgang and Doris Böhm are introduced to the Ayurvedic centre that has several treatment rooms and doctors' rooms. On passing, the eye drops in on one of the doctors' rooms. An elderly gentleman radiating calmness sits in a small room. No apparatus, no syringes, no packages of medicine - he seems to need nothing. On the small desk is a blood pressure instrument of an older model and a stethoscope too. Apart from this, nothing here resembles a doctor's studio. In a glass display case a few small Hindu god figures watch over a few inscribed palm leaves, which are old texts of the Charaka Samhita. The Charaka Samhita is one of the ancient wisdom sources of Ayurvedic medicine, which has validity in the universities even today and is the base for a large part of Ayurveda medicine knowledge.

Shortly after this, Doris Boehm has her first consultation appointment with Dr. Sri Ladda, an experienced Ayurvedic physician. Women are traditionally treated by women, men by men.
The first question Dr. Ladda resolves is regarding their constitutions. This is done through attentive listening to the speech, observing, viewing, listening to the sound of breathing, blood pressure, tongue, eye and pulse diagnosis. It seems as if nothing is hidden from the doctor and everything seems to be interesting to her. She takes a lot of time and asks many questions, which include their emotional states and life habits. Finally, she establishes a treatment plan consisting of multiple daily oil massages of various types, enemas, oil showers, herbal medicine - in liquid and tablet form and a prescription of sleep, yoga and meditation. A diet plan is customized to the cure and is coordinated daily with the chefs. Doris Boehm does not need to worry about anything.

The next day she gets her first massage with warm oil. For her it is an indescribably pleasant feeling. She tends to feel cold easily and feels the warm humid air in February in Kerala to be very beneficial. The resting period after the treatments is intensified by the heat and after a few days she realizes how beneficial these treatments are for her hips and joints. It seems as if the oil and the air penetrate her with heat. Germany is far away and it seems unthinkable that one could have such a treatment with such a good feeling at home.
After a few days, the cure gets exhausting. Experiences believed to have been forgotten, suddenly turn back into memory. The sleep is disturbed. The sciatic nerve becomes noticeable on top. The detoxification, Panchakarma, shows its effect. This is not surprising to the doctor and she adjusts the treatment plan to the new situation, because every person reacts differently. Reactions are particularly perceptible in the first Ayurvedic cure. One feels as if one is filtered internally. The surroundings and the friendliness of the staff help Doris Böhm to pass through this phase. An ayurvedic sleep aid cradles her into a soothing deep sleep and after a few days, she passes the worst. The pain decreases from day to day, mobility increases, and a deep sense of inner peace fills her with satisfaction.
Wolfgang Böhm also feels as if unburdened by a load. His frontal sinus is relieved without piercing, surgery or chemicals. Even so, head ailments oil is used for head massages, facial massages and nasal douche with herbal ghee. Oil and ghee are the carriers for the actual purifying and healing herbs, and pass through skin, bone and cell membranes. Although Wolfgang Böhm has known more pleasant things, the effort is worth it. His symptoms are gone after a few applications and by adhering to a vegetarian diet, they have not returned so far.

The food is a welcome change for the couple during treatment. Everything is prepared fresh and from ripe ingredients: tropical fruits, vegetables, flatbread, soups. The Indian cuisine is rich in herbs and spices and is used in Ayurveda with the intent to balance the constitution. The Boehms are excited - no fast foods, no food residues, no meat and everything is freshly prepared.
During their initial treatments, they were served at the table and a menu was prepared for each guest according to the instructions of the doctor. That has now changed somewhat. Instead of being served, the guests today serve themselves at a buffet, adjusted to the constitutional types. This requires a bit more discipline as one finally sees many treats not intended for one's own constitution. Sporting spirits see this as a challenge to the self-discipline, less strong ones give in to temptation and pinch just a bit secretly - and in doing so reduce the success of the cure.

Another variety that the resort offers to his guests are the traditional dance performances and musical evenings and excursions in the surroundings.

After three weeks, the day of departure approaches. The thought of the return to wintry Germany is not easy, especially for Doris Boehm. For after-treatment, she receives tablets and powders, which as per the medical advice, she will still have to take for a few more weeks in Germany. Thus equipped, the couple return to their home in southern Germany after three weeks of Ayurveda treatment.
Friends are amazed. The couple look younger by years, feel fit, are pain-free and exhibit a great joy for life. For them, it is clear that they will repeat the Ayurvedic cure in the following year.

Doris Böhm now regrets not having been received information on Ayurveda earlier. After each cure, she feels a half to three quarters of a year much better. Her therapist in Germany  confirmed that without Ayurvedic treatments, her hip complaint would have taken a much worse turn. Stomach ulcers too have disappeared completely.
Come February it is time once again and Doris Böhm undergoes her tenth Ayurvedic cure in India.
And her husband? Since his two Ayurvedic cures twelve years ago, he feels so healthy that he is convinced he does not need further treatment at the moment.

Source: Press Service Ayurveda