An Ayurvedic Spa: Glossary

Abhyanga is a rejuvenating massage conducted by two therapists; the medicated oil they use is geared to one’s constitutional type.

Chyavanprash is a complex herbal paste that is the main general tonic and restorative used in Ayurvedic medicine. The formula includes the amalaki fruit (Emblica officinalis), which is high in vitamin C, as well as up to fifty herbs and other ingredients.

Pizzichili is a gentle, full-body massage with warm herbal oil.

Rasayanas are formulas made from many herbs prepared over several days, created specifically to match a person’s constitution. The word comes from rasa, meaning “in the essence,” and ayana, meaning “what enters,” for their ability to penetrate and revitalize the mind and body.

Shirodara is an herbal oil that is poured gently and slowly across the forehead to relax the nervous system and restore mind/body balance.

Swedana is an herbal steam treatment for reducing tension and releasing impurities through the skin.

Triphala (“the three fruits”), a compound made from haritaki (Terminalia chebula, also called harada), amalaki, and bibhitaki (Terminalia bellerica, also called bihara and behada). The trio works as a laxative and bowel tonic that detoxifies and repairs the intestinal tract; it is also considered a blood purifier.

Udvartina is a lymphatic and exfoliating massage using an herbal paste.

Vishesh is deep neuromuscular massage given by two therapists to loosen impurities and relieve tension.

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