Glossary of Ayurvedic Spa Treatments and Benefits

Glossary of Ayurvedic Spa Treatments and Benefits

Promote your general health and well-being by creating a balance between your mind, body and spirit on an Ayurveda spa retreat. With a huge variety of treatments to choose from, Ayurvedic healers will choose the best for each individual’s health and well-being needs in order to maximize the benefits of Ayurveda. Imagine reviving all of your senses and relieving yourself from daily stresses with soothing therapies and relaxation in total tranquillity.


Treatment: This restorative therapy which you can experience on a spa retreat is based on utilizing warm oils and how different potencies can balance the body. Large amounts of oil pre-medicated with herbal infusions are absorbed by the skin through downward strokes.

Benefit: Promotes general health and aides in stiffness, stress and body imbalances as well as relieving mental and physical stresses on your muscles and mind. It also penetrates deep into the cellular level releasing toxins.

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Avagaha Sweda treatment

Treatment: With ‘avagaha’ meaning submersion and ‘sweda’ meaning sedation, this form of treatment involves the skin sweating out salty fluids while being submerged in a medicated and hot herbal bath up to the neck.

Benefit: Forces toxins and impurities nuzzled in hidden areas out of the body once and for all leaving you feeling empty of contaminants.


Treatment: The patient is gently covered in oil and made to sit in a steam chamber where herbal steam is emitted into the steam room to induce heavy sweating.

Benefit: The body’s channel system dilates due to the increase in body temperature which results in increased circulation. This treatment is ideal for improvement in circulation, joint pain relief, reduction in stress and even aids in weight loss.

Choornaswedana (Podikizhi)

Treatment: A form of fomentation therapy, the Choornaswedana treatment involves boluses (muslin clothes) filled with grains, herbal oil and other special ingredients, tied together and massaged onto the body.                                                                                                                           

Benefit: The warm boluses help to cure health issues like arthritis, paralysis and back ache due to hardening of muscles and joints to improve blood circulation and tissue strength.


Treatment: Originating from South India, specially fermented lukewarm medicinal oil is poured in a continuous soothing stream over the affected area of the body. Depending on the individual case, medicated oil may be applied before the Dhanyamla-Dhara.

Benefit: This Ayurvedic spa treatment aids in combatting obesity, alleviates muscle pain and stimulates nerve activity for proper blood circulation.

Gandharva Therapy 

Treatment: Originating from an ancient Indian tradition, Gandharva is an Ayurvedic spa treatment using the soothing sense of sounds to stimulate energy flow and calm your body inside and out. Crystal singing bowls cause vibrations waking up your body’s inactive cells.

Benefit: Hidden toxins are disturbed from the vibrations, flushing them out, leaving you feeling revitalized, transformed and totally tranquil.

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Treatment: This treatment includes a deep body exfoliation followed by an oil massage. Old and dry skin cells are removed by brushing the body, which makes it more receptive to the absorption of therapeutic herbs with an upward stroking massage.

Benefit: Increase in blood flow and improves body circulation, detoxifying your body of waste.

Herbal Bolus Bag Therapy

Treatment: Bolus bag is a therapeutic herbal treatment where a muslin cloth is filled with medicinal herbs which then is massaged on a specific area of pain or inflammation on a patient.

Benefit: It is used to alleviate pain, swelling and inflammation from certain parts of the body.

Kati Vasti

Treatment: Warm medicated oil treats the lower back region whereby the oil is pooled for a period of time in this region. Ordinarily performed on a healing retreat, the treatment is completed with a massage of the entire back using the warm oil.

Benefit: This treatment is amazingly beneficial for sports injuries, lower back issues, whiplash injuries and slipped discs, where the pain is relieved with sensual, warm oil. 

Marma Point Massage

Treatment: A ‘Marma’ point is a point on our bodies where flesh, veins, tendons, arteries and bones all connect. Our body has 107 of these points, each with their own awareness and intelligence. This massage uses the thumb or index fingers to stimulate these points in clockwise circles which correspond with internal organs.

Benefit: Improves blood flow, helps remove excess toxins and additionally tones and strengthens muscles and tissues.

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Treatment: Known as the natural facelift of Ayurveda, this is a traditional anti-ageing therapy, using sesame oil to massage the face, neck and head.

Benefit: The pressure if received regularly enough is thought to lift muscles. The increase in blood flow to the Marma points leaves a youthful and vibrant glow as well as heightening mental well-being.

Mukha Lepa

Treatment: The MukhaLepa treatment involves applying an herbal paste to the face to act as a deep cleansing and skin refining facial. The herbal paste is massaged around the face and removed before it becomes dry.

Benefit: Reduced skin impurities like acne and dark eye circles, leaving your complexion spotless and glowing.


Treatment: Nasya is a treatment where the nasal passages are cleared of any debris to clear the airways. The removal of debris can leave these passages dry, so the application of a Nasya Oil softens and protects the newly cleansed passages from gaining other debris.

Benefit: Especially in the colder months, this treatment is ideal to cleanse the delicate nasal passages and restore its natural healthy state.


Treatment: Neti and Nasya treatments are usually used in conjunction with each other. Neti is the process of clearing the nasal passages with a warm water and salt solution. The water is poured into one nostril with a tilted head and the water pours out of the other nostril.

Benefit: This treatment is aimed to remove any debris in the nasal passages, leaving you feeling fresh and clear of any unwanted substances.

Netradhara Eye Treatment

 Eyes can deteriorate with age so its imperative to care for your eyes during the course of your life. This treatment involves having medicinal ghee (refined butter) poured into the inner canthus of the eyes from the desired height and for a number of times recommended for the patient’s specific condition.

Benefit: This treatment relieves strains from glaring at technology screens, dry eyes and aids in the prevention of the early formation of cataract.


Treatment: This is a deep and extremely effective back massage where herbal oils are selected specifically for a patient. 

Benefit: Soothes the intervertebral discs and prevents back problems. Tensions that are caused by daily stresses are relieved, leaving the back feeling lighter and most importantly stronger.

Rice Pindas

Treatment: In this Ayurvedic spa treatment, a combination of milk and rice are wrapped in a muslin cloth to create a ball which is then rubbed all over the back. The milk and rice mixture is combined with medicinal herbs.

Benefit: The rice balls are highly nutritious for body tissues, especially muscles, bones and other soft tissues.

Sarvangadhara Oil Treatment

Treatment: This oil treatment is considered the king of treatment for the sensuous effect it produces. Water is poured in a rhythmical way over the entire body followed by massaging oil over the entire body.

Benefit: This massage is very dependent on the individual having it and is particularly effective against degenerative diseases like arthritis and muscular pains and joint stiffness and menstrual problems. It also is particularly soothing for skin problems like sunburn.

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Treatment: This treatment entails having a massage of the head, neck and shoulders using warm herbal, medicated oils

Benefit: This treatment promotes sound sleep, calm headaches and prevents pre mature greying or hair loss. Above all, it is just profoundly soothing and relaxing.


Treatment: A highlight of Ayurvedic spa treatments on spiritual and holistic retreats, the Shirodhara involves having warm oil poured over the forehead and onto the “third eye” chakra, your intuitive energetic centre.

Benefit: Mind, soul and body are intertwined together as your nervous system is soothed. The spiritual effects of this treatment may lead you to experience restful awareness.


Treatment: Medicated oil is absorbed into the head during this procedure for roughly an hour but can be prescribed differently for each individual patient.

Benefit: This treatment can be used from itching on the head and dryness of the scalp to mental disorders or facial paralysis.

Snana Massage

Treatment: The warm oil, usually made from sesame oil, is applied to the body specifically on the marma points massaging all the time. Usually applied with two therapists, the oil is gently massaged into the body in various time stages.

Benefit: Massaging marmas helps speedy recoveries and can improve eyesight, sleep and longevity as well. Your skin will become soft and flawless and your muscles will tone up due to the nerve ending becoming stimulated.


Treatment: This is a steam treatment that means ‘to sweat or perspire’ where the patient’s sweat is induced from herbal decoctions. Oil is applied gently onto the body, with the head being covered using a wet cotton pad as the head should be protected from the heat.

Benefit: It aims to detach the toxins from the tissues and expels them through tiny pores of the skin which also rejuvenates and revitalises the skin. Circulation is increased and as well as improving digestion it also reduces numbness and stiffness.

Padhabhyanga Foot Massage

Treatment: Padhabhyanga means foot massage and is crucial to soothe your feet as 5 marma areas are located on each foot. This Ayurvedic spa massage is used with sesame oil and releases negative energy from any of the 5 marmas so this massage is vital and forms a central role in Ayurveda and Indian culture as touching feet shows respect for elders.

Benefit: It helps to calm the mind, promotes quality sleep and improves peripheral circulation as well as providing strength to lower limbs.


Treatment: Aimed to lubricate stiff joints and promote purification, this luxurious Pizhichil massage involves pouring luke warm herbal oils over your skin which are smoothed rhythmically into your skin.

Benefit: Once absorbed, your body will reap the rewards and feel rejuvenated with a release from stiffness and injuries and feel nourished from the inside out. This type of treatment is also used in neurological conditions, especially paralysis due to the strong effects it has on circulation.


Treatment: This treatment is popular for eye care in Ayurveda. A dough ring is placed around the eyes creating a vacuum for medicated ghee to be poured in up to the eyelashes where the patient will blink to totally cleanse the eyes.

Benefit: This treatment can improve vision, prevents the formation of cataract and revives the tired and worn out muscles of the eyes.


Treatment: This is a specialized herbal treatment ideal for a weight-loss retreat. An herbal powder is applied to your body through massage where energetic upward strokes against hair growth soothe and relaxes your skin and muscles beneath.

Benefit: Banishes toxins and boosts your blood circulation in your body. The removal of impurities aids in weight loss and body toning, as well as exfoliating the skin leaving you with a glowing and revived complexion.

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Treatment: This chest oil bath treatment offers a patient a hot medicated oiled gentle massage all over the front of the body. A dough is then prepared out of whole wheat flour and made into a small ring and placed over the heart area creating a vacuum within which is filled with hot medicated oil.

Benefits:  Improvement in circulation, strengthens and balances heart functions and can aid with respiratory issues.


Treatments: Modern detox methods often derive from the Virechana Ayurveda treatment so this treatment is the ultimate detox therapy, cleansing your body completely. The patient has a controlled full body detox for a specific amount of time.

Benefits: Designed to flush out toxins from all over the body, any diseases that may have had the possibility of recurring will have been discharged out of the body.


Treatment: This special deep tissue oil massage is a relaxing Ayurvedic spa treatment best for a de-stress retreat. It aims to break down adhesions and improve circulation deep within the muscles. Conventional massage strokes, squeezing and tapping are also involved.

Benefit: Improvement of lymphatic flow and removal of toxins. Blockages are eliminated which awakens energy sources and improves digestion.

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