How to look good in a loin cloth…

Trip Start Sep 10, 2010
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Trip End Feb 19, 2011


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Flag of India  , Kerala,
Sunday, October 10, 2010



Or in my case, how I wish I knew how to hide the humiliation. But first let me explain - it’s all in the name of Ayurveda and we are assured it will make us healthier and more flexible by the end of the week.

Our “doctor” created the program for us to follow alongside our daily yoga, vegetarian diet and no alcohol. All good so far, so along I pop for the first treatment. The doctor giving the treatment is a big burly chap, friendly face but not someone you’d want to meet in a dark alley on your own. His little room is equipped with what appears to be an old hard wood door as a bed, a large box with a hole in the top, which you then realise is a cubicle for you to sit in later and have steam pumped in through the bottom. Also in the corner is a small gas ring, a gas bottle and a frying pan and saucepan. I thought to myself “poor man, he even has to cook and eat in here too”. Anyway, I was instructed to strip off and, hiding my modesty by facing in the opposite direction, I saw him readying a loin cloth, which is basically a string attached to a rectangular piece of cotton. Having looked at me, in all my naked glory, he changed the loin cloth to a larger one - I thought “nice compliment but the rectangle was in all honesty very much longer than was strictly necessary, though I enjoyed the recognition and falttery. He then ties this around your waist - and frankly you feel rather silly being trussed up by a chap your don’t even know - which is all very well and covers once modesty. Suddenly, he puts his hand between your legs - from the rear - grabs the bottom of the loin cloth, wheechs it up between the cheeks of your bum, and tucks it into the string behind you. If you unlucky, as I was, you may then catch a very unwelcome glimpse of yourself in the mirror, making Gandhi look over dressed and making you look like Billy Bunter in a nappy. Not good.

So up you pop onto the old door and he starts off anointing you with some rather nice smelling oils, quick prayer with hands on your head, and then copious amounts of warm oil are poured over you and you get the massage of your life. The technique is a mix of Swedish and Kerala massage, long sweeps from toes up your body and down to your hands. Quite an amazing feeling and though its quite strong, its incredibly relaxing. Up to a point - eventually you are covered in oil and with each sweep of his hands, you slide around the oily door like Robin Cousins on acid, terrified that you are about to skite off the table and out into the corridor, in nothing but your loin cloth, which, I have to tell you, is not as good at keeping all your bits and pieces in place as one might imagine. Then the technique changes and focuses on using pressure to eliminate toxins from the body, though it was introduced as “now I am going to try and massage away all your fat.” I thought “oh crumbs, this is going to take longer than I thought, I have a flight in ten days.”

Once your fat has been massaged way - mine unfortunately still seems to be in the same place - we switched to a new technique known as Punnagadi Kizhi. On entering the room I had noticed what seemed to be two giant sized bouquet garni sitting next to the gas ring. At this point, he turns on the gas and after a few moments puts the bouquet into the frying pan; you hear them sizzling in the same way a sausages or bacon hitting a hot frying pan. You then lay down, and once the bouquet reach quite a high temperature, he starts to bash your body all over with the searingly hot oily bouquet. They smell fantastic, a mix on Indian herbs we don’t recognise, but also considerable amounts of garlic, rosemary and oregano. As they cool, he goes into the long sweeping movements again for a mo, and then pops them back into the frying pan to heat up. This process goes on for about 45 minutes, and against all imagination, its also extremely relaxing if a tad hot. The only exception is when a stream of hot oil escapes and not so gently runs into places where you would rather not have hot oil seeping. Boy can that sting J


At the end of all this you get the most amazing head massage and are then lead to a shower room where the man offers to wash your back. At first I thought this was rather odd and perhaps a little dodgy, but then you realise that he has just been pummelling your every muscle for the last 90 minutes, and so you agree as otherwise you risk sliding around the room in a pool of soapy water and scented oil trying to reach those places we can never reach.

Once dressed you are anointed with some colourful powders on your forehead, and then some brown powder is rubbed into the crown of your head. This , I was told, was to stop coughing and I have to admit that I have not coughed since the first day this substance was applied. Though with hindsight, I don’t think I had coughed in the week proceeding the application of said substance, so I have no idea if it worked.

When you leave the “hospital” and make your way home, you are filled with the most incredible level of energy - so perhaps the humiliation is worth it. So far, we have had this treatment three days in a row, and tomorrow we start a new routine which involves Thai massage, some oil pill thing we need to swallow (though we still don’t really know why so will check again before swallowing) and then being locked into a box with just our head protruding whilst steam is pumped into the box through some herbal infusion. I certainly hope its good for us in the end………

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Comments

Shirley Mcpherson on

i so need a friggin massage and all that treatment please

margaret on

well that has started my morning with a good laugh , fair makes the fat wobble though !

Maria on

Can't remember the last time I laughed as much before 9am, the office thinks I have lost the plot,excellent stuff!!!!!, so jealous. x

Jan on

How funny is that malarky?!! Wot? No pics????? Surely you owe the fan club a couple of snaps!! Too Too funny!

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