Ayurveda With European Flavour
Contemporary and Tyrolean, the Ayurveda Sonnhof Resort has adopted and integrated this ancient medicinal discipline and philosophy and infused it with a flavour that is in tune with a European culture, climate and cuisine.
I was visiting for four days for a dose of holistic healing, European style, which meant local and seasonal food, a western interpretation of treatments and, best of all, no jet-lag.
First was a consultation with the resident Ayurvedic doctor who proved intuitive and impressive in his pulse diagnosis and lifestyle evaluation. He delivered an accurate, informative assessment with humour and an in-depth knowledge of Ayurvedic doctrines and healings. Based on my particular symptoms and constitution, a therapy plan was created which combined herbal medicine, a nutrition programme with detox and supportive treatments.
Ayurveda is the oldest form of medical science based upon the body’s protection of life against negative effects. Put simply, changes in the composition of the natural elements inherent within and around us affect our health. When our “doshas” (bio-energies) are disturbed, the body becomes imbalanced causing illness. Diagnostic ayurvedic treatments can help to restore the body.
And so, my programme commenced. A salt rub is not for the faint-hearted, its vigorous yet stimulating. Known as Upana, it is an Alpine scrub used to release stressful energy and strengthen the immune system in preparation for cleansing and detoxifying, followed immediately by a visit to the designated sauna, in my case the Kapha, to seal in the curative properties.
The spa area houses a number of saunas differentiated by heat temperature and purpose. The Kapha is a detoxifying steam bath, the Pitta a herb and clay sauna while the Vata is denoted as the gemstone and saltwater therapy. There are several infra-red cabins, a small gym, an indoor pool and various relaxation areas.
The resort exudes calm and intimacy which is visually reflected by a décor which splashes the colour purple alongside local timber panels creating an earthy feel. Spiritual energy seems to ooze from buddha statues and handcrafted sculptures dotted around the resort.
Meal times are quiet and pleasant. Each guest has an assigned table, a daily personalised agenda with personal encouragement and affirmations which I read numerous times during the day. I would also peep enviably at those guests not following a specific programme – enjoying seasonal, colourful dishes, artistically presented. For those of us on a stricter regime, the simple delicate detox dishes are served with encouragement and a knowing smile.
I was prepared for the “purging cocktail” concocted to rid the body of toxins and waste products. It was administered by the medical team on the second day – so no cheating was allowed. The remainder of the morning was confined to the room – close to the much needed facilities and grateful for the soothing mountain views from the balcony. Later, a belly massage continued the process, a treatment designed to release blockages.
No caffeine, no sweet treats. I was suffering from a headache and tiredness from the previous day but these are natural reactions to detoxing the body. But to my delight, a head and body massage was very timely. Shirodhara is a traditional head treatment and body massage specifically to relieve stress-relating symptoms and it worked.
The atmosphere is cosy, friendly and supportive. Guests share their experiences in a positive light and are sympathetic of the effects endured. Many guests return here for their annual MOT, some travel with supportive partners but most are alone. Days can be active with Yoga, Pilates, Qi Gong, Tai Chi walks, forest bathing and lectures, all providing a social opportunity or non-verbal company.
With 30 rooms and a staff of 50, service levels are high. The therapists are trained and conversant in the European Ayurveda discipline. Those I met monitored my progress along my ayurvedic journey. Guest rooms are tastefully furnished with every amenity needed for this type of stay – a hot water bottle to help with liver detox and flasks for hot water – thoughtful and considerate, just like home!
Four days later, I felt consciously transformed, lighter in weight and freer of worries Ayurveda maybe ancient with roots in India but it remains even more relevant today and now closer to home.
There are direct flights from the UK to Innsbruck and just under an hours drive from the airport by taxi
European Ayurveda Resort Sonnhof, Tyrol – Austria. www.sonnhof-ayurveda.at
European Ayurveda Resort Sonnhof is included in the niche destinations distinctive portfolio www.niche-destinations.com