Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Ayurvedic Massage - Not for the Timid

I'll warn you now - this post won't have any pictures Earlier today, I went for what I thought would be the "most soothing and relaxing massage" offered by the hotel here in Southern India. Was I prepared for hot oil? Sure. Was I prepared for a slightly for active massage? Yes, indeed. Was I prepared to be stripped, given a string and loin "strip" for protection, and slid around on a wooden table for 75 minutes by not one, but two men? Nope.

And it begins. The massage consits of a head massage with what must have been a litre of oil - I think the guy made my hair into a mohawk for fun. After that, they have you "get comfortable" - which was anything but. They then tie a string around your waist, and a 3" wide piece of cloth to the string in the front. Off comes the underwear (apparently it wasn't optional, like they promised), and he reaches under and ties the strip to your waist in the back.

Yeah, that's protecting nothing.

Then, for 75 minutes, the two men took turns preparing hot oil bags and using them to scrub my skin. What's a hot oil bag? Well, they use the stove to heat a pan of oil, fry herbs in the oil, then pack the hot, fried herb mash into a canvas pouch - which is then periodically reheated as their sear your skin with it.

The whole experience is somewhere between what it must be like to be embalmed and what a Thanksgiving turkey goes through - it didn't help that I swear they were frying this stuff in vegetable oil. At the end of the whole experience, I was burned, sore, violated - and hungry for some chicken. Go figure.

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