Ayurvedic Spa Bliss: Your First Visit Decoded – What to Expect and Delight In

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There’s no denying that a regular spa treatment leaves you feeling relaxed – but if you’re looking for a treatment that truly scratches below surface, a trip to an Ayurvedic spa is just the ticket.

Ayurveda is an alternative approach to health that emphasizes bringing the mind and body into balance in a holistic manner.

Its aim is to empower individuals to live long, happy, healthy and fulfilled lives without depending on prescription drugs, needing major surgeries or suffering from preventable diseases.

Ayurvedic spas offer a wide range of benefits for your physical, mental and spiritual well-being. The therapies and treatments are rooted in the principles of Ayurveda and aim to restore balance to the Dosha system.

In this article, we’ll explore:

  • What is an Ayurvedic spa?
  • What treatments do Ayurvedic spas offer?
  • What are the benefits of visiting an Ayurvedic spa?

Keep reading for the ultimate deep dive.

ayurvedic spa

What is an Ayurvedic spa?

Ayurvedic spa visits can be a valuable part of a holistic wellness routine, helping you maintain or restore balance in your physical, mental and spiritual well-being.

Traditional spa vs Ayurvedic Spa

So what’s the difference between a normal spa and an Ayurvedic spa?

While both emphasise rejuvenation and relaxation, an Ayurvedic spa promotes a more holistic approach to wellness.

At a traditional spa, you’re likely to receive treatments like facials, hot stone massages or a spell in a Swedish sauna. The treatment outcomes tend to centre around cosmetic benefits, deep relaxation and sensory pleasure.

At an Ayurvedic spa, you’ll receive treatments rooted in the principles of Ayurveda, an ancient system of medicine and healing originating from India.

The treatments are specifically designed to restore balance to the Doshas and to address an individual’s Prakriti (unique constitution) and Vikriti (imbalances), primarily through banishing Ama and strengthening Agni – two fundamental concepts in Ayurveda.

a tea light floating on water

Your Agni is best understood as your digestive fire, responsible for absorbing nutrients from food and supporting energy, vitality and immunity.

Through stress, inactivity, poor diet or a number of other means, your Agni can become weakened, leading to a build-up of Ama – undigested food or metabolic waste that is considered toxic in Ayurveda.

An accumulation of toxic Ama can present in the body as a variety of health conditions, including digestive problems, frequent illness, lethargy, brain fog and more.

While Panchakarma – an intensive detoxification therapy that is completed over the course of a week – is considered the most effective way to eliminate Ama, an Ayurvedic spa will offer a number of treatments that eliminate toxins and strengthen Agni.

Ayurvedic spa vs Ayurvedic clinic

An Ayurvedic spa is also not to be confused with an Ayurvedic clinic – two different establishments that serve different purposes.

Deciding whether you should visit a spa or a clinic depends on whether you are seeking relaxation or addressing a health concern.

An Ayurvedic spa primarily emphasizes relaxation, rejuvenation, and well-being through Ayurvedic therapies and practices within an ambient spa setting.

spa massage oil

On the other hand, an Ayurvedic clinic is essentially a healthcare facility, where you will undergo a series of examinations, receive a medical diagnosis, and begin a treatment plan of Ayurvedic therapies to manage your condition.

This may include treatments for chronic diseases, digestive disorders, hormonal imbalances, and more.

While Ayurvedic practitioners at an Ayurvedic clinic are qualified to diagnose disorders, provide medical advice and prescribe treatments, therapists at an Ayurvedic spa are not necessarily trained to diagnose or give medical advice.

What treatments do Ayurvedic spas offer?

There are different interpretations of Ayurvedic therapies and, as such, specific treatments may vary from spa to spa.

However, it’s likely that you’ll encounter the following during your visit:


Shirodhara is a technique that involves pouring medicated oil onto your third eye – the region of forehead located between your eyebrows.

The treatment has a calming effect on the nervous system, bringing balance to the doshas. It’s also suggested to improve sleep quality, manage insomnia and reduce stress.

Your practitioner will determine what type of medicated oil is used (as it is often Dosha specific) and the treatment will be performed by a trained massage therapist.

an ayurvedic spa where the oil is being poured onto the clients third eye


Also known as Thailadhara, Pizhichil is a therapy where warm herbal oils are continually poured and massaged into the body in a rhythmic manner.

It promotes deep relaxation by combining both Snehana (oleation) and Swedana (sweating), soothing the nervous system, nourishing the skin and relieving muscle tension.


Also known as Ayurvedic massage, Abhyanga improves lymphatic drainage, releases muscle tension, alleviates joint stiffness, increases blood circulation and nourishes your skin.

Your therapist will usually select specific massage oils that balance your dominant Dosha.

This treatment loosens Ama from the body tissues, strengthening Agni and rebalancing the Doshas.


Udvartana is an Ayurvedic massage therapy that involves using herbal powders or pastes rather than oils.

The benefits include exfoliation, lymphatic drainage, improved circulation and improved skin texture and tone. It is also said to aid weight loss.

bottles of herbs and spices


Swedana involves fomentation (therapeutic heat) and sudation (sweating), usually by means of herbal steam baths or hot water/oil treatments. It helps open the body’s channels, promote detoxification, and relax muscles.

Swedana is particularly beneficial for reducing an overactive Kapha Dosha, as it helps reduce excess mucus and congestion in the body.


Nasya involves the administration of herbal oils, medicated liquids or powders into the nasal passages.

It is believed to support mental clarity, relieve congestion, relieve allergies and generally improve respiratory health by removing mucus from the nasal passages.


Ayurvedic foot massage, also known as Padabhyanga, involves massaging the feet and lower legs with warm herbal oils chosen by your practitioner.

It promotes deep relaxation, stress reduction and even improved sleep quality.

a foot massage

Gandharva Therapy

Within Ayurveda, Gandharva has multiple interpretations and connotations, depending on the context in which it is used.

One of the most common forms is sound therapy, also known as Gandharva Chikitsa.

This treatment involves using soothing sounds and vibrations to stimulate energy flow, often using crystal singing bowls to awaken your body’s inactive cells.


This therapy involves nourishing and rejuvenating the eyes with medicated ghee or herbal preparations.

The ghee is used to create an eye bath, surrounding the eye completely so that it can penetrate the eye tissue. The person receiving the treatment keeps their eyes open while the ghee is held in place.

It is believed to improve vision, and alleviate eye strain and eye conditions such as dry eye syndrome.

Mukha Lepa

Mukha Lepa, also known as Mukha Abhyanga Lepa, is an Ayurvedic facial treatment that involves the application of herbal pastes or masks to the face.

The herbal paste nourishes and hydrates the skin, enhancing its complexion and removing any impurities. It is often used to address skin complications like acne.

a woman wearing a green face mask

What are the benefits of going to an Ayurvedic spa?

Although the benefits of Ayurvedic treatments and therapies largely depend on the unique needs of the individual, the most commonly reported benefits include:

#1 Stress Reduction

Stress is a big contributor to accumulating toxic Ama in the body, which in turn can lead to poor digestion, propensity to illness and lack of mental clarity.

Both Shirodhara and Abhyanga are linked to significant stress reduction and improvement in mental health, according to a case study involving a 32-year-old male patient.

#2 Improved Sleep

Ayurvedic treatments such as Shirodhara, Swedana and Abhyanga are thought to improve sleep quality and reduce symptoms of insomnia.

A study involving 30 patients suffering from insomnia found that Shirodhara therapy with Ashawagnadha oil was significantly beneficial for moderate to severe insomnia.

a woman sleeping soundly

#3 Improved Digestion

Ayurvedic treatments improve digestive health by strengthening Agni, your body’s digestive fire.

Abhyanga helps stimulate digestion by increasing circulation, reducing stress, and promoting overall relaxation.

Other notable examples include Udvartana, which reduces mucus and congestion in the digestive tract, and Swedana, which opens up the body’s channels and promotes detoxification.

#4 Pain Management

Chronic pain management via Ayurvedic therapies is well documented within scientific research.

Ayurvedic massages and therapies can help alleviate muscular and joint pain, reduce inflammation, and improve flexibility.

Research has also linked Ayurvedic therapies to reducing pain associated with conditions like psoriatic arthritis and lower back problems.

#5 Immune Support

Physical Rasayana therapies such as Abhyanga are linked to supporting immunity by removing toxins from the body, lightening the load on the immune system and allowing it to function more efficiently.

Reducing stress levels are also associated with improved immune function, as is improving sleep quality.

#6 Improved skin

Research has linked Ayurvedic treatments to improving acne, psoarsis, eczema, dryness, redness, rosacea and other skin conditions. 

At an Ayurvedic spa, you can receive facial treatments that involve applying herbal pastes or masks to the face, such as Mukha Lepa, which nourishes and hydrates your skin barrier.

a man looking in the bathroom mirror


Although many individual studies have supported the benefits of Ayurvedic treatments, more large-scale clinical trials are needed to prove their efficacy

In light of this, it’s important to choose an Ayurvedic spa with qualified practitioners and therapists who can provide safe and effective treatments tailored to you.

Final Thoughts

It’s important to choose an Ayurvedic spa with qualified practitioners and therapists who can provide safe and effective treatments tailored to your specific needs and goals.

If you’re ready to take your wellness journey to the next level, check out our article on Panchakarma: the ultimate Ayurvedic detox therapy.

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Lola is an Ayurveda practitioner based in London with a passion for yoga, nature and people.

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