Scanning the wide array of new technologies available in spas today, it’s worthwhile to note that many of the modern treatment “innovations” that are becoming so popular actually have their foundations in ancient ayurvedic healing principles. As the saying goes, “What’s old is new again.”
Ayurveda, the science of life, is one of the oldest recorded healing systems known and often is referred to as “the mother of all healing.” Many of the holistic healing practices offered at wellness clinics or spas today are rooted in ayurvedic tradition. These modalities include gem therapy; polarity therapy; reflexology; aromatherapy; colonic therapy; iridology, or the study of the patterns of the iris; homeopathy; color therapy; sound therapy; and herbology. Some alternative health practitioners have become specialists in just one modality, but ayurveda calls on all of them collectively to help restore and maintain balance to the whole being.
Ayurveda teaches that the body is a microcosm of the macrocosm of the greater universe, and that life is a relationship. It is in relationship to everything that touches it and everything that surrounds it—color, sound, light, metals, gemstones, what is put on the body and what is put into the body—all affects it.
It’s interesting to look at some of the emerging high-tech trends and see how they relate to the ancient ayurvedic healing traditions.
Color therapy and technology
Ayurveda teaches that different colors affect the physiology in a variety of ways depending upon their signature vibrations. The colors that are worn or used in surroundings have an effect on the energy and state of being. For example, bright colors are stimulating, while white and pastels are soothing and cooling. It is rare to find bright reds and oranges in a hospital or classroom. Pastels are used to pacify. Today in spa interior design, neutrals and earth tones are used because they are easy on the eye and unobtrusive.
Light therapy and technology
Humans need light to thrive. Light enters the systems through the eyes and through the skin, impacting the nervous system and the subtle energies of the body. The frequency of light waves determines its effect on brain function, body chemistry and life energy rhythm. It’s the life energy rhythm that determines vata, pitta or kapha, the individual constitutions described in ayurvedic tradition. Vata regulates movement and affects circulation; pitta regulates metabolism and gives luster to the skin; and kapha regulates structure and maintains moisture in the body, plus is responsible for cohesion.
Oxygen therapy and technology
In ayurveda, breath is the means by which life-giving energy, or prana, moves through the body, and it also creates the link between body and mind. Breath and thought work together—changes in breathing affect the skin, body, immune system and moods. When the breath is steady and full, the mind/body becomes balanced, and likewise, when the mind is steady the breath flows easily. This concept is the foundation for the breathing techniques that are an integral part of ayurvedic healing tradition.
Sound therapy and technology
In ayurveda, sound is the primary and most powerful expression of consciousness. The constitutions are affected differently by sound and have different requirements to create balance. Sound is energy in motion that results in a vibration that creates a wave. The frequencies of sound waves, such as light, relate to the seven energy centers, or chakras, in our bodies. The fundamental ayurvedic theory on healing through sound is based on the principle that like energies or frequencies increase at the same level. Through the property of resonance, sound affects us in either positive or negative ways.