Whether you’re new to Ayurveda or years into your journey, visiting an ayurvedic spa is a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
I mean, you get treatments customized to your personal needs.
You get massages that use warm herbal oil, soothing sounds, and crisp smells for sometimes over half a day.
And you receive detailed instructions for how to prolong the benefits of your treatment, and how to maintain health and balance.
Now, these are all wonderful features of ayurvedic spas.
But the most not-so-great fact?
Outside of India, it can seem extremely difficult to find an ayurvedic spa that’s not thousands of miles away.
Plus, sometimes they’re just too expensive.
But in this blog post, we’re going to combat both of these tricky troubles.
If you want to know more about what an ayurvedic spa is, the benefits of visiting one, 12 different types of treatments plus their procedures and goals, how to make your own DIY ayurvedic spa at home, and five different spas in the United States—then keep reading!
Disclaimer: This blog post contains affiliate links. I may earn a small commission to fund my essential oil shopping spree habits if you use these links to make a purchase. You will not be charged extra, and you’ll keep me supplied in good-smelling oils. It’s a win for everyone, really.
What Is an Ayurvedic Spa?
Ayurveda is a holistic health system, meaning that it focuses on healing the entire body—not just symptoms, illnesses, or pain.
Instead, it’s the key principle that the mind and body are connected, and that by balancing the mind, you can balance the body.
As a result, that balance will extend to the body as well, healing and nurturing every part of you—the mental, physical, and spiritual.
So it only makes sense that ayurvedic spa procedures are done with the same goal in mind.
Each procedure is tailored for your individual dosha. Thus, the three doshas—Vata, Pitta, and Kapha—are all treated a bit differently.
Most treatments involve massage sessions that use a variety of flows and styles, paired with essential oils. Which strokes and which oils are used depends on your dosha. This is because each dosha responds well to certain strokes and oils, and is irritated by certain strokes and oils.
Treatments—especially the more elaborate Ayurvedic massage techniques—are very delicate and specialized. They’re so much deeper than typical massages you’d receive at Western spas, which is why they’re done by specialized ayurvedic massage therapists and practitioners.
The Goal and Purpose of an Ayurvedic Spa
The main goal is to reach your marmas, which are the energy points in your system that connect all the nerve endings throughout your body.
Touching these marma points activates communication between the body and mind, and between your trillions of cells. These cells in turn send healing energy to your tissues and organs.
An ayurvedic spa treatment is sure to be strikingly different from anything you’ve ever experienced before.
For one thing, organic, medicated, and custom-made oil blends infused with ayurvedic herbs are heated to the perfect temperature, then applied to the body to promote detoxification and tranquility.
The skin absorbs these oils, which stick to the toxins inside. They’re then released to purify your system.
Any oil the therapist uses in your treatment is specially catered to your dosha and any prevalent health conditions. The vigorous strokes and movements are meant to get the energy running smoothly throughout your entire body, therefore balancing your chakras (energy centers).
Benefits of Ayurvedic Spa Treatments
- Reducing stress and anxiety
- Improving blood circulation
- Lubricating the joints
- Boosting immunity
- Jumpstarting a total detox of your system
Not only do they improve your mental and internal strength, but they also improve the quality of your sleep, the condition of your skin, and the levels of your stamina.
Simply put, whether you go to an ayurvedic spa once every blue moon or you simply make DIY ayurvedic massages a habit at home, these simple practices will soon affect your entire everyday life for the better.
What to Expect at an Ayurvedic Spa: The Process, Procedure, and More
Ahead of your appointment, you’ll be asked detailed questions about you and your health. This is so the therapist can decide which oils and treatments best suit the needs of your dosha.
Also, always remember that it’s important to disclose any medical concerns—such as allergies or pregnancy—to prevent any complications or risks.
When it comes to your massage treatment, everything will be tailored according to your dosha, from the intensity of the pressure to the strokes the therapist will use. Also, expect to be lathered in oil, as ayurvedic massages take total advantage of their healing properties.
In fact, be prepared for some of it to get in your hair and face.
You can also expect your therapists to chant dosha mantras, which are meant to help guide your body, mind, and spirit into attaining perfect balance.
After your rejuvenating session, you’ll need to take a long, relaxing bath or shower to rinse off all that excess herbal oil.
You can choose whether to take the shower at the spa facility or wait until you get home.
But whatever you decide, try not to schedule anything after your treatments for at least a couple of hours. Take the time to relax and let the effects of your spa treatments settle in.
Lots of spas and wellness centers all over the country now offer a range of professional ayurvedic treatments.
There are even several foundations that specialize exclusively in ayurvedic programs only.
But that’s not to say that you can’t also enjoy the joys and benefits of these holistic procedures in the comfort of your own home!
How to Make a DIY Ayurvedic Spa at Home
I think we can all agree that we live in an extremely fast-paced world.
It’s easy to forget about our doshas and to check in with our bodies to see if they need a little extra help achieving balance.
In fact, we could be quite sick, but never notice until our bodies force us to.
But luckily, keeping our doshas in check and practicing mindfulness doesn’t have to be time-consuming or expensive.
It’s absolutely important that we take time out of our schedule to relax and replenish our inner energy to restore or maintain balance.
If you don’t have access to an ayurvedic spa, or you just don’t have the time or money to commit to periodic visits, fear not.
You can give yourself a well-deserved pampering without even leaving your house.
Here are a few do-it-yourself ayurvedic practices that are sure to deliver amazing results without costing you a dime.
1. Body Brushing
While body brushing isn’t an essential ayurvedic practice, it’s an easy first step to starting (or ending) your day off right.
This practice promotes mindfulness and is an amazing act of self-love. Believe it or not, gently brushing your skin helps you form a deeper connection with yourself.
Not only will it make you more alert, but it’ll also improve circulation and naturally exfoliate your skin.
First, choose a dry brush that feels right for your skin type and won’t be too abrasive.
Next, run it through your dry skin upwards in circular motions.
Start at the feet, then slowly make your way towards the heart.
Finally, hop into a warm shower once you’re done.
It’s really that easy!
2. Ayurvedic Facials
Everyone loves a good facial.
Once you’ve determined your dosha, it’s easy to figure out which ayurvedic herbs and oils you need to make a perfect face mask.
However, if you don’t have any of these herbs or oils ready, you can always settle for a nice and soothing facial cleanse made from three common kitchen ingredients: milk, lemon, and honey.
Here’s what you can do with them:
- Combine the milk (preferably raw), honey, and a few drops of lemon juice in a small bowl
- Take a cotton ball and dip it into the mixture
- Dab it all over your face
- Gently rub it in, using circular motions for about five minutes
- Wash it off with cold water
- Pat your face dry
For optimal results, try to do ayurvedic facials as often as you can.
Aside from this practice, your skin will also benefit greatly from a good steam every now and then.
The heat opens up your pores, so all the dirt inside will be easier to remove.
Steaming also prevents future breakouts, as you’re literally sweating out the toxins from your skin.
Plus, it improves blood circulation in your face, which raises the amount of oxygen and nutrients that your skin cells receive.
And finally, if you have a case of strained or tired eyes, you can take two cotton pads, soak them in rose water, and place one on each eyelid.
Make yourself comfortable and keep them on for at least ten minutes.
3. Scalp Massage
Massaging your scalp is an ultra-simple treatment that brings tons of benefits, like thicker hair growth, balancing the nervous system, and treating headaches and migraines.
For the full ayurvedic experience, follow this easy procedure:
- Take one teaspoon of your chosen oil and massage it onto your scalp for ten minutes
- Use gentle, circular strokes (as if you were shampooing your hair)
- Wrap your head in a warm towel
- Leave it on for five to ten minutes as you sit back and relax.
You’ve just completed your first ayurvedic scalp massage.
4. Abhyanga Self-Massage
When preparing to give yourself a full-body massage, make sure you have your preferred oil ready.
Warm it up first by containing it in a small plastic vial and letting it sit in hot water for a few minutes.
Once your oil is nice and heated, apply a small amount onto your palm.
Start the massage with your scalp, using small circular movements. Then move to the face and ears.
Next, rub your shoulders, arms, wrists, and hands.
Slowly make your way down to the rest of your body, ending at the tip of your toes.
You can do this massage right before a bath or shower. Or, you can also do it in the middle of a relaxing soak.
Let the oil settle into your skin for at least fifteen minutes before getting into the water. A nice bath will not only soothe your mind, but it also calms your nervous system and releases tension in your muscles.
5. Bath Massage
As I mentioned before, the second way to do a self-massage is when you’re already in the bath.
Fill up your tub with warm water.
If you like, you can add ⅓ cup of ginger powder, ¼ cup of baking soda, and 1-2 cups of Epsom salt to your bath water to further promote relaxation and healing.
You may use a natural soap on your body, but keep in mind that in Ayurveda, it’s advised that soap should be used sparingly. This is to help preserve the natural-occurring cleansing and moisturizing processes of your skin. Even if you covered yourself in oil, the warm water will rinse off most of it.
A few minutes into your bath, start massaging your skin.
By the end, the bath should touch all of your five basic senses. It should leave you in complete relaxation and emotional contentment.
To ensure the perfect bath session, you can decorate the environment to appear the most soothing for you. You can light a few candles and turn on a playlist of low-volume, relaxing sounds.
Maybe you’d also like to have a nice cup of herbal tea by your side.
Not to mention, this is the perfect time for you to escape from the worries and distractions of everyday life. So make sure you have your phone—or at least your notifications—turned off.
After your bath, pat your skin dry with a soft and warm towel. Then apply the lotion of your choice to your skin.
Ayurvedic Spa: 12 Luxurious Treatments and How to DIY Them
Stepping into an ayurvedic spa is a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
For many people, it opens up a whole new world of healing and self-love.
There are endless treatments available designed to ensure you lead a healthier, happier, and sustainable life.
Let’s take a look at 12 of them now!
Parisheka is a form of sweating therapy where the practitioner pours or sprinkles warm liquids (such as processed buttermilk) over a certain part of your body.
During this procedure, the patient lies still on a traditional wooden Droni table.
The stream-like flow is maintained steady and uninterrupted at a proper height.
Next, the therapist performs gentle sweeping strokes, going in the direction of your body’s marma points. This helps the oil settle deep into your internal tissues, which will stimulate strength and recovery.
Sometimes, prayers and chants are uttered during the session. This usually lasts for a range of 30 to 75 minutes.
Other benefits of this ayurvedic spa treatment include alleviating joint pain, muscle discomfort, backache, bloating, and clearing up skin disorders.
Shirodhara is a combination of two Sanskrit words: shiro which means “head,” and dhara, which means “flow.”
It’s a special ayurvedic technique that consists of oil, buttermilk, or water, being poured in a thin, gentle stream onto your forehead.
A body, scalp, or head massage usually accompanies this stream. It’s a powerful type of therapy that’s meant to stabilize the condition of your mind. It also helps free your mind from anxiety and headaches, and expands your awareness.
Overall, Shirodhara has soothing effects on the soul, body, and mind.
In fact, it may even promote a better quality of sleep, as well as enhanced cognitive functions.
The gentle, warm pressure of the oil allows your body to enter a deep state of rest, much like meditation.
In total, the whole session typically lasts around 30 to 90 minutes.
There are three basic types of Shirodhara, with the only varying factor being the liquid that’s poured onto the patient’s forehead. This is adjusted in accordance with the health condition of the individual seeking treatment.
- Sneha Dhara uses herbal oil, called tela or ghee.
- Ksheer Dhara uses milk that’s infused with herbs.
- Takra Dhara uses buttermilk with herbs mixed into it.
3. Mukha Lepa
Mukha Lepa is an ayurvedic spa treatment where a smooth herbal paste is applied to your face.
This allows the skin to absorb nutrients, which facilitates detoxification, skin tightening, and acne prevention. And what’s great about it is that it’s suitable for every skin type and for people of all ages.
Mukha Lepa is also an ancient treatment. In historic India, women used a combination of natural ingredients like turmeric, honey, raw milk, rose powder, and a few other herbs to make the paste.
Pizichili is said to be the most beautiful and luxurious of deep relaxation treatments.
During a Pizichilli treatment, you receive a gentle body massage accompanied by continuous streams of heated herbal oil. The skin absorbs the oil, deeply purifying, nourishing, and detoxifying the body.
In olden times, only royal families of India had access to Pizichilli. They underwent this treatment to maintain good health and build their immune systems.
Because Pizichili involves a lot of sweating, it’s been proven to eliminate toxins and metals that are settled in the body, such as mercury.
Therefore, those who have been exposed to environmental toxins, vapors, or viruses can greatly benefit from this ayurvedic spa treatment.
Lastly, additional benefits include raised energy levels, emotional balance, and enhanced blood circulation.
5. Sneha Avgahan
Sneha is a Sanskrit word that can mean both “oil” and “love.” And it’s easy to see how this treatment got its name.
After undergoing a Sneha Avgahan treatment, you have an intense feeling of stability and comfort.
To start off the treatment, you sit in a tub filled with medicated herbal oil that covers your entire body from the neck down.
The temperature of the liquid is kept at a consistent degree until proper perspiration occurs.
Not only does this envelope the whole body in oil, but in love as well.
To reach the maximum effect of this treatment, you’ll then receive a gentle massage. This allows the oils to reach the deepest layers of tissue.
The benefits of a Sneha Avgahan treatment include relief from muscular and joint discomfort, decreased stress and anxiety levels, and complete relaxation of the mind.
Udwartana is the upward strokes performed during a massage.
Dry herbal powders or herbal paste are combined with selected medicated oils that are applied to the body. This is done in seven different positions and lasts anywhere from 15 to 45 minutes.
The Utsadan is simply a gentler form of the procedure.
Although the most prominent benefit of Udwartana is that it removes toxins from the skin, it’s also highly recommended for those who are looking to remove excess cellulite and accumulated fat.
Plus, the herbal paste does a great job of gently exfoliating the skin and giving you a clearer complexion.
There are two types of Udwartana:
- The Snigadh (which means wet or oily)
- The Ruksha (which means dry)
As their names would suggest, the Snigadh Udwartana is oilier and moist in texture, meant to exfoliate and rejuvenate the skin.
While the Ruksha Udwartana is rough and dry, and perfect for getting rid of the cellulite and fat under the skin.
Finally, you’ll top off the treatment with a relaxing steam bath.
7. Murdha Tail Shiras Tarpanam
Murdha and shiras mean “head.”
Tail means “oil,” and tarpanam means “soothing.”
So altogether, Murdha Tail Shiras Tarpanam roughly translates to “soothing of the head with oil.”
In this treatment, you’ll have herbal oils on your scalp for a fixed period of time. During this step, the scalp absorbs all the nourishment the oil provides.
The reasoning behind this technique is that in Ayurveda, the human body is seen as an inverted tree, in which the roots are at the top and the branches are pointing downwards.
And so, much like a tree, we need to keep the roots healthy to keep the body healthy.
With our head in a sound condition, the rest of our system flourishes.
This method is highly beneficial for all of the sense organs, the nervous system, and even the growth of hair. It’s good for calming a mind under stress, as it stimulates the release of happy chemicals in our brains. In turn, this could also aid in balancing moods, and subsequently, living a harmonious life.
There are four types of Murdha Tail Shiras Tarpanam: Shiro Abhyanga, Shiro Seka/Dhara, Shiro Pichu, and Shiro Basti.
In Shiro Abhyanga, the head is massaged with herbal oils for the whole process, lasting for about 30-40 minutes.
During a Shiro Seka/Dhara treatment, the therapist pours herbal oils onto the patient’s head for 35-60 minutes.
The Shiro Pichu is when the therapist dips a clean cotton pad into herbal oil and places it over the patient’s head. It stays in this position with a bandage cloth and can remain for 1-2 hours or for maximum results, half a day.
Finally, during a Shiro Basti, the therapist pours wet flour and herbal oils into an open leather cap on top of the head. The cap stays on for 45-60 minutes with constant monitoring to ensure that the oils remain a warm temperature.
Mardan is a type of massage that involves extra heavy pressure on the affected body parts. Sometimes, herbal oils accompany the treatment.
Unmardan is the opposite of this process. In this treatment, the particular body parts are lifted in opposite directions. Both treatments are especially helpful for those who have a larger, heavier body and muscle structure. This is because these body types are often more prone to soreness, muscle fatigue, and neural pain.
Padaghata is a deep tissue Ayurvedic massage. Usually, two or more therapists perform the procedure and use the weight of their feet to apply pressure.
Because of this, Padaghata is especially recommended for people who need heavier pressure on different areas.
Pada translates to “foot,” while aghata means “imparting pressure.”
The treatment is designed to create a delicate and slightly painful sensation to the afflicted body parts (usually the back or limbs). The therapists carefully step on these parts after they dip their feet in a bowl of warm oil.
Despite the slippery surface, they maintain their balance by holding on to ropes hanging from the ceiling. These ropes also help them monitor and control the pressure they’re applying.
Padaghata is great for eliminating any pain, inflammation, or stiffness from the body. It also relaxes the nerves and stimulates better blood circulation.
This is one of the more difficult treatments to conduct, as it needs perfect synchronization, as well as expert knowledge of the different pressure points across the body.
Thus, it’s only performed by the best-trained physical therapists whose feet are kept clean, sterilized, and free from any cracks or calluses.
After this extensive massage, the therapists wipe down your body with a sterile cloth dipped in warm saltwater. And to top it all off, take a warm refreshing bath a few hours later.
Most ayurvedic practitioners use Abhyanga as a significant part of their daily routine, as it’s essential for achieving better overall health.
Even traditional ayurvedic writings instruct us to give ourselves a full-body oil massage on a daily basis.
It goes on to explain that they’re nourishing, pacify the doshas, relieve fatigue, provide stamina, bring us pleasure and perfect sleep, enhance the complexion and luster of our skin, promote longevity, and nourish all parts of our body.
To eliminate any toxins that might’ve built up overnight, Abhyanga is usually done in the morning right before taking a shower.
Although you get an Abhyanga treatment at an ayurvedic spa, this is perhaps the easiest treatment to do at home.
When translated, Samvahan means “even the dead can be awakened.”
It’s an ayurvedic practice that balances the natural healing rhythms of the body. It quiets the mind, gently sending you into a state of meditation, and largely involves the use of music.
Sessions typically last for a range of 30 to 60 minutes.
During the procedure, expert ayurvedic practitioners use their hands, golden bowls, tuning forks, sound tables, and music.
The goal of the treatment is to tune the patient’s body as if it were a musical instrument, which is achieved by creating a tone similar to the body’s internal vibrations.
This allows the nerves, muscles, organs, fluids, and the mind to all come into harmony. When this is achieved, your body enters a state of “perfect paradox”—calm and yet at the same time, stimulated.
The benefits of this procedure are paramount.
It liberates repressed emotions, repairs any physical and emotional imbalances, enables smoother movement in rigid joints, supports recovery from surgery and cancer treatments, and helps unblock stuck energy that may be causing illness.
Gandharva is an old ayurvedic massage that makes use of soothing sounds to stimulate the flow of energy and calm your body.
The practitioner makes sounds using crystal singing bowls. These sounds create vibrations that wake up and revitalize the body’s inactive cells.
In addition to this, you’ll receive a full-body herbal oil massage. This feature makes Gandharva unique because it combines a gentle touch with peaceful sound waves to promote healing and harmony.
Finally, the main objective of this ayurvedic spa treatment is to flush out any hidden toxins and to leave you feeling much more revitalized and completely tranquil.
Top 5 Places to Get Ayurvedic Spa Treatments in the United States
A few days at a spa getaway can completely transform you, and there’s no doubt that you’ll find yourself constantly wanting to come back for more.
Tons of wellness centers now specialize solely on the Ayurveda system of healing, offering amazing package deals of professional massages, relaxing skin and facial treatments, recreational activities, and holistic training programs.
Let’s dive into five of them now!
Surrounded by the breathtaking gift of nature, at The Art of Living Retreat Center, you’ll definitely get the chance to reconnect with yourself and stay in tune with the true beauty of life.
Their main meditation center is on a mountain, right beside the dining hall and other residential facilities.
It stays true to the ancient principles of architecture, as the constructions are designed with the notion of lifting the spirit and bringing focus to the mind.
Plus, this center welcomes both groups and solo vacationers!
Aside from an array of ayurvedic spa treatments and meditation classes, you can also take up some ayurvedic cooking classes to stimulate your senses.
It’s easy to see that at this facility, they fully intend on renewing your spirit with constant holistic practices.
The Authentic Ayurveda of Sedona is Arizona’s leading ayurvedic spa and holistic health center.
They not only offer massages and beauty treatments, but they’re also jam-packed with professional consultations, healing retreats, and week-long detox programs.
At their center, you can fully appreciate the clear blue skies, crisp fresh air, and gorgeous scenery as you rejuvenate and restore your doshas to perfect balance.
Many people believe there are several healing energy vortexes underneath the surface of Sedona, making it truly an ideal place for transforming your inner self.
Authentic Ayurveda prides itself on being a one-stop corner for all your ayurvedic spa treatments and other wellness needs, as you’re able to choose from a huge variety.
If you’re new to Ayurveda and still have lots of questions, you can speak to their chief practitioner, Avani Sukhadia.
She’ll help you learn all about your dosha, and you can receive an in-depth health assessment, as well as lifestyle suggestions.
Their homey premises also hosts cooking classes that teach guests all about delicious ayurvedic recipes and formulas.
And of course, your ayurvedic retreat wouldn’t be totally complete without the special private yoga and meditation sessions.
They even have an exotic Indian shopping boutique on their grounds!
This ayurvedic spa center’s ultimate goal is to help you achieve enhanced health. They also work hard to give you the tips and tools you need for maintaining your results after the program.
For over 25 years, The Raj has been a pioneer in ayurvedic treatments.
They’re quite exclusive in the sense that they only accept 15 guests at a time. This is so they can maintain a high quality of authentic individualized services.
The experts at The Raj will sit down with you and design a custom treatment program exclusive for your use only. And of course, this also includes a list of customized oils and herbs meant to pacify your dosha!
Plus, each of their treatments are approved by the Maharishi Ayurveda Council of Physicians, which is many consider the gold standard of Ayurveda.
Surya Spa is an authentic and artisan Ayurvedic clinic that offers professional consultations and traditional herbal treatments, with a major focus on the highly-personalized Panchakarma Series.
Panchakarma refers to a long process that rids the body of toxic materials left by illnesses or poor nutrition.
All the treatments that you receive at Surya are prepared uniquely for your needs.
Your treatment oils are even herbalized and cooked overnight, using only fresh and organic ingredients to pacify your dosha.
They intend on making your stay as comfortable and close to home as possible. You’re surrounded by the sweet aroma of ayurvedic cuisine, and every day you’ll meet a new friend on a similar journey.
Finally, they also keep each space meditative and sacred to provide the perfect environment for spiritual experiences to happen.
Vedic Spa is not only home to a tremendous scope of ayurvedic and holistic practices, but they also offer a full range of beauty treatments such as facials, waxing, massages, and threading services.
They even have customized bridal and party packages, perfect for holding a nice, relaxing get-together with the people you love.
Vedic Spa was molded from the owners’ genuine passion to help men and women rediscover their true selves.
They boast a state-of-the-art facility and host professional and premium ayurvedic services, aided by organic and natural herbs of the best quality.
And there you have it! Five ayurvedic spas in the United States, how to make your own ayurvedic spa at home, and a rundown on everything you need to know before walking into one.
Elise is an independent creative with a background in Visual Arts, Design, and Fashion. In the past few years, she has worked as a writer, designer, and artist for various clients, brands, and start-ups. In her spare time, she loves to garden, work out outdoors, and spend time with her family and their many, many pets.