Spurred by the growth in the global spa economy that is estimated to be over AED 917.5 billion, according to a major report unveiled at the 2008 Global Spa Summit, destination Sri Lanka is gearing itself to receive more spa tourists in the months ahead.
“Sri Lanka has as many as 6,500 registered Ayurveda practitioners, many of whom have undergone a seven-year course followed by two years in a conventional hospitals and are now catering to the spa needs of an increasing numbers of tourists to Sri Lanka,” said Heba Al Ghais Al Mansoori, Middle East Director of Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau (SLTPB).
She noted that in addition to the Ayurveda clinics, many luxurious hotels and beach resorts have a spa or massage centre within the premises. “The principles and techniques of this ancient medical approach are still being used to promote a sense of relaxation and rejuvenation, as part of a pleasurable holiday,” Ms. Al Mansoori remarked.
Ayurveda uses leaves, flowers, barks, roots and berries to cleanse the blood and the body of impurities. “It is the traditional system of medicine practiced in Sri Lanka. Ruins of ancient hospitals with medicinal baths and toilets dating back to the 4th Century BC can be seen even today in the ancient capital of Anuradhapura in north central Sri Lanka,” added Ms. Al Mansoori.
Among the newest to offer in-house Ayurvedic therapy for visitors is Ayurveda Pavilions in the coastal fishing town of Negombo. The first health holiday resort to be established on the west coast of the country, it provides a quiet and peaceful environment for providing preventive and curative treatment with the help of a team of highly qualified Ayurveda practitioners.
Accommodation is provided in small villas with modern facilities including luxurious bathrooms and featuring traditional architecture creating a village atmosphere for the visitors. Outdoor baths in a small courtyard in each villa allows visitors to enjoy herbal baths in the privacy of their own pavilions.
There are many luxurious Spas featuring Ayurvedic treatment around Sri Lanka, many of them along the western coast. Barberyn Reef Ayurveda Resort in Beruwala has been a pioneer, providing Ayurveda treatment for over two decades.
“The importance of Ayurveda is underscored by the fact that a separate ministry has been established to develop the country’s traditional medical system,” says Ms. Al Mansoori. “The Ministry of Indigenous Medicine overlooks the several Ayurvedic Hospitals and over ten thousand registered Ayurvedic physicians in the country,” he adds. Each physician has to undergo a seven-year training period before being allowed to practice.
The holistic approach to health, where body, mind and soul are inextricably linked, seeks to balance the body’s energies to ensure good health and a feeling of well-being. A comprehensive treatment includes massage, herbal baths, oil treatment and a special diet, as well as meditation, yoga and music.
For any visitor, the wild natural beauty of the country including scenic waterfalls, spice and tea plantations, bird and wildlife reserves and tropical jungle excursions are experiences that would remain as cherished memories. The Ayurvedic Spa experience will be something tangible to take away.