Spa review: Jivita Ayurveda

by Bernadette Fallon
Jivita Ayurveda London treatment room

What is it?

An Ayurvedic spa and wellbeing centre in the heart of west London

What’s Ayurveda?

It’s an ancient Indian health and wellness system, working on the basis of prevention and maintenance, rather than cure. Diets and herbs are prescribed on the basis of mind-body type or ‘dosha’ and there are three main types – Vata, Pitta, Kapha - though most of us are made up of a combination of these, with one leading dosha. Think of it as a pattern of energy, a blend of emotional and physical characteristics.

What’s good on the treatment menu?

My favourite Ayurvedic treatment is the Shirodhara, which involves pouring a continuous stream of warm oil on the forehead, and letting it run off the back of the head (the copper pot which holds the oil is pictured above). Anu Paavola, owner of Jivita Ayurveda, describes it as a hug for the brain – possibly the best way I’ve ever heard it summed up. It’s exactly that and sends me into a semi-trance state every time, a blissed-out relaxation experience for the body.

I also have the Abhyanga whole body massage, which uses a combination  of oils and herbs suited to my dosha. Mine is Vata and Anu can tell just by looking at me – she’s absolutely right, I’ve had it analysed now several times. The massage is deep enough to get to grips with the horribly tangled knots in my back and shoulders and, while it would probably take several days to work them all out, Anu does give them a fairly rigorous going over.

How do I feel afterwards?

Chilled, rested, rebalanced and grounded. Which is good as I waited half an hour on a very chilly train platform afterwards, as trains were announced and then cancelled. But I remained calm and Zen through it all!

I am a bit of an oil slick though, following the Shirodhara treatment and my hair is glistening with oil. Anu did offer to run me a shower, but said it is better to let the oil do its restorative and moisturising work on my scalp for the rest of the evening. So I squeeze out the excess, clip my hair into a bun and head out into the night, a radiant advertisement for Ayurveda. No doubt my fellow travellers on the Kensal Rise platform were most impressed!

How much does it cost and where is it?

Abhyanga whole body massage with one therapist, £70 for 60 min, £100 for 90 min, £130 for 120 min; Shirodhara warm oil treatment for the head, £88 for 60 min

Jita Ayurveda is at 89 Chamberlayne Road, Kensal Rise, London NW10 3ND; phone 020 8964 4993 for more information or visit the website at www.jivitaayurveda.com

See last week’s review – luxury spa break in Oxford

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