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Editor's note:If you are looking to add a new menu item or focus in the new year, consider the benefits of ayurveda. Does it have a place in your spa?
First Lady Michelle Obama recently enjoyed a rare treat while she and President Obama were in India for a three-day visit. The first lady was looking forward to receiving an authentic ayurveda massage specially prepared for her by some of India’s top ayurveda specialists, and to emerging feeling several years younger.
Ayurveda is the natural system of holistic health that originated in India thousands of years ago, and is, according to the World Health Organization, the oldest continuously practiced system of health care in the world.
“Ayurveda promotes reducing the effects of stress on mind and body through health-promoting therapies including massage, good eating habits, balanced daily routine, yoga, meditation and a seasonal cleansing program known as panchakarma, which is recommended once a year or at the change of seasons. Panchakarma helps reduce the buildup of stress-related biochemicals and environmental toxins in the body believed to play a role in the development of ill health and to contribute to the adverse affects of aging,” says Karin Pirc, MD, PhD, a European physician practicing ayurveda for more than 20 years, and author of several publications on the benefits of ayurveda for everyday modern life. Pirc is currently visiting the Maharishi Ayurveda Health Center in Lancaster, Massachusetts from Germany where she and her husband Lothar Pirc founded the award-winning Ayurveda Health Center in Bad Ems in 1993.
“Many of these ancient ayurvedic recommendations are becoming popular in the United States, ranging from the simple things your grandmother would have told you such as 'early to bed and early to rise' or 'drink a cup of plain hot water a day,' to the more specialized and highly customized in-residence cleansing programs. A rapidly growing number of Westerners are finding the holistic ayurveda approaches to be effective ways to maintain the body’s youth, resilience and promote health, longevity and well-being.” says Andrea York, director of public relations at the Maharishi Ayurveda Health Center Lancaster.