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Ayurvedic Medicine in Ulpotha

Ulpotha has an exciting programme of Ayurveda treatments and, by the very definition of 'holistic', possesses the ideal climate and environment for the practise of this deeply therapeutic and traditional healing art. So much so that traditional Sri Lankan Ayurveda in Ulpotha is unlike what you are likely to experience elsewhere – you will not find people walking around in white lab coats carrying clipboards to convey the sense of a clinic or health spa.

Ulpotha has an exciting programme of Ayurveda treatments and, by the very definition of 'holistic', possesses the ideal climate and environment for the practise of this deeply therapeutic and traditional healing art. So much so that traditional Sri Lankan Ayurveda in Ulpotha is unlike what you are likely to experience elsewhere – you will not find people walking around in white lab coats carrying clipboards to convey the sense of a clinic or health spa.

The treatments are gentle and, since almost all of the food served in Ulpotha is healthy, there are hardly any restrictions on what you can eat here. Ulpotha is all about integrating the Ayurveda lifestyle into your life with subtlety and authenticity.

There are seven treatment programmes on offer at Ulpotha:

  • Santhushti (Happiness) – 3 days - $200
  • Ashinsanaya (Benediction) – 5 days - $300
  • Sanasuma (Satisfaction) – 7 days - $400
  • Namskaraya (Salutation) – 10 days - $600
  • Abhishekaya (Coronation) – 12 days, $720
  • Aswesilla (Solace) – 14 days - $800
  • Samadhiya (Profound) – 21 days - $1,200
  • Mokshaya (Redemption)– 28 days - $1,600
...read more

What You Can Expect

All our Ayurveda treatments, regardless of the personalized elements of a treatment that stem from a personal consultation, contain preparatory and elimination therapies. The preparatory therapies are the ones everyone likes and most Ayurveda is known for - massages, oil applications, steam baths, saunas and herbal baths. Elimination therapies on the other hand, are the ones that some people will find a little bit more challenging to accept. They consist of what is more commonly known as Panchakarma (ie. the five specialized elimination therapies): inhalation, purgation, emesis (vomiting), enemas and blood-letting. The latter three are not prescribed or performed in Ulpotha.

What’s Included

If an Ayurveda treatment is short in length, say the 3-day Santhushti, 5-day Ashinsanaya or 7-day Sanasuma programmes, then you only have enough time for preparatory treatments that would include inhalation as an elimination therapy.

If you have time for the 10-day Namaskaraya, 12-day Abhishekaya or 14-day Samadhiya programmes, then you can also undergo purgation. However, the consultation is critical to determine which elimination therapies are required. If someone is particularly weak, they will be subject to much more of the preparatory treatments and very little of the elimination therapies regardless of how long a programme they have chosen. So, while you need to be on a long Ayurveda programme to undergo elimination therapies, it's not necessarily the case that you will definitely be subject to them.

For the 3-day Santhushti, 5-day Ashinsanaya, 7-day Sanasuma or 10-day Namaskaraya programmes, guests will receive treatments every day. Each day will consist of roughly one to two hours of treatments.

The 12-day Abhishekaya and 14-day Aswesilla programmes will have one or two rest days, while the 21-day Samadhiya programme will have two or three rest days and the 28-day Mokshaya (Redemption) programme will have three or four rest days.

An Example: Our 7-day Sanasuma Treatment

Following your consultation with our resident Ayurveda doctor, the first day of treatment will consist of a full head, face and body oil application and massage, called Abhyanga (a relaxing oil application that soothes the outer layer of the body) followed by a herbal bath.

The second day may consist of a deeper oil application that is designed to penetrate the second layer of the body, which is called Angamarda Abhyanga (no head or face included) followed by a sauna or steam bath.

The third day will consist of a full body oil application followed by a herbal paste that is applied to the body.

The fourth day will see you receive Shirodara, which is when oil is dripped on your forehead and head.

The fifth day consists of an inhalation therapy accompanied by a head and face oil application and a facial steam.

The sixth day will be a Sarvangadara oil treatment (from a layman's terms, this is a Shirodara but one for the whole body) followed by a steam bath.

The seventh day will be a full body oil application carried out using poultices made of special milk rice consisting of medicinal decoctions

Each daily treatment is finished with a warm water bath using Mung bean flour for cleansing.

Ayurveda treatments will be scheduled either in the morning or in the afternoon. You will have the rest of each day to hang out and do other things, including the optional Yoga classes. If you are having treatment you will be able to attend at least one Yoga class a day. Sometimes you may prefer to just relax after your Ayurveda treatments, something that is absolutely fine.

More on Ayurveda Treatment Programmes

The primary aim of Ayurveda is to balance the body’s energies and thus restore one’s health and vitality. As mentioned, Ulpotha is a particularly suitable place in which to undergo Ayurveda treatment, because the food and the environment complement the therapies and serve to underscore the holistic approach of Ayurveda itself.

All guests who have pre-booked an Ayurveda programme start off with a consultation with Dr. Srilal, Ulpotha’s resident Ayurveda doctor. During this meeting, they will learn what their particular Dosha or body type is, as well as gain an insight in their state of health from an Ayurveda perspective.

Dr. Srilal will prepare a detoxification and rejuvenation treatment plan for each individual. Central to the drawing up of an Ayurveda programme is the consultation. Through this the doctor will get a sense of what imbalances are present, and which of the seven different body types are involved. Once an Ayurveda treatment programme is chosen, the doctor will then vary the use of treatment ingredients and medicines accordingly and administer one of the Ayurveda therapies below. It is worth keeping in mind that the shorter programmes (ie. less than 10 days) will be largely similar from one guest to the next, with small individual tweaks to differentiate one from another (mainly in the combination of ingredients and/or oils).

All of the Ayurveda programmes begin with detoxification therapies, which consist of preparatory and specialized elimination treatments. Preparatory treatments are called oleation and fomentation.

Ayurveda Oleation therapies consist of the following:

  • Ayurveda Oleation therapies consist of the following:
  • Angamarda Abhyanga: A deeper oil application for the second layer of the body
  • Pattu: Application of a detoxifying herbal paste on the body – though this does not involve oil, it is an important step in the process of opening the pores of the body to facilitate detoxification
  • Shirodhara: Dripping of oil on the third eye to detoxify, relax and still the mind
  • Sarvangadhara: Involves the dripping of oil on the whole body
  • Aswesilla (Solace) – 14 days - $800
  • Samadhiya (Profound) – 21 days - $1,200
  • Pinda sweda: Application of oil with a milk rice poultice

All of the above Ayurveda oleation therapies are administered with the intent of dislodging toxins from the body’s tissues and moving them towards the pores. These toxins are extracted through the fomentation therapies, which consist in turn of herbal baths, steam baths and herbal saunas.

Ayurveda Elimination therapies

The specialised Ayurveda elimination therapies on the other hand consist of inhalation and purgation treatments among others. All of these are used to bring the body’s energies into balance, though not all of them will be necessary in all cases. Once a balance is achieved, nourishing Ayurveda therapies are administered to maintain that balance. These rejuvenation treatments consist of traditional Sri Lankan Ayurveda oral remedies using organic ingredients.

In order to experience all of the Ayurveda preparatory and elimination treatments, it is necessary to choose the Namaskaraya (10-day) or longer programme.

Please note that you need to be in Ulpotha for at least two days before starting an Ayurveda treatment if you have arrived directly from overseas.

A history of Ayurveda in Ulpotha

Until 2004, Ulpotha had offered non-specific and general native treatments such as steam and infused water baths. The main reason for the absence of Ayurveda in Ulpotha was that the founders wanted to wait until the right person crossed their path to carry out the very specialised therapeutic practise of Ayurveda.

When the founders of Ulpotha met Dr. Srilal Mudunkothge B.A.M.S., they realised they had found the person in whom they could place their confidence and trust to establish an Ayurveda practise in Ulpotha. They felt that his Ayurveda qualifications and credentials, combined with his understanding of the profound importance that a healthy and natural environment has to the process of healing, made him the ideal practitioner to introduce Ayurveda to Ulpotha.

As an integral part of the arrangements made with Dr. Srilal, an Ayurveda clinic was established in August, 2005, to give Ayurveda treatments to local villagers free of charge. This initiative, which includes free Ayurveda medicines, takes us back to the traditional way Ayurveda was dispensed, where Ayurveda patients rarely if ever paid in cash for the Ayurveda care they received. Instead they would make a symbolic offering of betel leaves to the Ayurveda doctor at the time of consultation and make their own services in kind available to the Ayurveda doctor.

The clinic is funded by the income generated from Ulpotha's Ayurveda treatments.