Monsoon. The very word conjures up the image of a green, green landscape of dripping leaves, drumming raindrops, gurgling streams overflowing their banks, children splashing in puddles, and palms swaying to the tune of boisterous, moisture laden winds. Kerala in India is especially enchanting during the monsoon, for here the rains never settle down to a monotonous downpour but are constantly being teased by periods of brilliant sunshine. The romance of the monsoon however, is often diminished by a host of ailments that are aggravated by the damp and humidity. The queues in front of hospitals and clinics become longer as the rainy season progresses and arthritis, gastric disturbances, asthma, sinusitis, diarrhea, indigestion and skin diseases hold sway. It is here that Ayurveda, the 5000 year old system of holistic healing, comes to the rescue. According to Ayurveda, mid-June to mid-August is referred to as the Varsha Rithu, and this is the best season for rejuvenation therapies that strengthen the body, for the atmosphere is dust-free and cool. Moreover the body is most receptive to herbal oils and therapies during the monsoon, as this is when its pores are open to their maximum extent.
The Monsoon is the best time to go for a course of Panchakarma treatment, to be carried out strictly under the guidance of a trained ayurvedic physician or vaidya. Kerala, blessed by Nature with both abundant rainfall and ample sunshine, is without doubt an ideal destination for the rejuvenation therapies that have been carefully formulated through the accumulated wisdom and experience of generations of traditional vaidya families. During the rainy season especially, the land abounds in a lavish extravaganza of medicinal plants and herbs that can be freshly picked and prepared to meet personalized treatment protocols. These include Abhyanga or whole body massage that helps in improving blood circulation, and reducing stress and Dhara in which medicated oils are poured on the forehead to reduce stress, relieve headaches, improve memory, and improve sleep. Other procedures include Swedanam, in which a patient is made to sweat by using the steam of herbs, Pizhichil which involves pouring oil all over the body accompanied with a massage, and Virechana which is a medical purgation therapy to remove accumulated toxins. This treatment is effective in treating skin disorders, diabetes, asthma and digestive disorders.
Diet is also an important part of Ayurvedic rejuvenation therapy. A specialty of Kerala is the “Karkidaka Kanji” which is an Ayurvedic gruel made with special herbs, rice and lentils. It is considered as a perfect health supplement for promoting the overall well being of person and boosting the body’s immunity when taken during the monsoon season. Your diet should also include plenty of boiled and cooled water, ginger, green gram and milk. Eat nuts- almonds, walnuts and their oils- seeds like sesame, sunflower and their oils, grape seed oil, soybean oil, whole grains, and legumes. Avoid cold food and drinks as well as curds and salads.
So come to Kerala during the monsoon. The rain, whether drizzling or pelting, forms a blanket of soft vibration over the landscape that helps you shut out the stress and care of modern life, and turns your focus inwards. Then, let Ayurveda’s healing touch work its magic on you, so that every year henceforth, the monsoon will mean Ayurveda and Ayurveda will lead you to Kerala at her most bewitching.