Thyroid Healing in India
My Unexpected Journey to India
India was never on my bucket list.
So to find myself writing this while I am deep in the foothills of Coimbatore in Southern India is quite amazing.
It started when my husband and I met a lovely Indian man at a swap meet last year. We got chatting and he started talking about Ayurveda and how that was the way forward for the health of the whole world.
I knew a little about Ayurveda - and by a little I mean I knew it was the Indian Healing System.
That's about it.
So I really didn't think much about the conversation until my husband said to me
"You really should look into that, the man said to go to India to study it"
I looked at hubby strangely and said "Yeah, I'll check it out" (no intention of doing that)
Fast forward a couple of months and I was having lunch with a friend of mine who had run retreats in India for the last few years. I always asked how they went, but had never really been interested in attending.
This time, because of the conversation at the swap meet and my husband's insistence I asked for more details. After a rather long lunch I went home and said to hubby
"I think I'm going to India on retreat - what do you think?"
And since I am here you know how that conversation went.....
What is Ayurveda?
Ayurveda is the Indian system of healing. If you think of Traditional Chinese Medicine from China it is the same premise.
Ayur = Life
Veda = knowledge
Ayurveda is the Sister Science to Yoga and Vedic Astrology.
In Ayurveda all people are considered to have been born with the 3 doshas, (Kapha - Pitta - Vata), but one is usually predominant. It is when these doshas are imbalanced that ill health occurs.
Arriving in India
After flying from Perth to Singapore and then on to India we landed late into the night. Another hour's drive in the bus, which was full of happy, excited chatter with the other retreat participants, and we pulled into the hospital grounds.
At this point I had to keep reminding myself I was actually in India.
We were then shown to our rooms, mine was on the second floor, and although the rooms are extremely simple (you could say monastic), it had all the creature comforts required, and at this point, all I needed was the bed! I did bring my own pillow with me as I use a chiropractic pillow and getting used to another bed is hard enough so having my own pillow was a godsend over the 3 weeks.
I think I fell asleep the minute my head hit that pillow, and I slept until 5.30am.
The day began with breakfast brought to my room. It was a western breakfast of porridge, medicated honey and apple, plus a slice of toast. After the first morning I was able to choose if I wanted to continue having a western breakfast or have an Indian breakfast (I chose the Indian).
By mid morning four Doctors appeared at my door.
I was asked what it was that I wanted to improve about my health.
My answer was in order:
- Thyroid Health
- Fluid Retention
- Knee Pain (from a meniscus tear years ago)
- Foot pain (from a recent tendon injury)
I did not ask for Weight Loss, because I have always believed if I healed my thyroid and fluid, then the weight would take care of itself. I still believe that.
After writing down my issues, the head doctor took my pulse. He quietly said to me "You are very sensitive" to which I nodded (tears welling up)..... How on earth could he tell that from my pulse???
He then squeezed my dodgy knee and asked if it hurt. "Yes"
He then squeezed my other knee (that I thought I had no problems with) and I slightly yelped! What the???
I said "Why does that knee hurt? I don't have problems with that knee?"
The doctor continued in his quiet "matter of fact" voice, "You have arthritis"
I guess it kinda makes sense. I have been carrying extra weight for 26 years now, but I was still shocked as my general health had improved so much over the last few years.
And with that piece of information the doctors all left the room and my treatment was written up.
My Daily Routine
My days fell into a fairly regular routine.
All medicines and food were brought to my room. If I chose to join the others in my group for meals, I could (we had a designated eating area on the verandah) or if I wanted to keep to myself I could too. I did a mixture of both over my time.
My daily treatments were at 7am (which was fine because I was always awake early) and everybody else was staggered at different times throughout the day.
My first treatment of the day was a massage. For the first 7 days it was a massage called Abhyangam, which is an oily massage by two women (the men in our group had men massaging them) using a medicated oil. The oil used on myself was to help with the arthritis, inflammation and swelling issues in my body.
After this treatment I had a second treatment later in the day which was a poultice on my knees and my foot injury. The poultice was made fresh everyday from the hospital gardens (not really sure which plants were in it though) and I would lay on my bed for an hour while the poultice did its thing.
The rest of the day consisted of the Doctors visiting (at least once) the nurse taking my blood pressure, herbs and ayurvedic medicines brought to me and, of course, the food.
We were asked to rest as much as possible - particularly myself due to the knee and foot treatments. So that meant laying down a lot. I found this a bit challenging at first, but got into the rhythm after trying to kneel one day and having my knee give out on me!! The Doctor said, while treatment was happening the tissues would be weak. He was right!! So then I rested a little bit more seriously!
In the second week, I started what was called "Main Treatment".
This involves a different kind of massage with 6 amazing therapists! This was unlike anything I have ever experienced, and I just can't begin to describe it, so I won't lol!
During "Mains" if you leave your room, it is required that we wear a head scarf or beanie. This is to cover our head and ears as immunity is lowered during this main treatment. The idea of this week is that all of the toxins in our body is pushed into the digestive tract. On the final day there is then a dumping of the toxins out of the body.
Building me back up
After Main Treatment, the final week is different for everyone. For me it was a treatment called Udwarthanam, which is an Ayurvedic dry powder massage.
This type of treatment is used to reduce the Kapha Dosha, reduce fat and strengthen the body and muscles. I have to say, it made a massive difference to my tummy and upper arms.
Other people in my group though worked on various issues such as diabetes, tinnitus, bad backs, eye health and many other various ailments. It seems Ayurveda has a treatment for everything!
Visiting the Ashram
We had two "day passes" from the hospital and one was to visit an Ashram about an hour away.
As the photo's show, it was truly amazing. We were not allowed to bring our phones or cameras into the Ashram, so the memories from inside the walls are in my heart not my computer.
I did though have a spiritual cleansing in the women's grotto, which was a very sacred memory.
Shopping in Coimbatore
The other day pass was a shopping trip into downtown Coimbatore. We visited some beautiful shops and it was so great to see the everyday hustle and bustle of this city. I was surprised by the number of schools and universities. It seemed every 5 kms there was another.
Talks from the Doctors
We were privileged to have had four talks in total from different Doctors during our stay.
They patiently answered all of our various questions on our treatments and food and everything else we threw at them. I didn't know that Astrology was an integral part of their life philosophy.
Just a few of the take home messages included:
- Eat only local and seasonal foods
- Cook fresh at each meal, don't eat leftovers
- Nothing in excess
- Drinking after meals slows the metabolism
- No snacking between meals
- Closed lid cooking keeps toxins and pesticides in the food (unless using organic)
- Raw food is not as well metabolised by a sedentary person
- All disease starts in the stomach
- Ayurveda does not put people in boxes or categories - it is dynamic and fluid.
- In imperfection there lies more tolerance
What I learned...
I learned many things about myself and about the Indian Culture.
I was expecting this trip to be about my physical body, but it was very clearly about my mental and emotional body. I cleared many blocks and fears during this time, and I learned to receive....
How many of us give and give and give???
And of course we are extremely happy to do so! We love it!
There comes a time when we must also receive, so that we do not become so empty we have nothing more to give.
Allowing myself to be massaged everyday, someone bringing me food and medicine and asking me how I am feeling was a huge lesson in receiving.
I had some major ah ha moments as well.
The Indian women take so much pride in their appearance. Every day they would wear fresh flowers in their hair, different jewellery, their handbags matched their shoes and their sari's were beyond beautiful.
I watched, so intrigued, as we drove though some little villages on our way to shopping or the Ashram, the women in their beautiful sari's walking through mud and animals, yet staying perfectly clean.
Even during my treatments (some of which were messy, like the poultice) they were so particular and never got a drop on themselves! I thought about how messy I get when I'm cooking and I was enthralled with these women's ability to stay clean!
This was the constant mantra from Doctors and Therapists alike..... "Slowly Slowly"
It didn't matter if I was walking the verandah or turning over on the massage bed, there was a permanent chant of "slowly slowly". And that was so hard!
We do everything so quickly (well at least I do).
If I have an idea, I rush to get it done.
I rush to fit an 18 hour day into 8 hours.
Everything in my life seems to be a rush.
So the concept of "slowly slowly" is one that I am trying to implement at home.
I told my husband, and so now he is the keeper of the chant, and when I start moving too quick on something he is the one to remind me "slowly slowly". I think within 2 day of me being home he had said it to me at least 5 times that I can think of.
The Journey Home
The two flights home gave me time to reflect on what I got out of this amazing 3 1/2 weeks in India.
Life Transformation. Simple as that.
I cannot begin to go into what a profound effect this time had on me. How it clarified my business ideas, how it strengthened my gut, how it reduced my inflammation, how it softened my views, how it reminded me it was ok to be a girly girl, how it taught me to take my time.
Seeing my boys (husband and son) at the airport reminded me why it was so important for me to take this time out and get to know myself better. They are also the recipients of this transformation, because I am so much more mindful about how I am designing my life moving forward, which will benefit them both.
Yes, I am designing my life, as you should!
And how are my knees? Awesome! (I can kneel without pain)
And how is my foot injury? Fantastic! (I can walk without pain)
And did I lose weight? Yes! (I lost 5 kg and 2 dress sizes due to lowered inflammation)
Wanna come with me?
So next year, I am taking my own group of people to this transformative place.
If you want to come and work on your health, learn to receive and up level your life, then hit the link below. I will be taking a maximum of 10 people.
Not only will we work on our health but we will work on discovering what your "Gift" to this world is.
Love & Slowly Slowly Hugs