What a nice surprise to be invited to the beautiful coastal town of Westport to review the country’s pre-eminent Ayurvedic Spa. My wife and I had a pleasant drive across from Dublin and were greeted upon arrival at the Carlton Atlantic Coast Hotel by the lovely Michelle Ryan, who gave us a tour and introduced us to Sandra McCaffrey, captain of the Health Spa and champion of Ayurvedic treatments.
The dozen or so authentic Ayurvedic treatments available, from the more than capable hands of 1 – 3 practitioners born and raised amongst the Ayurvedic traditions in India, all seemed like experiences I wanted to have. In the end, I decided to have Shirodhara, facilitated by the insightful Dr. Thomas T. Pampackel.
For those who don’t know, Shirodhara is a very popular treatment in India, where warm oil is poured continuously onto the centre of the forehead (third eye) for 30 minutes. It acts like a psychic enema, cleansing the mind and sending you into a deep, trance like state of total relaxation.
At first, my thoughts were busy running this way and that, but then, every so often, I would wake up, realising that I had been away in a place of ‘no mind’ for God knows how long. It reminded me of what Deepak Chopra refers to as the space between thoughts where the field of pure consciousness resides.
At the same time, my wife Evi was having a very healing experience while receiving an Ayurvedic Massage and Basti treatment in another room in the Spa. Afterwards, we were given medicinal Ayurvedic tea and allowed to relax for as long as we needed.
The whole experience was so nurturing that we decided to stay on an extra night and really make the most of our time there. We’ll definitely be back.