Health & Life: Bathed in Hot Oil; Westerners Are Increasingly Turning to Complementary and Eastern Health Methods as a Way of Coping with the Modern World. Women's Editor DIANE PARKES Visits One of the Midlands' Newest Centres

By Parkes, Diane | Birmingham Evening Mail (England), March 7, 2000 | Go to article overview
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Health & Life: Bathed in Hot Oil; Westerners Are Increasingly Turning to Complementary and Eastern Health Methods as a Way of Coping with the Modern World. Women's Editor DIANE PARKES Visits One of the Midlands' Newest Centres


Parkes, Diane, Birmingham Evening Mail (England)


COVERING people in hot oil used to be a medieval torture, but it also forms the basis of a deep relaxing treatment brought to the West Midlands from India.

Lying with your head back while a stream of warm oil flows on to your forehead may sound like a strange way of chilling out, but hundreds of enthusiasts are turning to Ayur-Vedic treatments as a way of switching off to the outside world and building an inner strength.

Treatments are just a small part of the Ayur-Veda philosophy, which if studied and adopted as a lifestyle aims to rejuvenate and revitalise. According to its philosophy, each person has a certain constitutional type - pitta (fire and water), vata (air and space) or kapha (earth and water) - which they should be aware of to tailor diet and lifestyle to their best benefit.

The treatments were once the domain of royal dynasties within the ancient Vedic civilisation of India. By using oil and herbal massages on a regular basis, the kings and princes believed they could prolong their lives.

Although it helps to be a royal - Prince Andrew is known to be an Ayur-Veda fan - these days the ancient treatments are also available to us commoners.

The treatments come to the Midlands courtesy of European Ayur-Veda (EAV), which has just moved its headquarters from Bournemouth to Hoar Cross Hall near Lichfield.

Heart attack

EAV managing director Ian Hayward knows from experience how important it is to look at your life and take time out to improve your health and wellbeing.

"I was in my twenties, running my own company, drinking lots of coffee, smoking - and then I had a heart attack. It was congenital, but they told me unless I changed my lifestyle I would die," he recalls.

"A friend of mine was doing transcendental meditation and I could see a change in him so I decided to try it. From there I learned all about Ayur-Veda and came to see its benefits."

Ian finally set up his own branch of Ayur-Veda, which aims to remove some of the ascetism and tailor treatments especially to Western needs.

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Health & Life: Bathed in Hot Oil; Westerners Are Increasingly Turning to Complementary and Eastern Health Methods as a Way of Coping with the Modern World. Women's Editor DIANE PARKES Visits One of the Midlands' Newest Centres
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