From treating mosquito bites to digestive cleanses, Ayurveda takes a refreshingly holistic approach to medicine. It addresses the cause rather than the symptoms of disease, and integral to its philosophy is the importance of massage, or abhyanga, to maintain wellbeing. Using warm oils infused with botanicals that are tailored to a patient’s dosha, or body type, the skilled hands of an expert therapist can pacify the agitated and rejuvenate the fatigued. From a soothing Indian head massage to a relaxing abhyanga, here’s where to find the best Ayurvedic massage in London.
As yoga’s sister science, it’s a given that London’s most established yoga franchise offers Ayurvedic treatments, too. Triyoga has outposts across the capital, with rather lovely treatment rooms in each. While the menu is admittedly limited, it includes the greatest hits: a revitalising abhyanga massage; a shirodhara that soothes the nervous system with a steady stream of warm oil poured over the forehead; and a kati basti to relieve back ache. Less common is the Uzhichil Kalari deep-tissue treatment, where Kerala-trained Ramu Nair brings decades of experience to the massage table to offer quite simply the best Ayurvedic massage in London.
A friendly little spa in north London, Jivita Ayurveda offers courses and workshops for those interested in learning more about the ancient healing science. For those who’d rather just enjoy the fruits of it, though, there’s plenty to indulge. Jivita Ayurveda’s menu loops comprehensively through the usual suspects that you’d encounter on a wellness holiday in India, including shirodhara, abhyanga, and, to blend the two, a shiroabhyanga, or Indian head massage, believed to relieve tension headaches and nourish the hair.
Step beyond the cosy confines of the Ayurvedic clinic, and London’s hustle has the capacity to jolt free the soothing effects of an hour’s abhyanga in a single car horn. Step in Sankar Kavirajan, who brings his two decades of experience and a travel case of organic oils and herbs to your home or hotel room. Whether it’s simple relaxation or a targeted treatment for a slipped disc or sciatica, Sankar’s reputation as London’s best Ayurvedic massage therapist is firmly established.
Under the watchful eye of one of London’s most highly regarded Ayurvedic doctors, Dr Deepa Apté, Ayurveda Pura is a busy centre in east London that’s as popular for its herbal medicines and balms—the rejuvenating Chyawanprash supplement is a consistent sell-out—as it is for its authentic treatments. Alongside a luxurious four-hand 90-minute abhyanga, there’s a broad range of Ayurvedic favourites: Marma Abhyanga to stimulate the body’s energy points; Pinda Sveda, which kneads tension from the back and limbs using herb-stuffed poultices; and Udvartana, an exfoliating herbal scrub that includes a fragrant hit of sandalwood that takes you right back to that holiday in Kerala.
No roll call of Ayurvedic centres in London would be complete without a nod to The Ayurvedic Clinic, helmed by pioneering Ayurvedic physicians Dr Rodrigo and Dr Wijesinghe. The wealth of herbal wisdom that these women bring to their patients more than justifies the trek out to their established Croydon clinic, which also facilitates courses in the herbs, cooking and massage techniques.
Feature images © Jivitak Ayurveda; SrdjanPav/iStock; ChristianNasca/iStock; JAY THAKER/iStock; targovcom/iStock