Working and living in London can certainly take it out of you; you're constantly switched on, connected and trying to run your life with military precision to make sure you can fit everyone and everything into your schedule. Between work, networking, meeting friends and simply living, it's no wonder that one of the most common ailments these days is stress.
You might not even realise you're stressed until someone points it out. For me it was the periodical insomnia that tipped me off. Instead of reaching for over the counter sleeping aids to help push my imaginary sheep aside, I decided to look into alternative, more natural, treatments. For de-stressing isn't about a quick fix, it's about changing your way of life.
This desire to discover how and what to do in order to reduce my stress levels, sleep better and in turn be more awake brought me to Greenwich, to Ayurveda Pura and Dr Deepa Apte, a specialist in the field of Ayurveda treatments.
Ayurveda is the ancient holistic health system of India, which comprises of diet, yoga, massage treatments, detoxification, herbal remedies, meditation and daily lifestyle changes to create harmony between a person's body and his or her environment. It is the science of life.
Dr Apte explained that in Ayurveda they believe in "mind over matter", that anything that affects your mind - be it your family, work or social life - as well as your geographical location and environment will have an effect on your body. But how you react is down to your body type. Ailments, like stress, are a result of an imbalance in your physical or mental constitution, and Ayurveda seeks to restore the balance and works based your body type. The three types are Air (Vata), Fire (Pitta) and Water (Kapha).
To determine which type you are one of Ayurveda Pura's practitioners will conduct a consultation that comprises of a questionnaire, an analysis of your tongue and taking your pulse. Yes that's right, they are specially trained to connect with you through your pulse! Each consultation takes around one hour after which you'll receive a detailed programme explaining the changes they recommend you making in terms of diet, nutrition, treatments and general lifestyle.
Following my consultation Dr Apte established that I was very much Fire (very focused, determined and ambitious types) with some elements of Water (friendly and flexible). My imbalance - which seemingly is causing my stress - comes from Air (restless and active people). I certainly know a few airy types...
To kick start my 'healing' process I had also booked in a whole body massage - any excuse for a bit of pampering! In a calming, dimmed room, Linda, my therapist used long strokes that followed the way the energy flows through the body. And as the hot sesame seed oil warmed my body, I felt my muscles unwind and my thoughts gradually slowing down until the music was only a distant hum. Dr Apta later explained that the touch helps reduce air movement and the hot oil therapy helps calm down the mind as it pacifies Air as well as Fire.
Being Scandinavian I am used to Nordic massages - think more strength - so this was a different, yet very enjoyable experience. I left the clinic feeling like I was floating on air and filled with advice on how to improve my lifestyle. Ahead of me the buildings of Canary Wharf towered, reminding me of the real world that still existed outside of the calming Ayurveda Pura.
Then my phone rang.
A one hour Ayurvedic consultation costs £50. and the Abhyanga - Ayurvedic whole body massage (1 hour) £55. The clinic also has a range of beauty products, herbal teas and food supplements all created by Ayurveda Pura.
T: 020 8312 8383 (Option 1)