The Maharishi Ayurveda Pain Management program (prices vary), which is based on traditional ayurvedic practices that have been employed to manage pain for thousands of years, has brought relief to hundreds of The Raj guests over the past 20 years. The secret to its success? According to Dr. Mark Toomey, director of ayurvedic programs at The Raj, ayurveda recognizes that pain can have many causes. He points out that headaches, migraines and chronic pain often stem from injuries of the joints, muscles or bones, but says that less obvious causes of pain often lie in excess vata, the ayurvedic dosha primarily associated with movement, as well as the presence of ama, the buildup of toxic waste in our physiology.
“If you never change the oil in your car, it can get thick and full of sludge, and the engine begins to run less efficiently,” Toomey explains. “In the same way, our bodies can build up a kind of sludge (or ama) due to poor diet, compromised digestion and poor lifestyle choices. This ama blocks the channels of the body that allow for movement—the flow of intelligence, nutrients, blood, oxygen, etc.—and when the flowing, moving aspect of vata gets blocked, one may experience pain.”
Because blockages can be caused by a number of factors (such as disease or injury), The Raj health experts assess each guest prior to their visit to begin to glean underlying factors, and then issue special dietary recommendations and home preparations. Upon arrival at The Raj, clients meet with health experts for an extensive consultation that includes an ayurvedic pulse assessment to detect subtle imbalances and blockages in the body. Based on this assessment, an individualized treatment program is designed. The program often includes abhyanga, an herbalized oil massage performed by dual therapists using synchronized strokes, as well as a massage ritual called kalari marma chikitsa. Traditionally used for muscle and joint pain, this service helps clear toxins from the body’s vital circulation channels. Other successful treatments for pain relief include patra potli, an herbal bolus massage; pizzichilli, a warm herbal oil bath; and pinda swedhana, a creamy milk-based bolus massage that serves as a soothing and nourishing solution to achy joints and muscles.
For continued results, The Raj’s health experts may also recommend herbal formulations designed to remove ama, pacify vata and target pain in specific areas of the body. “The Raj also provides individualized at-home programs, recognizing the importance of diet, routine and lifestyle in pain management,” says Toomey. “Also, the practice of the Transcendental Meditation is recommended to help control the stress response mechanism in the body.”