Ayurveda, meaning “knowledge of life,” made its debut in India more than 5,000 years ago and remains just as relevant to spa-goers today. At the center of this complex holistic medical system is the recognition and balancing of someone’s doshas, one of the three biological energies said to make up our mental and physical dispositions. This is done through the integration of such disciplines as nutrition, exercise, meditation, massage, aromatherapy, and herbal medicine. Prominent advocates like Deepak Chopra have moved this system of preventative healthcare into the mainstream, and a wide range of Ayurvedic treatments can now be found on many spa menus. For more, read our Complete Guide to Ayurveda. Here’s a crash course of Ayurvedic terms. Study them before you hit the spa and impress your esthetician! Ayurveda stems from the Sanskrit words, ayus, or life, and veda, or knowledge. You’ll hear the word dosha come up quite a bit in the Ayurvedic world as well; it stands for three biological mind-body traits: vata, pitta, and kapha. Common rituals on spa menus include Abhyanga (oil massage), Shirodhara (the “third-eye” treatment), and Panchakarma (detoxifying therapy).
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