The world’s oldest system of self-care, Ayurveda originated in India around 5,000 years ago – Traditional Chinese Medicine is based on it – yet its main tenets remain valid today. Ayurveda is based on the philosophy that each of us is completely individual but possesses a constitution, appearance and mindset reflecting our particular balance of the three Doshas: Pitta, Vata and Kapha. Good health depends on our living – eating, moving, working – in a way that best suits our individual Dosha. If ill-health occurs, rebalancing the Doshas allows the body to heal itself.
Guests start a stay at the Mandira by having their Dosha pulse-diagnosed by the Ayurvedic doctor. After that, and a consultation with the conventional doctor, treatments, meals and an exercise programme are individually prescribed. As well as deep, rhythmic Ayurvedic massages such as Abhyanga and sleep-inducing Shirodhara – warm oil poured slowly and continuously over the forehead – non-Ayurvedic treatments include IV drips to fast-track vitamins, minerals and amino-acids into the bloodstream, cutting-edge Global Diagnostics’ cellular analysis, and ESQ, or Emotional Status Quo, which incorporates Kinesiology to address psycho-emotional issues.
Naturally, given its location in Bad Waltersdorf in the green heart of Austria, where the thermal water that gushes from the ground provides healing for the entire village, the Mandira has its own thermal pool. Lolling in the warm, soothing, mineral-rich 36C water can be especially beneficial for anyone with stiff or painful joints or rheumatism.
Sleep problems, chronic tiredness, and digestive issues are among the conditions the Mandira staff address most frequently. The doctors and therapists also treat everything from long covid, Lyme disease complications, depression, mental-health issues, and plain old stress to acne, exhaustion, burn-out, fertility problems, and just a crushing need for rest. A dramatic Ayurvedic ritual puja, conducted around dancing flames, outdoors, at night, by psychotherapist and Ayurvedic practitioner Malini Häuslmeier, offers the chance to symbolically cast-off unwanted thoughts, habits and attitudes.
At the end of their stay, quite a lot of guests tell Christina they are no longer interested in the kind of holiday where they lie on a beach or drink cocktails all day. ‘I think that represents a sort of societal shift,’ she says. ‘They say they want to come back from a holiday feeling great, having lost weight, and been inspired to live more healthily.’
Some British guests, she adds, have mentioned problems with the NHS mean they have become interested in preventive care as well as treatment for health issues, and are also now careful about what they eat. ‘I am so pleased to hear this! Good food alone can have a profound effect. Everyone knows how damaging ultra-processed food can be; our chef sources over 90% of the produce our kitchens use from local farms. And above all, Ayurveda teaches us how to let the body heal itself.’