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Helpful Hydration: Ayurvedic Spa Drinks

The body consists of 60 to 65 percent water, making the consumption of liquids the easiest way to detoxify and bring balance to our constitution. During a massage or any type of body treatment, we tend to lose fluid from the muscles and skin due to muscular drainage from passive muscular workouts. Certain treatments, such as those that incorporate lymphatic drainage techniques, also stimulate the circulatory system resulting in the rapid removal of extra fluids and accumulated waste. For this reason, it is important to keep the body nourished and hydrated with suitable drinks before and after a spa treatment.

Spa drinks play a further important role during the overall sensory experience of a treatment by stimulating the sense of taste. Each of the six tastes identified in Ayurveda contribute different physiological benefits and positive emotions to our overall state of balance: Sweet refreshes the senses and enhances joy and compassion; salt enhances other flavors and boosts confidence and enthusiasm; sour sharpens the senses and enhances understanding and comprehension; pungent fires the body up and brings vigor and vitality; and bitter stimulates the nervous system and enhances clarity and self-awareness.

In this way, spa drinks can be customized depending on the objective of a particular treatment, especially useful in spa rituals where every element of the experience is tailored to achieve a desired result. Related: Promoting Herbal Health with an On-Site Herb Garden

Pre-Treatment Spa Drinks The best drinks to consume before a spa treatment are those that have hot potency; these tend to be those with pungent and salt tastes. Infused water or tea (hot infusions) are ideal. Hot potency improves the digestion and opens up the vessels, preparing the body to receive the entire benefits of a massage or body treatment.

At AyurMa at Four Seasons Resort Maldives in Landaa Giraavaru, our signature pre-treatment spa drink is homemade Landaa Spice Tea. Suitable for all body types and all guests over the age of eight, it comprises a special blend of ginger, pepper, cloves, star anise and cardamom boiled in water and sweetened with honey. Ginger speeds up the digestion, black pepper opens the sweat pores and cardamom, clove and star anise clear up the airway tract. A body clear of undigested food with open airways is best placed to receive the maximum benefits of a spa treatment, while activated sweat pores enhance the absorption of nutrients from oils and other products.

Post-Treatment Spa Drinks The ideal drinks to consume after a massage or body treatment are those that have cooling potency. These include drinks with sweet, sour and astringent tastes, which nourish, expand and balance respectively. Ingredients that have cooling potency include lime, mint leaves, cinnamon sticks, green apple, butter milk, tender coconut water, celery, fennel seeds, cumin, melon, cucumber, aloe vera and chamomile. These ingredients help hydrate and nourish the body and skin after a treatment and retain the progress achieved during the experience.

Named after its predominant flavor, AyurMa’s signature post-treatment drink, Fonithoshi, means "cinnamon" in Dhivehi, the local Maldivian language. Unique to Four Seasons Resort Landaa Giraavaru and served cold, it is made by adding freshly squeezed lime juice and honey to a boiled and then cooled infusion of cinnamon sticks, peppermint leaves and ginger.

During massages and body treatments, circulation, elimination and absorption within the body tend to increase. To optimize the sense of relaxation from the spa session, it is important to bring the body back to normalcy—something that Fonithoshi is formulated to do. Cinnamon helps dilate and relax the blood vessels, ginger boosts the digestion of accumulated waste, mint enhances the bioavailability of nutrients and improves the potency of the drink, lime neutralizes acidic toxins from the gut, while honey, in addition to being a nutrient powerhouse, imparts an instant feel-good factor.

Ayurvedic Liquid Diet Benefits Outside of the spa, enriched drinks consumed as part of a liquid diet have many functional benefits for overall health and well-being. And just as for drinks taken before and after spa treatments, it is important to include all kinds of tastes to maintain optimum balance for body, mind and emotions.

A liquid diet doesn’t require much time or effort to be digested and assimilated, so it reduces pressure on the digestive system and improves overall energy levels. In turn, this reduced digestive workload enables the digestive tract to rejuvenate, restoring balance to the gut microbiome—important for enhancing the secretion of serotonin, which is essential for stabilizing mood and an overall sense of well-being.

In Ayurveda, consuming a liquid diet for a period of 36 hours can help the body to clean out damaged cells. Known as autophagy, it also helps detoxify the digestive tract. Of course, it is essential to drink the right drinks during this process. Water infused with cucumber, mint, vetiver root and other green juices reduces the overall level of acidity in the body, thereby bringing down bodily inflammation. Milk or dairy products increase the body’s inflammatory responses, so should be avoided, as should caffeine and carbonated drinks, which make the body acidic. Sweet drinks—including those made with mango, orange, banana, pineapple, grapes and berries—should be avoided in this case, as they elevate blood sugar levels.

Daily Infusions Outside of a prolonged liquid diet experience, the many benefits of infused drinks can easily be incorporated into daily life. Ayurveda recommends a boiled infusion of lime and ginger, sweetened with a touch of honey to neutralize acidic digestive juices and refresh the digestive system for the day. Other good morning drinks include: hibiscus-infused tea to lower blood pressure, nettle leaf tea to detoxify the liver, and aloe vera juice to improve the absorption of nutrients.

In the afternoon, peppermint tea is a great energizer; dry ginger-infused tea enhances digestion; and wheatgrass juice is an excellent anti-inflammatory drink and instant energy booster. Prior to sleep, chamomile tea is calming and a natural sedative, butterfly pea-infused tea is a great brain tonic, and passion flower tea (made from the leaves, stems and flowers) reduces anxiety and induces good sleep. Throughout the day, coconut water is a great source of nutrients and electrolytes, modifying free radicals in the body and preventing oxidative stress.

To receive the maximum benefits of drink sourcing, both the nature of the ingredient and way it is prepared plays an important role. Drink healthy and live happy!


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