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Jivita Ayurveda, Kensal Rise


Two things attracted me to this spa; their range of treatments – many of which you could travel to the legendary destination spa Ananda in the Himalayas to experience, and their friendly and helpful website.  Booking was easy, even though I was booking a ridiculously cheap bargain offer of £50 for an hour of Abhyanga (Ayurvedic full body massage) and Shirodhara (warm oil poured on the forehead) and I was half prepared for the rigmarole than can sometimes accompany offers which seem too good to be true.


However this is the kind of offer that makes perfect business sense, because once you've tried a treatment here you'll be longing to go back.


Although this is not, for me, technically a spa, it is two fairly small treatment rooms with a beautiful shower room (so you can wash that oil off your head if you choose), adjoining a reception which is also a shop selling Ayurvedic food products as well as treatment products.  The only relaxation space is a small chair by the door, but this beats many of the spas I have been to by far; because of the wonderful customer service, knowledge and, of course, first class treatments.


My therapist was Megan and she talked through the body problems I have with concern and kindness.  Although this was a very strong massage she hit exactly the right pressure point to give me the most therapeutic massage possible.  Her work on my feet as part of the full body massage has me planning to return for a foot treatment (Pababhyanga).


If you are having a body massage you'll be given a pair of paper knickers – so comfortable I instantly thought about replacing my underwear drawer with these (wouldn't they be great for travel?) and you'll be asked to lay under the towel with just those on.  Although the room is small, the music is wonderfully relaxing and within moments I was transported to the Himalayas.


When we moved on to the Shirodhara treatment Megan spent time explaining the ritual and at this point I also noticed the twinkly lights on the ceiling (I don't need twinkly lights in a spa but I absolutely love it, especially after having glimpsed up in supposedly high end spas such as Champneys and Marriott to see discoloured, dirty ceilings which start me wondering about mould cultures).  On the positive side her explanation made me feel comfortable about returning to try some of their even more unusual treatments (more on that in a moment) on the downside, as I've spent years reading about this treatment I was getting impatient to see what that oil was going to do.


The Shirodhara absolutely worked as it is supposed to, as a detox of the mind.  At the time I realised that I could enjoy looking back just as much as I enjoy dreaming and planning, and feel comfortable taking time to reflect on my amazing journeys before planning the next one.  For many people this is a cure for insomnia and bad dreams, however for me, I started to have some very disturbing dreams over the next week.  The good news is that when I listened to those dreams and made some changes in my life I felt happier, healthier and so much more at peace than I was when I was just trying to ignore those problems.  I would highly, highly recommend this treatment.


After the treatment there was no rush and no pressure to buy, and I really felt as I left that I had made a new friend.  What I love about Jivita Ayurveda is that this is a lifestyle centre; you can complement your treatment with dietary changes that the team here can advise you on, you can bring elements of the spa back home into your bathroom.


I also love that they have a comprehensive but not overwhelming list of treatments, so I could come back here for a simply foot massage or get adventurous with such treatments as;


Katibasti - where "a nest is build from dough on the back of the patient and warm medicated oil is kept in it for 30 minutes." "excellent in relieving pain and releasing muscle tension" "given for lumbago, sciatica, disc prolapse and pain in knee."


Snehabasti – oil based enema treatment, using Ayurvedic oil or ghee that allows the healthy bacteria to remain in your digestive system.


Jivita Ayurveda also offers several packages if you are looking for a lifestyle change, much as you would find in a top class destination spa (but you will have to go home in between treatments!)  For example a 10 day programme of 5 alternate body massages and colonic treatments would be about £850 (a lot cheaper than visiting the Himalayas).  You can also consult with them to create your own individual programme.


Their website also has an excellent booking section, so even if you prefer to call and book directly you can see availability online.


This is a wonderful find and even better, just opposite is the fabulous Minkies café, which has glass walls, wooden floors, outside seating and a menu which ranges from herbal tea to espresso, healthy salads to the most decadent cupcakes.  I confess I stuck to the white tea after my treatment but tucked into an Oreo cupcake and a coconut cannoli while waiting for my train (then almost went back for another one!)  This is a perfect place to have lunch before or after your treatment – or even between treatments if you feel like spending the whole day here!




1 hour Abhyanga followed by 30 minute Shirodhara - special first time offer £50


Usually this would be £145


For more details visit their website


As at September 2013

Jivita Ayurveda, Kensal Rise

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