Ayurvedic Massage and Indian Bath in Alleppey

While staying in Alleppey India for our houseboat tour, we had to try an Ayurvedic massage. Alleppey is famous for its Ayurvedic massage treatments and our bodies needed the pampering after traveling by train in India.

But I must say, our Ayurvedic massage was a bit more than we bargained for.

Here’s a quick excerpt I wrote in my travel journal:

I learned how to shower like a true Indian today. Because I had a woman bathe me! I never knew how the people of India managed to shower with a bucket of water without making a mess.

Well, now that I’ve been bathed I know it all.

Ayurvedic Massage and Indian Bath in Alleppey

It all started when we arrived at Palmy Lake Resort after our houseboat tour.

Once we settled into our spacious bamboo bungalow, Marcy the owner asked us if we would be interested in a massage.

Dave and I love massages, but we were on a tight budget and we jsut splurged on a houseboat tour, so we kindly declined the offer.

There’s no pressure in Southern India. We said no thanks and she gladly said no problem.

You see, here in the south of India, we haven’t been met with any hard sales pitches. 

  • People ask if you want a taxi, you say no and they say O.K.
  • Others ask if you want to buy some clothes, you say, no and they say O.K.
  • Our massage was the same.  “No problem, just letting you know that it is available.”

As we lay on the bed wondering what we were going to do with the rest of our day, the thought of a massage was sounding more appealing.

Laying there listening to the birds chirping mixed with the horns blowing, we slowly cooled off and started to think that a massage would be a great idea.

What better way to detoxify our bodies and maybe help us feel ready to tackle the rest of India? (or at least the next few days).

We signed up and made an appointment for later that afternoon.

The Ayurvedic Massage

We arrived at Sreekrishna Ayurvedic and Panchakarma Center after a 15-minute walk from Palmy Lake Resort.

A stoic man, told us to sit down where he continued to look at us and say nothing.  We didn’t really know what to do, so we sat there and said nothing.

It’s funny how a massage is supposed to make you relaxed, but when we have one in a foreign country we are always so tense and anxious!

After a couple of minutes, he got up and left. Then he came back and sat back down and started talking to one of his staff members. 

A little while later, he told us that they were cleaning the room and we would be right in.

That was a relief, we didn’t know if he was waiting for us to say something or not.

Our Massages

Dave and I were led into separate rooms.  I had a female masseuse and Dave had a male masseur.

My masseuse barely spoke a word of English. She motioned me to strip and then sit on a stool. 

I didn’t know if I was supposed to strip naked or not, so I did. 

While I was sitting on the stool, I felt quite silly thinking that I should have left something on. But, there was no turning back now!

She poured oil into her hands and massaged my hair and scalp.

I instantly relaxed.

She worked on massaging my scalp and face and then worked down my back and shoulders. 

I didn’t realize that I had that much tension, but it has been a while since I carried a pack, so my shoulders were definitely feeling it.

After she was finished with my upper body, I was motioned to lay on the table.  

In Canada, we would have a towel covering our bodies to make us feel more comfortable, not in India. 

For this massage in India, I was laying out in all my glory as she massaged away kneading the oils into my pores.

For some strange reason she kept massaging my breasts. I didn’t quite know how to react, but I figured it must be an Ayurvedic thing.

Sure enough, when I looked it up after my massage, I found out that Ayurvedic breast massages are a thing and they are very good for maintaining healthy breast tissue.

Who knew?

Luckily I wasn’t too concerned, so I enjoyed the massage without tensing up. I couldn’t ask her anything since she didn’t speak English, so I just went with the flow.

The massage was heaven. 

She applied just right amount of pressure mixed with the perfect blend of soothing motions to relax my mind and body.

I started to go into a trance. The fluidity of her movements seemed to happen in a regular beat and I found myself going completely blank without a though in my mind.

This went on for one hour.

After she completed her work, she tapped around the center of my bellybutton several times, folded my arms over my chest and covered me with a towel. 

She then told me to stay.

I couldn’t believe how relaxed and centred I was, I could never have lay on a vinyl table for 5 minutes without squirming had I not just received a relaxing treatment.

After she came back in, I thought that she would tell me that I was finished and send me to the shower to rinse off.

Nope.

The Bath

Instead she beckoned me into the bathroom, put shampoo in my hair and washed off the oil, with scoop after scoop of hot water.

It has only been a week, but I forgot how good hot water felt on the skin. The guest houses we had been staying at didn’t have hot water. We were showering in cold water each day.

She gave me a bath from head to toe and cleaned me up good.  Working so very hard. 

Scooping all of that water and scrubbing away the oils is a tough job.

As I said, she didn’t speak English, and I had no idea what was going, so I just went with the flow.

After walking home, we thought that we would go out for dinner, but after reading and catching up on a little writing, we felt the affects of the massage and an extreme feeling of fatigue came over us both

As Dave said during our walk back to our guest house, “Was that as awkward for you as it was for me?” “I feel like I should have bought him a drink or something!

Yep, Dave is filled with the one-liners. But it is true. This massage was more invasive than a massage we’d have in Canada or at a five star resort. Usually the masseuse is very careful to keep you covered and to avoid any private areas.

In this massage, they weren’t being offensive or upsetting, they were just being open and doing their job. I never felt like they crossed a line, it’s just a different culture.

So, when in Rome, err India, go for it.

Tipping at a Massage

I don’t know if we were supposed to tip at an Ayurvedic Massage centre in Alleppey because they are considered therapudic massages. But we tend to tip. 

It is hard to find information on tipping guides and masseurs, etc., but old habits die hard.  In Canada, tipping is widespread and we are conditioned to do so.

I also feel that the actual workers don’t see much of the money that we spend on activities such as this, so a 50 rupee tip will probably help to make the job worth their while.

We had the best nights sleep we had in weeks.

  • Information
    Sreekrishna Ayurveda Panchakarma Centre – Recommended in the Lonely Planet India.
    www.krishnayurveda.com
    Located in Alleppey
  • Cost
    For two people, we paid 1100 Rupees ($25 Canadian) for a full one hour body massage.
    Includes, coconut oils and Ayurveeda medicinal oils
    Shower, shampoo, soap and hot water.
    Furthermore: an unintentional lesson in how to bathe with a bucket and scoop
    We tipped masseuse 50 rupees each – 100 Rupees = $2.30 CAD

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Dave Bouskill and Debra Corbeil are the owners and founders of The Planet D. After traveling to 115 countries, on all 7 continents over the past 13 years they have become one of the foremost experts in travel. Being recognized as top travel bloggers and influencers by the likes of Forbes Magazine, the Society of American Travel Writers and USA Today has allowed them to become leaders in their field.

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30 thoughts on “Ayurvedic Massage and Indian Bath in Alleppey”

  1. Ahhh there’s nothing better than a massage in a different country . I like to travel and experience them. As a massage therapist I like to see the variety of massages out in the world . It makes life more interesting ! ?

    Reply
  2. Ayurvedic medicine (also called Ayurveda) is one of the world’s oldest medical systems. It originated in India and has evolved there over thousands of years. In the United States, Ayurvedic medicine is considered a complementary health approach. Many products and practices used in Ayurvedic medicine are also used on their own as complementary approaches—for example, herbs, massage, and specialized diets.`;;”

    Reply
  3. Kerala offers rich quality ayurvedic medicines which attracts many tourists as well as people suffering from various calamities and the massage here cures many diseases. Also the low cost medicines here help many people who cannot afford to pay high rates to the medicines can attend here. Travel Destinations
    .-= Travel Destinations´s last blog ..Visit The Heaven At Wudang Mountains =-.

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  4. Do try the massage where 2 masseuses work on you – the strokes are carried out in perfect symmetry and synchronisation. It’s quite an experience. It was REALLY oily though – we kept sliding around on the table, and had to try not to slide off it! Felt like a piece of meat being marinated! Did Dave let his male masseuse bathe him too? Dan refused to let a guy bathe him. So the masseuse stood and WATCHED while Dan bathed himself! Awkward!
    .-= Yi Lin´s last blog ..Other Inhabitants of the Falls/Foz =-.

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    • Hi Yi Lin, no Dave didn’t have his male masseuse bathe him. He offered, but Dave declined. Lucky for him, his guy left the bathroom. Now that would have been very awkward for Dan. Hilarious. We will definitely try the massage with two masseuses. Sound quite amazing!

      Reply
  5. Oh my, that sounds too good to be true. I had read a story somewhere else of a girl being bathed in India but it was pretty painful since they scrubbed her skin almost raw w/ some special brush. This sounds absolutely amazing! It’s funny how nudity is not quite the issue that is is here in North America. But that’s a good thing.
    .-= Bethany´s last blog ..Oaxaca City Blues =-.

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    • Hi Bethany, Yes, it was relaxing and cheap. We will have to do another massage soon. Glad mine wasn’t scrubbed raw. Ouch. I have heard that the Turkey Bath Houses scrub you raw. I will have to go there to find out for myself one day. cheers!

      Reply
  6. This sounds absolutely delightful and a good way to start a trip, and end it, and along the way. Especially at that price. I wouldn’t want a massage with clothes on. Enjoying your journey.

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    • So true Geopgypsy. It is a nice way to slow down the mind and body and prepare for travel. when you are relaxed and centred, you can handle anything.

      Reply
  7. We did one in Delhi and we both felt like we were being oiled and marinated to be tossed onto a grill. It was an odd experience, to say the least. Patrick was sore for days but I really enjoyed my massage.
    .-= Akila´s last blog ..three foodie travel secrets =-.

    Reply
    • Hi Akila. I think that you had the same experience as we did. Dave had a harder and more rigorous massage with his guy and I had a gentle relaxing one with my gal. It certainly is a lot of oil. I want to try the massage where they drip oil on your head constantly for 1 hour. It seem almost like water torture, but it is supposed to be relaxing. If I do it, I will definitely share.

      Reply
  8. I am sooooo into Ayurvedic treatments and massage!! Wish I was there!!
    .-= jen laceda´s last blog ..Quebec Road Trip with Chevy Equinox – Part 2 La Malbaie =-.

    Reply
    • Hi Jen, I need to investigate the Ayuvedic treatments more. I hear that to get the true benefit, you need at least 15 days of treatment. We are going to be here awhile, so I won ‘t complain about 15 days of massage!

      Reply
  9. Wow it does sound like a great experience! Dave has great one-liners to be sure, but I loved your line above about not getting a massage until you’ve suffered a while! It’s funny that our [western] culture makes us think of things like a massage as a “reward” to be earned.

    I’m glad you got over your discomfort to just go with the flow – I wouldn’t walk around the streets naked, but there are times when you just have to not worry about it, and realize that we all have pretty much the same parts and pieces, so it’s not as big a deal as we sometimes think it is if someone else sees them. 🙂

    I’m really enjoying reading about your trip!
    .-= Trisha Miller´s last blog ..eBook Review: Just What Works: Write Right Online =-.

    Reply
    • So true Trisha, we need to learn to take care of ourselves daily. I don’t know why we always feel the need to suffer before some good pampering. That is going to be our goal to reward ourselves regularly. With these prices how can we afford not too!

      Reply
  10. That sounds absolutely amazing – and what a way to start out the trip! The laying out in all your glory though – that was the part that had me blushing pretty heavily when I did one in Northern India 🙂 They’re so nonchalant about it…but like you, I’m used to the sheet!
    .-= Shannon OD´s last blog ..A little tour…It’s raining on Uluru =-.

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    • Hi Shannon, it is strange isn’t. You don’t know what you are supposed to be doing. So when in doubt just go with it. I have a feeling I am going to be saying that a lot while we are in India.

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  11. Oh! That sounds so relaxing but it’s good to know about the no towel part. In case I make it to India I will remember to leave something on. 🙂

    Ok… I don’t know what to think about someone gives me a bath though. Being from Thailand, we are not used to bare it all to other strangers. But no matter what, it seems like a great experience and I will get my massage every day in that price. 🙂
    .-= Amy @ The Q Family´s last blog ..Oh the Joy of Christmas… =-.

    Reply
    • I agree Amy, It is funny how in India and Thailand etc. We should remained covered and discreet, but all of that goes out the window during the massage. We even had the same experience in Bali. However, a good note to add is that all massages are done on women by women and men by men. That is a rule and a good rule to stick by.

      Reply
  12. That is amazing! What a great experience.

    I am so happy to hear that it is so laid back in the South. I hope you have better experiences with getting pestered to no end in places in the North (especially areas of Rajasthan and Agra, of course!) I really wish we had been introduced to India through the South first!

    I love your video…keep them coming guys!

    Reply