An eclectic mix - Japanese therapists and ayurveda massage

February 28th, 2009 - 11:30 am ICT by IANS  

Thiruvananthapuram, Feb 28 (IANS) It was an eclectic mix of Kerala’s most popular export, ayurveda, and a bunch of Japanese women therapists.

A dozen Japanese therapists completed an intensive five-day course in ayurveda massage at a resort here. “It was a rarest of rare experience and I never thought that I could learn the tricks of the trade of ayurvedic massages in a period of five days,” Azahina Nowko, one of the participants in the programme, told IANS.

The course took place at the Rs.60-million ‘ayurveda village’ at the Poovar Island Resort near the famed Kovalam beach here. The resort boasts of the largest ayurveda spa in the country and has 16 floating cottages in the backwaters overlooking the Arabian Sea.

The spa is the brainchild of M.R. Narayanan, who co-owns the resort with the Dubai-based businessman Kabeer Khader.

“This is the first batch of people from Japan. Earlier, we had trained an Italian team and occasionally we conduct crash courses for interested foreign tourists who come for ayurvedic treatment,” said Narayanan.

Minematsa, a Japanese participant, said that ayurveda is coming up in a big way in Japan.

“There are companies that import medicinal herbs and ayurvedic powders from here. Before coming here we read a lot of on this (ayurvedic massages) through the Internet and in the five days we easily picked up what was taught,” said Minematsa. She said a massage in Japan would cost around 10,000 yen.

Viswanathan, the auyrveda doctor who trained the Japanese women, said since they are all therapists it was easy for them to pick up what was taught.

“We have a detailed schedule of what they should be taught and it was nothing but the basics in therapy. We found them deeply committed and during their breaks they were practising among themselves. Since they are trained therapists, it was an additional qualification,” said Viswanathan.

During the course, the most sought after were the interpreters, Thomas Edakalathur and his wife, who have lived in Japan for nearly two decades.

“This is the first time that I am involved in a therapy training course in a resort. I have taken part in similar courses in a few ayurveda hospitals. In Japan, massages are quite popular,” said Edakalathur.

Japanese women also planted saplings named after them. The resort management has assured them that the saplings will be taken care of and every year a picture of the trees would be sent to them.

(Sanu George can be contacted at

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