Previous entry Next entry

brad’s Travel Diary

Monday, 04 Jun 2007

Location: Poonthottam Ayurvedashram, India

MapThe medical circles of Australia offer nothing in the way of solutions for those suffering from Parkinson's disease, only a measure of disease progression and health destabilizing pharmaceuticals to mask symptoms. For this reason Mum has chosen to embark on an epic journey to India seeking help from the ancient system of Ayurveda.

For an hour our taxi rambles along the pot-holed, narrow roads that snake their way through rural Kerala. Banyan trees stand tall, their broad branches arching over our path. Fig, jackfruit, teak and tamarind trees, coconut palms, vines and thick green grasses flourish, finding their space between plantations of banana, rice and rubber. Dodging local traffic we pass through yet another rural village facilities become sparse the further we venture. On a nondescript road we slow, then make a turn onto a dirt track deeply rutted by a recent downpour. The driver speaks and I decipher the words 'here sir' from a jumble of English and Malayalam. Armed only with a recommendation, an address on
a piece of paper and a mind full of pre-conceived ideas, trepidation makes a poorly timed appearance. I've heard all the extreme stories about ancient ayurveda - isolation, starvation, enemas, purgation, a friend who ate ribbons of cotton cloth; I'm convinced an act which spawned from his malnourished state then in desperation eating his t-shirt and passing it off as a cleanse. Is this what we are destined to endure? Hidden away in the jungle where no one can here our screams. Am I insane, bringing Mum here on a quest for perfect health?
As the taxi rolls and the facts begin to unfold my mind returns from its trepidatious deviation. The dirt track yields to a smooth gravel drive. Edged lawns and manicured gardens compliment a modest multi-storey building, later learning this is one arm of the inpatient accommodation. Adjoining buildings house a pharmacy, medicine factory and outpatient consultations. We are greeted by infectious smiles and assisted by eager helping hands. To my right a set of stairs lead up to the doors of the yoga hall and down a path we pass the kitchen/canteen and are shown the second in-patient rooms, a row of modern cottages atop a rise with beautiful views of the surrounding countryside. This could be the perfect setting to experience the healing powers of ayurveda.