Healing: Dr. Veena’s Ayurmantra, review

panorama of the neighbourhood from the rooftop of Dr. Veena’s Ayurmantra in Kerala, India

Continuing the story of my stay at Dr. Veena’s Ayurmantra iin Trippunithura, (near Kochi), Kerala, India. Part 1 is a personal diary of my stay seeking treatment for syndromes, there is also a collection of “Kerala Field Notes” with riffs and lousy snaps about a few other activities while there.

For background on the series, check the Healing Ramble introduction video and follow along for Auroville diary, a rapid exit and then onwards to Nepal and possibly Pacifica, maybe Adelaide. Maybe you already saw the dispatches from Phitsanulok, Thailand. 

Unsurprisingly, there are various photo essays (ephemera, Lomo “spy camera” from a cenotaph in b&w or colour for your amusement), a Remembrance Day podcast and video spiel from Gandhi beach.

Next, (for convenience and hopeful promotion of Dr. Veena’s Ayurveda Hospital – Gmap), sharing a publicly-posted review (under no-longer-secret-pseudonym), ergo:

Dr. Veena’s Ayurmantra Review

I recently stayed three weeks in-patient at Dr Veena’s Ayurmantra and found the experience was exceptional due to the kindness and skill of Dr. Veena and Dr. Hamesh. 

After years of shuffling between all manner of specialist doctors with divergent opinions but no solutions besides prescription medications and experiencing little to no improvement, I decided to try a non-traditional approach with Ayurvedic medicine and set out to find a clinic which suited my needs. I wanted a place that was small and attentive and not a “tourist spa”. Further, I sought a place with amenities and cleanliness which would make my stay pleasant. 

I sent out several inquires, and Dr. Veena’s prompt reply alleviated my concerns quickly. I sent a detailed medical history and she responded with a carefully crafted comprehensive treatment plan. The tone and detail of her communications assured me that i would be in good care. Additionally, she assisted me with arranging transportation from the airport to the clinic. 

When I arrived at the clinic via taxi, I immediately noticed the cleanliness of the clinic as well as the calmness of location surrounded by greenery on most sides and delightfully coloured houses in the neighbourhood. 

Right away, Dr. Veena asked me many questions about my medical history to gauge my current condition to adjust treatment as needed. She also explained to me (in perfect English for the record) what to expect with the upcoming treatment.

treatment table and apparatus

The treatments were performed by an experienced therapist under the supervision of Dr. Hamesh and Dr. Veena. The therapies – which took place on a mighty carved table made of medicinal hardwood – included a mix of massage techniques with various oil, ointments, as well as nasal inhalations, oil/buttermilk dripping on forehead, eye washes and a variety of medications which changed during the treatment cycle. 

lousy photo of wonderful food, just enough, exactly the proper items

My in-patient stay included food made specially for condition and body, and was an important part of my treatment plan. For my needs, the food was somewhat blander than most traditional food in order to calm my body and promote healing. All of the food was well prepared, vegetarian, and delicious.

As food is medicine, Dr. Veena would often watch and ask questions about my reaction to the diet. I would also ask for some specific items but she determined what was best for me. 

throughout my stay, i used all manner of special potions and left with a satchel of various Ayurvedic medications and formulas and clearly written instructions

Note: There is no smoking, alcohol drinking or meat-eating at the clinic which lent to the healing atmosphere. 

obligatory lousy snap of my room (note nice pyjamas)

My room had a good sized bed, reliable A/C (power outages were generally short and infrequent) and an en suite bathroom/shower which was well maintained.

kept a diary and scrapbook during the stay…

Each day, my room was cleaned and I was happy to spend time there writing in journals and listening to music while outside, a neighbour washed his water buffalo with water from a well. 

outside my window

Overall, the happy atmosphere was one of the most important parts of my time there. Being weak and confused with my illness, I was nervous about the long trip even though I am an experienced traveler.

Living in the house with the Drs and their adorable daughter downstairs, I felt more like a favourite Uncle come to visit rather than a “patient”. However healing was job one and Dr. Veena takes it very seriously. 

i took lousy photos of my process as i started to see “spark” come back into my eyes
by the time i left, i was feeling stronger, sharper and more confident in my ability to navigate the world

When she noticed my twitching legs and discomfort, she arranged for a spine MRI which was a huge step in helping understand what was going on. The MRI cost about $100 and included the films, CD and Radiologist report. Incredible. She also arranged for an optical where I purchased new spectacles for a fraction of the cost in North America. {note: more on both of these topics in previous dispatches}

Mr Mohammed, the practitioner, and i went to have a bevvie together… mustaches and linen shirts are the usual

The first week was tough for me as I adjusted to the treatments and sleep patterns and other stresses of “life” at home but as the treatments progressed, I found energy and mental clarity which had been absent for years. This was wonderful for me and helped give me strength and energy to take walks in the neighbourhood or towards the market to see a slice of regular life in India. 

As an aside: I was at the clinic during the currency conundrum time and the Drs helped me navigate the banking system to get money and, once I was nearing the end of my treatment, they helped me arrange train tickets to do some excursions. 

the wonderful Dr. Veena, the amusing Dr Hemesh and their adorable daughter – so grateful

Overall, I am incredibly grateful to know Dr. Veena and will return for another treatment session soon. Thank you Doctors for giving me hope, understanding and comfort.

outgoing instructions from Dr Veena (you know i dig the letterhead)

Aftermath:

Note: The treatments were relatively gentle and not too much in one day (the doctors realized I was in delicate condition and went easy on me. I realize this more now.) I couldn’t have handled intense treatment cycles at that time. [full treatment report and advisements: david olson ayurmantra final report (pdf)]

I had planned to return to this lovely clinic, but my Indian visa was denied so I want to Nepal instead to continue I will be at treatments. I remain in touch with remarkable Dr. Veena who I found to be knowledgable, empathetic, smart and did not let me make any excuses :-)

heading out into the world from my happy hospital… thanks Dr. Veena and family and staff

Next: maybe diary excerpts from Auroville, a rapid log of leaving India unexpectedly, possibly stops from Pacifica and maybe Adelaide, at some point a riff about how i manage to travel for treatment and pros and cons of doing so… we’ll know when we get there. Questions? 

Whatcha think?