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9:05 am. 'The Cold Treatment'

It is around this time that activity in the ashram reaches a crescendo. As we walk towards an open space plum in the centre of the ashram 'Grouping and Classification' of men is in progress. In an act of reminiscent of a military exercise soon most of the people have packed off towards their respective destinations.

Our tour-de-ashram began with the bathrooms! We began with kati bath, which for the uninitiated is a cross between a bathtub and a wicker chair filled to the brim with either ice-cold or steaming-hot water. The modus-operandi of the kati bath treatment is that the person needs to strategically balance himself over the bath in such a way that only the hips remain immersed in the water. If a person has loose motions then naturopathy prescribes that kati -bath is a must. It is also useful in cases of high fever.

A modified 'kati bath' is spinal bath where the whole of the back is immersed in water. It is efficacious in treating paralysis and allied disorder of the spinal cord. . Our travel across the vast expanse of the bathroom took us to the steam bath section. The steam chambers struck a perfect resemblance to a washing machine. Only the human heads popping out of their openings gave a clue of their washing things other than dirty linen.

The friendly instructor soon enlightens us on the benefits of this washing exercise……… washercise.

" While steam gently warms the body , it cools the mind. It is soothing at the same time rejuvenating. The maximum effect of steam however, is concentrated on the skin . It unclogs blocked pores, stimulates the sweat glands and promotes expulsion of toxins from the skin all this on its own steam. The benefits of steam can be heightened by adding Neem leaves to the boiling water" he waves. Neem and steam , what a team!


Realisation no.2 : Always knock before you enter ; or you might get knocked out !


9.48 a.m. : Mud And massage.Mud & Massage

It takes the skilled hands and shrewd minds of Naturopath, to uplift the status of mud to medicine. Explaining the magic of mud , Dr. Pawar , a resident doctor at the ashram reveals, " Mud has cooling properties. When applied to the body as a balm it makes it calm. Mud also has magnetic properties due to its mineral content. This cheers up the person and charges up the entire nervous system. Last, but not the least mud is also good for all skin ailments ."

While thus engaged in conversation regarding the good , bad and the ugly of mud, we have moved on to the mud bath section. Slathered from head to foot in mud are half a dozen men, as if partaking in some strange tribal ritual. "They are only taking a mud bath," informs one of the instructors with a smile on his face.


Realisation No.3 : A mud pack a day keeps doctor away.


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