DR. HEMALATHA MANOJ, ONE OF THE LEADING MANALTHEERAM AYURVEDA DOCTORS, COMES FROM THE REPUTED AYURVEDA FAMILY OF TRAVANCORE KINGDOM VAIDIYAS. IN HER BLOOD CIRCULATES DEEP RESPECT TO AYURVEDA.  

MANALTHEERAM AYURVEDA BEACH VILLAGE (Manaltheeram) formed a part of Somatheeram Ayurveda Group, which pioneered the concept of Ayurveda Hospitality in Kerala, India started in 1989. Ayurveda resort, built in Kerala traditional style is located right on the shore of Adimalathura beach at Chowara, 9 km from Kovalam and 21 km from Trivandrum city. 
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SOMATHEERAM AYURVEDA GROUP is the winner of thirty-two "International, National & State Awards" for "Excellence In Ayurveda"; six times winner of "State Award" from Government of Kerala as the "Best Approved And Classified Ayurveda Centre"; three times winner of "National Award" from Government of India as "India's Best Ayurveda Wellness Centre".

WHAT DOES AYURVEDA MEAN PERSONALLY FOR YOU?

Ayurveda is a divine science of life. Our hands should be pure when we treat a patient. Every day we pray before Dhanvantari, God of Ayurveda, to give us blessings to cure our patient. God should give us the power to heal. Sometimes we cannot cure every patient, but it is important not to make any mistakes from our hands. This is the only pray, which I have as a doctor to lord.

YOUR FAMILY IS DEEPLY CONNECTED WITH AYURVEDA. YOUR GRANDFATHER WAS ONE OF THE TRAVANCORE KINGDOM VAIDIYA…

Yes, one of my forefathers, known as Kumaresan Parameswaran Pillai, was a great physician of Travancore Maharaja and he was one of the first principals of the Government Ayurveda College.

IS THERE ANY DIFFERENCE BETWEEN OLD DAYS VAIDIYAS AND MODERN AYURVEDA DOCTORS?

I do not see big difference between them. The only difference is the name, which has changed, the healing process remains the same. Although we are called with modern word ‘doctors’ (especially young people prefer it), every day we pray to Dhanvantari Murthi, before we start the treatment. 

DOES THE PRAY HELP?

As I said, as the doctors, we are not the supreme. We cannot heal everybody, but we can refer the case to the best specialist and help patient in the healing process. But mistakes if it come, it's not good for the patient. We cannot tolerate the mistakes from our hands - this is the only pray.

GOD OF AYURVEDA, DHANVANTARI, IS A MALE GOD. BUT NOWADAYS, ONE CAN FIND MORE AND MORE FEMALE AYURVEDA DOCTORS IN THE RESORTS. HOW DO YOU SEE THE ROLE OF THE WOMEN IN AYURVEDA?

It is difficult to explain it with words, because female role in the world is more connected with emotions and less with rational way of thinking. This energy could be called ‘Shakti’. Shakti is everyone’s mother. In our resort many guests perceive me as their mother or sister and also for me, it is a special relationship. I think, they feel safe in my hands. I don't know to explain it more but people feel pacified in my hands, that I know.

COULD YOU INTRODUCE MANALTHEERAM AYURVEDA BEACH VILLAGE RESORT?

Manaltheeram belongs to Somatheeram Ayurveda Group (Somatheeram) founded by Mr. Baby Mathew. Somatheeram, the first ayurveda project started in 1988 and Manaltheeram in 1990. Both resorts are almost identical. I think, the only difference is the location. Somatheeram is situated on the top of the cliff and have beautiful view on the bay. Manaltheeram is almost touching the Chowara beach. But both resorts are offering the same ayurveda treatment programmes and services.

NOTE: More about the resort, you can read in article: MANALTHEERAM AYURVEDA BEACH VILLAGE
NOTE: More about the story of Somatheeram group, you can read in interviews:  SOMATHEERAM: BABY MATHEW Nº1 and SOMATHEERAM: BABY MATHEW Nº2

WHICH ARE THE MAIN AYURVEDA TREATMENT PROGRAMMES IN MANALTHEERAM?

They are: Rejuvenation Therapy (Rasayana Chikilsa), Body Purification (Shodhana Chikilsa), Slimming Programme, Stress Management Programme And Beauty Care Programme. But the final decision of the programme will be always taken by the consulting doctor. Duration of the treatments may vary according to the direction of the doctor and process may change depending upon the patient’s body condition. Even for standard programmes, the approach to patients is always individualized.

NOTE: More about the ayurveda treatment programmes, you can read in the interview:  MANALTHEERAM, DR.HEMALATHA MANOJ Nº2

"Ayurveda is a divine science of life. Our hands should be pure when we treat a patient. Every day we pray before Dhanvantari, God of Ayurveda, to give us blessings to cure our patient. God should give us the power to heal. Sometimes we cannot cure every patient, but it is important not to make any mistakes from our hands. This is the only pray, which I have as a doctor to lord."

DR.HEMALATHA MANOJ 

HOW DO YOU PREPARE INDIVIDUAL AYURVEDA TREATMENT PROGRAMME? 

It helps us, if we get some information about the patients and their health conditions in advance. Especially, if they have serious health problems, we ask them to send report from their doctors.  After arrival the patient is interviewed by two doctors. We have prepared quite a long and detail questioner about patient’s daily routine, habits, health history and conditions. After evaluation of the questioner the doctors prepare diet and treatment programme. We allocate two therapists for each patient, who take care about him or her during entire stay at Manaltheeram. There is a rule that ladies gets female therapists and gentlemen get men therapists. Even for repeated clients we always try to allocate the same doctors and therapists, if possible. We keep all the healing and treatment records. 

HOW MANY DOCTORS AND THERAPISTS ARE WORKING IN THE MANALTHEERAM? 

We have 8 doctors, about 30 therapists (masseurs) and 25 treatment rooms. Part of the team is also 3 yoga teachers.

YOGA IS INTEGRAL PART OF AYURVEDA PROGRAMMES. HOW DO YOU SEE PURPOSE OF IT? 

Yes, yoga is supplementing ayurveda treatments. Every programme includes yoga lessons in different levels according to patient’s need. It can be very helpful for body pain problems such as back pain, neck pain or head ache. But the most of the patients have stress-related psychosomatic diseases. We must treat not only the physical problems, but also mental conditions. It is very important to balance body treatment with the peace of the mind.

During the day we are providing yoga lessons for beginners, intermediate and advanced level yogi practitioners. Every morning and evening, there is meditation session. Patients can take also private lessons on request. 

DO YOU PRACTICE ANY FORM OF YOGA PERSONALLY? 

Well (laughing), not so much and not regularly. I used to practicing yoga during my ayurveda studies, but it is quite difficult now. 

EACH PERSON IS DIFFERENT, BUT ASTRO – AYURVEDA SAYS, WE ARE PART OF THE UNIVERSE AND WHATEVER IS THERE, IS ALSO IN OUR BODY. DO YOU BELIEVE IN CONECTION BETWEEN AYURVEDA AND ASTROLOGY? 

As I said, In Manaltheeram, every standard ayurveda treatment programme is individualized for each person. It depends on doctor’s decision and patient health conditions, but we do not consult astrologer. The patients can consult their personal astrology chart with visiting astrologer. It is done only on request. Personally, I have not been studied the astro-ayurveda connections. But I believe, that good time and right place, when and where treatment is taken, can influence the healing process.  

MANALTHEERAM IS SITUATED ALMOST ON THE BEACH. GENERALLY IT IS NOT CONSIDERED THE BEST PLACE FOR AYURVEDA TREATMENT. HOW DOES IT INFLUENCE THE TREATMENT?

The healing environment is also important. Many foreigners, who are taking ayurveda treatment in our resort, are from cold or landlocked countries. For them, the beach scenery and the sunlight are very important elements. It gives them open space feeling. But in Manaltheeram we are quite strict, we do not recommend to patients to walk or take a bath in the sea during the treatment process. 

YOU HAVE MENTIONED ENVIRONMENT AND OPEN SPACE FEELING. WAS VASTU SHASTRA (INDIAN FENG-SHUI) SYSTEM CONSIDERED DURING THE CONSTRUCTION OF MANALTHEERAM RESORT?

Yes, the building plans of the Manaltheeram, were consulted with Vastu Shastra experts. All ayurveda treatment rooms, patient’s cottages and other buildings are constructed according to these ancient building standards. There is no doubt, that orientation, flow of the energy, sunlight and natural constructing materials are influencing treatment very much. 

NOTE: More about the Vastu Shastra elements in the Manaltheeram, you can read in interview: SOMATHEERAM: BABY MATHEW Nº2

ONE OF THE MOST CRUCIAL ELEMENTS FOR HEALING PROCESS IS A DIET. COULD YOU DESCRIBED AYURVEDA DIET PLAN IN THE MANALTHEERAM? 

After the first consultation with ayurveda doctor, patients get the diet plan suitable for their doshas. Again, it depends on their health conditions and treatment programme. In the restaurant, breakfast, lunch and dinner is served as a buffet, divided according the doshas into three categories: vata, pita, and kapha. For some serious cases or also for slimming programme patients, we cook separately or they can take some food from buffet after the consultation with Dietologist.

Dietologist is present in the restaurant all day long and consults diet plan with ayurveda doctors and chef. Sometimes the diet plan can be changed from one day to another, if health condition of the patient has changed. But mostly, she is there, to avoid confusions, because not all the people are familiar with ayurveda principals and local dishes. 

WHAT KIND OF DISHES ARE SERVED?

Our ayurveda diet is pure vegetarian. It is based on local recipes, but we try to serve organic vegetables and fruits, which are available also abroad, it helps foreigners to adjust to ayurveda diet. Between the main meals, we served fruit juices and ayurvedic herbal water.

NOTE: More about the vegetables, fruit and spices origin in the Manaltheeram, you can read in interview: SOMATHEERAM: BABY MATHEW Nº2

WHAT KIND OF DISHES OR DRINKS ARE NOT SERVED?

We do not serve non – vegetarian dishes. (Meat is not prohibited according to ayurveda, but is not recommended during the treatment process) and we do not serve alcohol, coffee or tea. Also smoking is not recommended. 

WHEN IS THE BEST TIME TO VISIT KERALA AND TAKE A TREATMENT?

Anytime! But the Summers in Kerala could be very hot. The hottest months are May and June (sometimes more than 35ºC). The best time for body cleansing is monsoon period. In rainy, wet and colder weather conditions (around 25 ºC), the toxins are released more easily from the body.  Also, the rates for ayurveda treatment programmes are much lower, because foreigners (especially Europeans) prefer to travel to tropical countries in the winter. 

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IN INTERVIEW  WITH DR. HEMALATHA MANOJ Nº2 - we will ask more questions about specific ayurveda treatment programmes.

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AYURVEDA DOCTOR

DR.HEMALATHA MANOJ

"Ayurveda is a divine science of life, our hands should be pure to treat a patient. Sometimes we are not able to cure every one but it is important not to make any mistakes from our hands. We pray to God."

INTERVIEWED BY

ZUZANA ZWIEBEL

Founder & Director of Ayurveda Trails, healing collection of (extra)ordinary people and their stories, whose experiences are transferred into various trails shared by travelers.

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