Shambhala Retreat Spa at Parrot Cay

Hot-Stone-MassageCloser Look at Natural Medicine

By Claudia Alfonso

Ancient Tibetan and Hindu texts describe a mythical village called ‘Shambhala,’ with healing teachings predating Buddhist and Hindu religions. Buddhists described Shambhala as a pure land of peace that’s as spiritual as it is geographic. Not until the 20th century did westerners gain awareness of Tibet and its ancient traditions – but today, growing fascination and understanding of natural medicine has compelled more westerners to integrate many of its practices – like yoga – into mainstream culture.

Inner Peace & Well-being
On the quiet, east side of the Parrot Cay, you will find the spa, which overlooks mangroves and wetlands rich with birdlife. The award-winning Shambhala Retreat offers yoga, Pilates and related treatments. The spa’s structures incorporate nature so that guests feel connected with Mother Nature. It’s a supremely peaceful location, with views over the North Caicos channel.

Facilities include a large infinity pool, a yoga room aired by natural breezes, and nine treatment rooms. The holistic centre includes an outdoor women’s Jacuzzi garden, and two yoga and Pilates studios guests can utilize with one-on-one tuition (specialist equipment includes a rope wall, yoga props, the ‘Reformer’ and ‘Wunda Chair’). For couples’ treatments, there are two double massage rooms and Japanese baths.

Natural Medicine
My personal journey into natural medicine started two years ago when I first visited Parrot Cay. I booked a consultation with the resident Ayurvedic doctor who introduced me to the world of Ayurvedic medicine. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) defines ‘Ayurveda’ as a combination of the Sanskrit words ayur (life) and veda (science or knowledge). It is one of the oldest medicine systems in the world, many practices of which predate written records and were handed down by word of mouth.

Key concepts of Ayurvedic medicine include universal interconnectedness (among people, their health, and the universe), the body’s constitution (prakriti), and life forces (dosha), which are often compared to the biologic humors of the ancient Greek system. Ayurvedic physicians prescribe individualized treatments, including compounds of herbs or proprietary ingredients, and diet, exercise and lifestyle advice.

At Parrot Cay, my Ayurvedic doctor explained these elements determine a mix of physical, emotional and mental characteristics that maintain balance in my  biological mechanism.  The doctor presented me with a questionnaire to determine my dosha numbers and my records were kept at the spa for any future treatments.

One year after my last Ayurvedic consultation, I made an appointment for a Shirodhara treatment. The name comes from the Sanskrit words ‘shiras’ (head) and ‘dhara’ (flow). The stunning treatment room, designed with a distinctive dark wood with an irresistible Indonesian feel, featured earthy aromas and enchanting trees peeking through the window. My treatment consisted of a gentle neck and shoulder massage, and gentle strokes on my head. The therapist poured warm oil – prepared according to my doshas – over my forehead for relaxation and mental clarity, synchronizing any misaligned alpha brain waves. After a soothing period with oil aromas, I relaxed in an adjacent steam room and then enjoyed a full body exfoliation with a spice and herb concoction prepared based on my doshas, which I rinsed off under a tranquil outdoor shower.

During my time at Parrot Cay, I learned how important it is to keep mind and soul in alignment to regenerate old cells. A clear mind is not only beneficial to one’s everyday living, but also to rejuvenate from the inside out. Following my treatment, I felt relaxed and fully reinvigorated. I can hardly wait to visit again next year!

Shambhala Retreat Spa at Parrot Cay