Chantal Lehmann


Indonesia, 2013
India, 2014

More than a massage, a way of life

Indian massage techniques date back 5,000 years and have been passed down from generation to generation, as in most cultures, where each region has developed its particularities.

In Ayurveda, we find Shirotchampi, Abhyanga, Shirodhara and Kalari Kaï Uzhichil, to name only the most important ones. These massages mainly consist of friction and energetic movements and require power and agility from the practitioner (cf yoga practice).

Ayurvedic sessions are longer than in other techniques of the world (apart from Lomi Lomi) because the body needs time to really let go (50 minutes on average to relax the nervous system) and to launch the detoxification processes of the body through fluids.

Ayurvedic massage oils are adapted to the doshas. The practitioner will choose from a selection of therapeutic oils to compose his formula (almond, babuna, coconut, castor, toasted sesame, sandalwood, and brassica napus seeds). Heated herbal pouches in steam baths are very often used to accelerate muscle relaxation through heat.

The approach is therapeutic, and when done authentically, it has a lasting effect over several weeks.

Learning Ayurveda

by Chantal Lehmann

Ayurveda is the latest technique I have explored. Ayurveda is now one of my favorite practices because it treats the body in the most complete way.

I first discovered yoga in Bali in 2013, following breast cancer (mastectomy and chemotherapy). I was lucky to meet an amazing woman: Lindsey Wise, yoga teacher, Ayurvedic medicine graduate and shaman, and the originator of a women’s community in Ubud.

Ayurveda through yoga

Lindsey came to show me the doors to healing through yoga every day from 7 am to 9 am for one month. A mastectomy can leave a scar of 12-15 centimetres. Following such an operation, the pectoral muscles tend to curl forward. The body curls up to protect itself. Lindsey taught me all the techniques of opening, stretching and strengthening the shoulder girdle in yoga.

In 2014, I traveled to Delhi with the desire to do a true Pancha karma (Indian detox practiced every five years, over five weeks, which consists of cleansing all the systems of the body). When I explained my medical background, the Ayurvedic doctor immediately stopped me by explaining that I would not last and had to return in 5 years. A mini introduction to what was in store for me was in order: appointments with him and a program of herbal intake, a series of 4-handed herbal massages, and a meditative practice. It was here that I had an epiphany about massage, specifically Kalari Kai Uzhichil. This is a very physical 3-hour floor massage in which the patient and the masseur assume yogic positions. This experience immediately made me want to be taught this massage. I invited the teacher to spend three weeks of intense training in Paris.

Ayurveda through food

Lindsey also explained to me the importance of the dosha diet, which I experienced and which allowed me to recover from four months of chemotherapy faster than a top athlete. My body began to rejuvenate, open up, and become more flexible. The trip to Bali helped me reconcile with my body and regain mobility, which was much better than before. Lindsey made me realize that Ayurveda is the science of life (its meaning in Sanskrit: Ayur, for life and Veda, for knowledge). Our ability to repair ourselves is within us. We just need to work on our self-discipline and self-observation.

Ayurveda through plants

A visit to an Ayurvedic clinic in January 2014 in Delhi resulted in an interview with a doctor who worked out a program with Ayurvedic herbs, explaining to me the benefits of each. The approach is comparable to traditional Chinese medicine, where a plant can remove or balance moisture, dryness, heat, cold or wind. It seemed logical to me and only confirmed everything I had started exploring a few years before with TCM**. The desire to explore and deepen was born. That’s when I went to my first Ashram in Khajurâho from December 2013 – January 2014 (YTT 200 hours)

For the record…

Lindsey also passed on to me the contact of an Indonesian reflexologist, Ketut, who did two reflexologies per week with 1-hour work on each foot. At the end of the first reflexology, my urine was orange. The body’s detoxification was done in-depth and from the earth and my roots. Ketut promised me that my urine would be transparent at the end of my stay: it worked!


The other techniques of the world

de Chantal Lehmann