My Ayurvedic Massage Journey

The Ariana Institute’s Techniques in the Spa World Manual is part of a series of massage manuals that are designed to help deepen the knowledge of current massage therapists and introduce new massage therapists to the world of massage and bodywork. The Techniques in the Spa World Manual features topics that are also available as NCBTMB approved online CE courses through the Ariana Institute at, including:

  • Aromatherapy for Massage and Bodywork
  • Ayurvedic Massage
  • Couples Massage
  • Hot and Cold Stone Massage
  • Spa Techniques: Exfoliations and Body Wraps

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This manual incorporates detailed protocols, photos, links to online videos, marketing strategies, personal stories, and resources to encourage a comprehensive understanding of spa techniques and modalities beneficial for your massage practice.

Here’s a personal story about ayurvedic massage featured in the Techniques in the Spa World Manual.


My first Ayurvedic experience was in the late 70s at Murietta Hot Springs in Southern California. I attended a workshop taught by Dr. Vasant Lad, executive director of the Ayurvedic Institute; Dr. David Frawley, one of the foremost scholars of Ayurveda and Vedic Science; Donald van Howten, an Ayurvedic practitioner and certified massage therapy instructor; and other stellar members of the Ayurvedic community.

During the workshop, we focused on the principles of Ayurvedic healing, components to an Ayurvedic lifestyle, nutrition according to the Ayurvedic principles, and Ayurvedic massage techniques. I was profoundly influenced by the beauty and truth of the Ayurvedic principles. They provide guidelines for bodywork, diet, behavior, ideal life routines; and the proper use of our senses to help each individual maintain a balanced integration of our body, mind, and spirit. The experience of studying with such luminaries in the Ayurvedic community was transforming and set my course on a path of further study. I continued to research Ayurvedic techniques for bodyworkers and read texts on Ayurveda written by Dr. Vasant Lad and by Dr. Deepak Chopra.

I later trained at Mecca Spa in Austin in the art of offering Shirodhara, an Ayurvedic treatment that involves the warm and consistent flow of aromatic, herbalized oils on the forehead. The word “Shirodhara” is derived from the Sanskrit “shiro,” meaning “head,” and “dhara,” meaning “to flow.” The oils flow over the scalp and through the hair, creating a relaxing and harmonizing feeling throughout the entire body. I loved offering this treatment and always looked forward to sharing this meditative experience with my clients at Mecca.

The next opportunity I had to return to the Ayurvedic world was at The Crossing Wellness Spa, a world-class facility in far northwest Austin, Texas, situated on the edge of the Balcones Canyonlands Preserve. The destination spa served the local community as well as guests with 70 guest rooms on the property. The spa featured eleven treatment rooms adjacent to the property’s saline infinity pool that overlooked the serene and scenic Texas hill country landscape.

It was at The Crossings that I trained in Ayurvedic techniques with Mark Nasrallah, another of the leading Ayurvedic experts in the U.S. Before becoming the spa director at The Crossings, Mark set up several Panchakarma clinics across the country.  I was also fortunate to receive Ayurvedic technique training from David Washburn, a very gifted massage therapy instructor and senior massage therapist at The Crossings who had been practicing massage therapy since 1992 and had participated in over 1,300 hours of basic and advanced massage training.

I was very grateful that Mark Nasrallah and David Washburn took time from their busy schedules at the spa to offer me training in a variety of Ayurvedic techniques on top of what I acquired at Murietta Hot Springs and Mecca. Here, I learned the fundamentals of dosha analysis, an Ayurvedic assessment of particular patterns of energy that help determine which treatments would best serve a particular client. I also learned advanced Shirodhara techniques that helped me better serve the specific needs of a client of which I’ve learned to better assess.  In addition to the dosha analysis and the advanced Shirodhara training, I was taught Ayurvedic hand and foot massage that can be performed independently of the Shirodhara practice. All in all, it was an amazing educational experience that offered profoundly relaxing and balancing results for my clients.

Later I was able to incorporate many of the Ayurvedic treatments that I’d learned over the years in my private practice and I began offering an NCBTMB approved Ayurvedic massage continuing education course through The Ariana Institute.

Ariana Vincent was awarded the 2015 CE Provider of the Year Award by the Alliance for Massage Therapy Education. She is a Nationally Certified Massage Therapy Instructor whose classes are accepted throughout the United States. Ariana is also a Massage Therapy Hall of Fame Honoree and author of the Ariana Institute’s therapy manual series available on Amazon.

To read the foreword of the Techniques in the Spa World Manual, visit  
The Ariana Institute’s video introduction to the Aromatherapy, Ayurvedic Massage, Couples Massage, Hot and Cold Stone Massage, as well as other Spa Technique CE courses, can be accessed on the Ariana Institute’s YouTube Channel at
To order your copies of the Ariana Institute’s Techniques in the Spa World Manual, visit   
For additional information about the Ariana Institute and to register for online continuing education and MTI courses visit Ariana Vincent, LMT, MTI, NCTMB Ariana Vincent, LMT, MTI, NCTMB

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