Alternative Spa Series – Ayurveda Pratima Ayurvedic Skincare: Where India and Soho Find Balance and Harmony


It won’t be long before we start asking the question, “What’s your dosha?” as often as we ask, “What’s your sign?” Ayurveda (Ah-yur-vay-dah) means science of life and has been the traditional medicine of India for over 5000 years. The primary focus of Ayurveda is to ensure longevity (Ayur) by maintaining and promoting health. Pratima is a small gem of a spa located in Soho that incorporates the principles and ingredients of Ayurveda into the traditional spa treatments we know and love. And with Dr. Raichur leading the way, one may just find the way to a new level of self-awareness and the perfect balance of inner and outer beauty.

Ayurveda asserts that we are all born into an unchanging constitution known as dosha. The main doshas are based on a combination of the five universal elements: ether, air, fire, water, and earth. These elements combine to form three basic doshas: Vata (ether and air), Pitta (fire and water), Kapha (water and earth). While at Pratima, I had one of the most relaxing (and most effective) facials ever: the Ayurvedic Pitta Facial.

I wasn’t sure what to expect when I got off the elevator on the 7th floor of the Soho Building. It was almost as though I was stepping into another world. This immaculately designed spa (at which you can purchase all of their miracle products) provided me with a luxurious atmosphere in which to relax to the fullest extent. Listening to the sounds of chanting and meditative music, I closed my eyes and felt the warmth of heated beanbag booties placed gently on my feet. As my face was being steamed, my facialist examined my skin. Seen as the mirror of inner health, the skin is simply the manifestation of everything that happens inside, including our emotions. For instance, stress can manifest itself in our skin as dehydration, oiliness, acne, or rashes. My facialist determined that I would receive the Pitta facial, which uses cool, calming extracts like rose, sandalwood, and ylang ylang to soothe and nurture my sensitive, dry and acne-prone skin.

The facial included a thorough cleansing and exfoliating of my skin as well as extractions; but unlike other facialists who leave the room while your pores are being steamed open or your clay mask is drying, at Pratima, they stay with you for almost the entire time, giving you a drool-inducing head, neck and scalp massage. They also relieve your dry, winterized hands by massaging in a rich moisturizer and placing them in heated gloves. All of the ingredients used are completely, natural and their herbal cleansers and masks are designed to gently clean and exfoliate without stripping the skin of essential moisture. When I applied my make-up later that day, my skin was the smoothest it’s been in quite some time. Pratima’s goal is to bring harmony not only to your face, but to your whole spirit as well. This Ayurvedic facial does just that.

In addition to a wide variety of facials and massages, Pratima specializes in other alternative spa treatments using the principles of Ayurveda. One might opt for a Rudraksha Treatment, which reduces stress; or a 3-consecutive-day Kalyani Body Treatment, which uses an exotic herb mixture containing cooked rice, milk, saffron, and bala to nourish the skin and relax the muscles. During the treatment, Shirodhara, a soothing continuous flow of warm herbal-infused oil is slowly and gently poured over the “third eye” point, stimulating and nourishing the hair follicles, relieving mental tensions and helping settle & balance the central nervous system.

But if you’re looking to make an extensive life-change, you might opt for a consultation with Dr. Raichur, author of Absolute Beauty: Radiant Skin and Inner Harmony Through the Ancient Secrets of Ayurveda.

Drawing on her extensive knowledge of Ayurveda, nutrition, meditation, and skincare, the lifestyle consultation includes a thorough assessment of the nuances of your dosha and recommendations for diet, nutrition, exercises, and general lifestyle practices to aid in achieving optimum balance, radiant health and ageless living.

Ayurveda states that by following a diet and lifestyle that corresponds to our body’s inherent makeup, we can stave off illness, manage our health and restore balance. Healthy internal radiance is regarded by Ayurveda as the true definition of beauty. Ayurveda is not viewed as an alternative to or substitute for western medicine. As Pratima puts it: “When we follow the laws of nature, we have balance and harmony. Internal harmony brings happiness, and happiness brings health and beauty.”

For a more detailed explanation of Ayurveda and the treatments and products offered at Pratima, visit

110 Greene St. – Suite 701 (Between Prince and Spring Streets)
New York, NY 10012
(212) 581-8136

For product orders: fax your order and your credit card number to (2I2) 581.8366 or e-mail us at: [email protected]

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