The traditional Ayurveda healing methods and exercises vary from Ayurvedic steam baths and saunas to meditation, acupuncture, energy medicine and yoga. Based on herbs and diet, it was the regions only treatment method until the introduction of western medication.
"Ayurveda" which derives from ancient Sanskrit means ''the Science of life'' which has a holistic approach to the ways the body and mind can be treated. Ayurveda consists of three vital forces – Vata (wind), Pita (fire) and Kapha (earth).Ayurveda is known for its amazing healing methods for certain illnesses which even surpasses western medica- tion practices, and Ayurveda treatment methods have captured the western world and most tourists have recognized Sri Lanka as their destination of choice for medication.
Specialized instructors and trained staff are based in every luxury hotel to look into the visitor's needs, from Ayurveda body massages to Ayurveda steam baths and Ayurveda herbal baths. Some of these Ayurveda resorts possess '' beheth oru'' which dates back into the ancient times, immersing the individual in a boat filled with herbs and medicinal drugs plants to rejuvenate, refresh, and heal the body.
Visitors to wellness establishments in Sri Lanka are focused on treatment for weight loss, stress relief, detoxing to get away from their busy and stressful life styles in their countries. Most tourists like to experience the powers of meditation and yoga to maintain a perfect mental health and a healthy lifestyle. To promote these elements of wellness tourism, luxury spas, Ayurveda products, herbal treatments, and meditation centers are available in star class hotels, boutique hotels and luxury villas across the island. Each of these establishments are closely monitored by Sri Lanka Tourism to ensure quality of products and services.
In wellness tourism, a healthy and nutritious diet is also a key factor. Providing organic food products, and looking towards a healthy diet with fruits, vegetables can be very beneficial for health conscious travelers. Most of the Ayurveda hotels in Sri Lanka only serve white fish. In this regard Sri Lanka Tourism contributes to promote spice gardens, herbs and spices to create awareness of authentic and healthy Sri Lankan cuisine and its health benefits.
Since Ayurveda is concerned with treating the inside as well as outside the human body, one can enjoy the authentic Sri Lankan cuisine prepared in the Ayurveda manner, which are freshly harvested and prepared using authentic herbs and spices sourced locally. In Ayurveda, food is classified into six taste categories: sweet, sour, salty, bitter, pungent and astringent. To receive a proper nutritional balance, Ayurveda philosophy recommends all these categories in every meal.
Holistic wellness such as Yoga and meditation have also gained immense popularity over the years in wellness tourism. For those who seek the inner peace of mind and relief from mental tension, these elements tend to be highly productive, and specialized instructors and trained staff are widely available to look into visitor's needs.
The wellness tourism sector in Sri Lanka is heading towards rapid growth but has to be nurtured carefully in collaboration with the industry stake holders from both government and private sector. Potential new markets for traditional medicine include Gulf /Russian federation countries, Eastern Europe, the far east and Australia. The government has recognized wellness tourism as a key sector for investors. Wellness tourism can be considered as a niche market for the country because of its potential to attract foreign investment and revenue generation.
While wellness tourism was once single dimensional and was restricted to pampering spa vacations, nowadays wellness travel includes many combinations of healthy experiences including eating, cooking, exercise and meditation.
Sri Lanka has the potential of being successful in marketing Ayurveda products to tourists who like to experience the relaxing aroma of Ayurveda products. Sri Lanka already has exclusive and local Ayurveda brands that are exported in order to popularize traditional Sri Lankan Ayurveda overseas.
Among the recommendations made by the international trade center for the development of medical and wellness tourism,Sri Lanka has positioned itself as one of the authentic Ayurveda wellness destinations in the world for development, production, and export of Ayurveda linked cosmetic and supplementary products to the global market. With the wellness tourism rapidly growing to be a promising sector, Sri Lanka has a huge potential of becoming a wellness tourism hub.