Practicing ancient healing – in Breckenridge |

Practicing ancient healing – in Breckenridge

Kathryn Corazzelli
summit daily news
Special to the Daily

While most people are familiar with yoga, not many are accustomed with the practice’s sister science: ayurveda.

“Ayurveda is inherently a spiritual practice, but it’s a practice for keeping the mind and body healthy,” said Erica Ragusa, owner of Ambika Healing Massage.

Ragusa incorporates ayurvedic methods into the bulk of her treatments. The practice, she said, originated in India thousands of years ago and is still widely used there alongside Western medicine.

“When I say it’s a spiritual practice, it incorporates a knowing of your own spirit to help you remain in balance,” she said. “It’s about connecting with your spirit, and that will lead you to health. When you’re disconnected with your spirit – when you don’t listen to what you know is good for you – that will lead you to disease.”

The practice incorporates different methods to prevent “a disharmony within the body,” including yoga. In yoga, the postures are meant to improve the body physically, and the breathing is done to keep the person emotionally in balance. Massage, Ragusa said, is one of the biggest methods used in ayurveda, practiced “to keep the body healthy.” She said oils used during massage nourish the body while it experiences relaxation.

All treatments are done for one of two reasons: to tonify (strengthen) or to reduce (purify). Ragusa said a person’s dosha, or prominent personality and physicality, is always taken into account before deciding what kind of therapy will be performed.

Ragusa said she became interested in ayurveda a few years back while attending school to become a yoga instructor. Also a massage therapist, the practice was incorporated at a center she worked at in New York.

Now at Ragusa’s recently opened practice in Breckenridge, most of her treatments are ayurvedic. She makes her own massage oils and teas to incorporate in the treatments: All have different purposes like relaxation, digestion or detoxification. Many of her services include massages – like a Thai herbal massage to nourish the body or a Thai yoga massage to balance. Other treatments include swedana – a purifying herbal steam treatment under an enclosed canopy – and shirodhara – an oil treatment for the forehead and scalp.

“I try to nurture every aspect of the person,” she said.

While Ragusa said she gets a mix of customers, some looking for detoxifying and cleansing treatments and others just looking for a standard massage, she always finds her work very gratifying.

“I feel grateful that I can do this for people and serve as their connection to understanding themselves,” she said. “I don’t think of myself as a healer, I think of myself as someone who facilitates the healing process.”

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