Have you ever tried abhyanga (massage)? If yes, then you might know how instant relaxing effects it has! However, more than relaxation, it has various other health benefits. 

Morbi vitae purus dictum, ultrices tellus in, gravida lectus.

Ayurvedic abhyanga is not merely about enjoying the massage. But, it is a complete therapy with incredible health benefits. 

Ayurveda suggests practicing self-massage every day as a part of the day ritual. Applying oil with massage strokes improves blood circulation. This way, it takes the oxygen-rich blood to the muscles. As a result, it vanishes muscle tension. 

Abhyanga with Ayurvedic oils nourishes and builds muscle strength. It also reduces stress and encourages relaxation. Above all, it has anti-aging effects. Such excellent health benefits make it a must regimen of the day.

“स्नेहाभ्यंगात यथा कुम्भश्चर्म स्नेहविमर्दनात् | 

भवति उपाङ्गात अक्षश्च दृढं क्लेशसहो यथा ||”

                              ( Charak Samhita)

This shloka is from Charak Samhita (ancient Ayurvedic textbook). It explains that as with oil application, a wheel axis becomes more robust and resistant to wear and tear. Similarly, our body becomes strong and resistant to the exertions and unaffected to the various diseases with oil application.

Therapist pouring massage oil at spa

You can practice this daily ritual every morning empty stomach for 25 to 30 minutes. Leave it for half an hour. Later, take a bath with warm water in cold weather and room temperature water during hot weather. 

Oils for abhyanga as per Ayurvedic body type:

  • Vata: Mustard/ Sesame oil 
  • Pitta: Coconut oil
  • Kapha: Mustard/ Sesame oil
  • Vata-Pitta: Sesame oil in cold weather; Coconut oil in hot weather
  • Vata-Kapha: Sesame/ Mustard oil
  • Pitta-Kapha: Coconut oil in hot weather: Sesame oil in cold weather
  • Tridosha: Sesame oil

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What do you need?

  • Oil in a glass bottle
  • Hot water pot

How to perform it?

  • Warm the oil by keeping the oil bottle in a hot water pot for 5 minutes.

Scalp:

  • When oil gets warm, take a small amount of oil in your hands.
  • Rub your hands together and apply the oil first to your scalp.
  • Firstly, gently massage the roots of hairs with your fingertips for 5 minutes.

Face:

  • Take a little more oil, rub your hands again.
  • Apply the oil all over your face.
  • Massage your forehead, cheeks, chin, and nose with a circular motion.
  • Then gently massage your ears in a circular motion.
  • Dip your little finger in the oil and massage the ear canal.
  • Massage your face for 5 minutes.

Upper Body:

  • Moving downwards, keep taking more oil as required.
  • Apply gentle strokes on the front and back of the neck, shoulders, and collar bone.
  • Move towards the arms.
  • Give long strokes on the upper arms, lower arms.
  • Use circular strokes to massage the joints like the elbow joint, wrist joint, shoulder joint.
  • Massage fingers and palm of both hands.
  • First complete massaging one arm, then move to the other arm.
  • Massage armpits towards the center of the body.
  • Then gently massage the chest.
  • Move to the front of your torso, apply a large circular motion on your abdomen.
  • Then rub the side and flanks of the body with long strokes. 
  • After this, massage your lower back to the hip area with long and small circular strokes.
  • Also, apply oil and massage the upper back (as much you can reach). 
  • Massage for 5 to 10 minutes.

Lower body:

  • Finally, massage your legs with long strokes. 
  • Use circular strokes on the joints like the knee and ankle joints.
  • Pay special attention to your toes, fingers, and the sole of your feet.
  • Massage for 5 to 10 minutes.

When should you not take abhyanga?

  • Indigestion
  • Fever
  • Eczema
  • Bruises
  • Heart diseases
  • Menstruation
  • Nausea
  • Wounds on the skin
  • Pregnancy
  • Inflammatory conditions
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • Infection on the skin like fungal or bacterial

Embrace this daily routine in your life and improve your lifestyle to get healthier and happier!