Abhyanga (massage) is a type of passive exercise that takes the strain off the physical exercise especially ideal for those of you that want or need to avoid the physical strain. Whether for prevention or cure, a good Ayurveda massage is always your best route to general wellness.
Healing herbal oils, chosen according to the season and personal constitution, represent the most common Ayurveda massage when applied on one’s body. According to Ayurveda therapy’s suggestion, sesame oil is the best and most effective choice of all. During the winter season, one may also apply mustard oil but remember to avoid during summer.
During the hot seasons, Coconut and Sunflower oil are also suggested by Ayurveda Medicine. Olive oil is a warming oil and it is therefore suggested for winter use. Anyone with a ‘Vata’ body should apply warming oils whilst on the other hand, ‘Pitta’ bodies will benefit from cooling oils. ‘Kapha’ body owners are suggested an Ayurveda care herbal mustard oil (warm) to use in their massages and it would also be beneficial if opting for a dry massage.
First, apply the chosen oil directly to the part of the body you intend to massage and proceed to gently massaging the oil with the palm of the hand until the oil penetrates the skin.
It is important to apply upward strokes when commencing with the massage. While massaging your hand movements must be neither too fast nor too slow and kept at the same pace, while only applying pressure on muscle areas.
Ayurveda herb massages should be conducted early in the morning or during the evening, preferably on an empty stomach.
You may have these massages delivered from an expert but massages are equally quoted as a home remedy in Ayurveda.
Most importantly, the person undergoing the massage must concentrate on the concerned body part and avoid letting stress, worries, and anxiety overcome them.
One should avoid massages after a cleansing therapy or when suffering from a fever or mucus.
The Benefits of Massages
Massaging of the body enhances the internal functions of the body while providing nourishment for the bodily tissues. It also helps in cleansing the bodily channels from toxins while at the same time lubricating various organs.
The benefits of the massaging therapies don’t stop there but go even further. A massage will also stimulate your body’s enzymes and increases the Ojas.
- Nerve Weakness
- Dry and unhealthy skin
- General Debility
Abhyanga – Self Massage Without The Need of A Masseur
Massage is one of the familiar therapies of Ayurveda. It rejuvenates the body and mind. One must get a massage (with warm oil) at least once in a week. One can do it daily also. It does not take more than 30 minutes. You can do it daily because it is self-massage. You do not need a masseur.
For the Indian women, especially those situated of the south, oil bath is not an uncommon practice. Fridays are said to be auspicious for women to take head oil bath. Pure warm gingerly oil is applied to the head and the body. After at least 10 or 30 minutes, using soap-nut powder the bath is taken.
It is believed that oil bath cools the body, improves eyesight, memory and induces good sleep. Especially for cold prone persons, the gingerly oil is warmed with a few black peppers.
When an ordinary oil bath could bring in so many benefits, think how healthy it will be when massage was done with the oil infused with Ayurvedic herbs!
Benefits of Abhyanga
Abhyanga, the Ayurvedic self-massage has a lot of benefits. It balances the three doshas. It pacifies Vata and balances Kapha dosha. It improves blood circulation. It revitalizes a lazy, lethargic person but at the same time, it relaxes the body. It calms the mind.
Dead cells are removed from the skin faster, promoting clear, non-blemish skin. Minor skin afflictions are cured. Regular massage gives your skin a rich shine. The skin gets soft and supple.
Warm oil massage calms the brain and the nervous system. The joints get lubricated. Impurities of the body are removed from the letter.
It ensures a restful sleep at night with the result you feel refreshed and stay active throughout the day. Muscles, nerves and nerve ends are toned with a better circulation of blood. It makes you feel younger.
The Abhyanga is done in the morning before your bath. Early morning massage clears the toxins accumulated overnight. The oils used may be cured sesame oil which is herbal massage oil or aroma massage oil.
As said earlier, the massage imparts health even when only base oil like sesame or almond oil is used. But for the proposal of Abhyanga, Ayurvedic doctors infuse the base oil with nourishing herbs and flowers.
Herbs such as Brahmi, Aswagandha, Shatavari Sankapushpi, Tulasi, Bhringaraj and Turmeric are used in traditional Ayurvedic massage oil. The herbs are gently cooked into the oil for a specified period and the oil is then filtered for use. Aromatherapy massage oils contain essences such as sandalwood, jasmine, and rose.
The best choice of base oil is sesame oil (Gingerly oil) which is highly nourishing and purifying, has anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties. It protects the skin from free radical damage.
To purify the sesame (Gingerly) oil, heat the oil to 212 degrees Fahrenheit. Remove from the heat once this temperature is reached. Cool and store for use as needed.
Almond oil also is good base oil due to it is both nourishing and soothing. So also is coconut oil. But the essential oils are chosen according to the condition and illness of the patient. Your Ayurvedic doctor will recommend the correct oil you need.
Process of Abhyanga Massage
Use warm oil. First using your fingertips, apply the oil lightly all over the body. Wait for 5 minutes to let some of the oil to be absorbed. Then massage the whole today applying even pressure with the whole hand, palm and fingers.
Use more oil and massage a little longer area where nerve endings concentrate such as soles of the feet, palms of the hands and along the base of fingernails. Go light over the heart and abdomen.
After the massage relaxes for 10 to 15 minutes. The longer the oil is on, the deeper it penetrates. Then take your bath.
Qualified professional Abhyanga is generally performed by 1 or masseurs massaging simultaneously for a time period of 45 to 60 minutes. After the Abhyanga massage is done, it is highly recommended for you to go for a hot shower or steam bath.
This type of Ayurvedic massage tends to be very relaxing and is a very good rejuvenating experience. It is also good for treating certain diseases. By going for standard Abhyanga massage, it will be able to protect you from panic and stress, especially for people with Vata disorder.
Another benefit that you can get is you will feel younger and your life span may increase. It is soporific, good for the skin, eyes and overall health.
Nabhi Abhyanga (Abdominal massage)
Nabhi is a marma (energy) point behind the navel region, so abdominal massage is literally the massaging of this point. The small intestine, where the main digestive enzymes are produced lies just behind the navel point so Nabhi Abhyanga provides great stimulus in the regulation and production of these enzymes.
The abdominal region in Ayurveda is given great importance due to it being here that the central digestive fire (Agni) lives. As such abdominal massage is very effective at stimulating the digestive system, creating strong and healthy Agni and aiding in the removal of toxins (Ama).
Ayurveda considers the digestive system to be the most important of all systems in the body due to the fact that all nutrients, essential for survival, health and well being are absorbed here. Also, incorrect functioning of the digestive system can lead to the formation of Ama in the body which is believed to be the root cause for many diseases.
Indications for this treatment include:
- Weight gain
- Presence of Ama
Nabhi Abhyanga is also recommended in the postnatal period as it also helps to strengthen the abdominal wall and prevents unnecessary weight gain during this period.