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Ayurvedic Treatment By Massage (Abhyanga)

Treatment by Massage (Abhyanga)

Ayurvedic Treatment By Massage (Abhyanga)

Ayurveda has a holistic approach to treatment that seeks the wellbeing of the individual based on their dosha or body constitution (i.e., Vata, Pitta or Kapha doshas) and the vikritis (dosha imbalances that cause disease). 

Ayurvedic medicine helps in improving the interaction and balance of mind, body and spirit of an individual. The Ayurvedic medications along with massage induce a feeling of well-being. 

When we think about massage, we picture a luxurious spa. However, Ayurveda encourages the use of the Ayurvedic massage or Abhyanga (i.e., self-massage). Abhyanga does not involve only slapping some oil over the body. One needs to envelop the body in love and treat it with respect while massaging the body. 

There are many benefits of practising self-massage and over a period of time, you will look forward to this self-love process. Abhyanga serves to not only reduce pain but acts as a preventive treatment to any disease by increasing the blood circulation, stimulation and strengthening of the lymphatic system, cleansing and revitalizing the body. 

Also, the oils used in Ayurvedic massages are very nourishing and detoxifying and help prevent ageing and invigorate the individual. These Ayurvedic oils induce harmony and a sense of balance. 

The oils are also supplemented with certain herbs or herbal extracts and can easily penetrate the pores of the body, thus transporting the essential herbs to the cells. Ayurvedic massage provides symptomatic stress relief and also generates positive feelings and emotions, thereby calming the body and mind. 

Ayurvedic massage involves tapping, kneading, squeezing and traditional massage strokes by using essential oils to balance the individual doshas. The style and intensity of massage depend on the individual's need for balance and well-being at the time. 

An Ayurvedic massage therapist mainly focuses on the "marma points", which are similar to the vital energy points in acupuncture and acupressure. Our skin contains numerous beneficial hormones; therefore, an Ayurvedic massage imparts a positive feeling to the body. 

It balances the endocrine and nervous systems, enlivens the vital energy points and affects the hundreds and thousands of nerve endings that connect to all parts of the body including the brain and vital organs.

Conditions that are benefitted by an Ayurvedic massage

1. Insomnia
2. Stress
3. Muscular pain
4. Arthritis
5. Sciatica
6. Back pain
7. Psoriasis
8. Headaches
9. Fatigue
10. Anxiety
11. Immunity
12. Dry skin
13. Circulation and drainage of the lymph nodes
14. Concentration
15. Hair growth
16. Increased vigour of the body tissues

Best time for an Ayurvedic massage

Traditionally, this massage is performed in the mornings, before a bath or shower, to facilitate the release of toxins that may have accumulated during the previous night. 

However, a massage can also be performed at the end of the day, before going to bed, to ease the pressure off the tired soles and induce a good night’s sleep. At least 15 minutes must be spent during the Abhyanga process. 

Ayurvedic Treatment By Massage (Abhyanga)

The correct method to do an Ayurveda full-body massage at home is -

  • Start by warming the specific oil (the choice depends on the dosha of an individual and is specific) in a bowl of boiled water.
  • Use the palm to massage the body. Generally, use circular motions over rounded areas (joints, head) and straight strokes over straight areas (neck, long bones). Apply moderate pressure over the body and light pressure over the abdomen and heart.
  • Start with the head. Pour a small amount of oil on the hands and vigorously massage it into your scalp. Use the flat palm of the hands and make circular strokes to cover the whole head. Spend more time massaging the head than other parts of the body.
  • Move to the face and outer ears. Apply a small amount of oil as you move from one part of the body to the next. Massage this area gently.
  • Massage the front and back of the neck, and the upper part of your spine. At this point cover the rest of the body with a thin layer of oil to give maximum time for the oil to soak in.
  • Vigorously massage the arms, using a circular motion on the shoulders and elbows and long, back-and-forth strokes on the upper arms and forearms.
  • Next, massage the chest and abdomen. Use a very gentle, circular motion over the heart and abdomen. You can start in the lower right part of the abdomen and move clockwise toward the left lower part, to gently massage the intestines.
  • Massage the back and spine the best you can.
  • Massage the legs vigorously, using circular motions over the hips, knees and ankles. Use long straight over the thighs and calves.
  • Finally, massage the bottoms of your feet. As with the head, you can spend more time on this important area of the body. Use the palm of the hand to massage the soles vigorously.
  • Allow absorption for 20 mins before a warm bath or shower.

Some of the best oils that can be used according to your dosha 

Vata Dosha: 

Sesame oil is slightly hot in nature and is ideal for people with a higher Vata dosha. 
Ghee can also be used as the lubricating agent. 
The Vata massage oil must contain many herbs like ashwagandha, turmeric, basil leaves, fresh ginger root, cloves, lotus root, orange peel, Bala, liquorice, etc. It strengthens the nervous system, promotes relaxation and eases muscle tension.

Ayurvedic Treatment By Massage (Abhyanga)

Pitta Dosha: 

  • People with Pitta dosha need to use a cooling oil, like coconut oil as the base oil. 
  • The Pitta massage oil must contain many herbs like Shatavari, sandalwood, rose, jasmine, Brahmi, manjishtha, liquorice, etc. This oil can decrease gastric ulcers, acid reflux, skin disorders, etc. 
Ayurvedic Treatment By Massage (Abhyanga)

Kapha Dosha: 

  • People with Kapha dosha need to oils like sesame oil or castor oil as the base oil. 
  • The Kapha massage oil must contain many herbs like calamus, chitrak, punarnava, ginger, rosemary, garlic, etc. It is mainly used for treating inflammation, pain, sciatica, arthritis, spondylosis, myalgia etc. 
Ayurvedic Treatment By Massage (Abhyanga)

Benefits of Abhyanga

  • Nourishes the entire body - decreases the effects of ageing
  • Imparts muscle tone and vigour to the tissues (dhatus) of the body
  • Imparts a firmness to the limbs
  • Lubricates the joints
  • Increases circulation
  • Stimulates the internal organs of the body
  • Assists in the elimination of impurities from the body
  • Moves the lymph, aiding in detoxification
  • Increases stamina
  • Calms the nerves
  • Benefits sleep—better, deeper sleep
  • Enhances vision
  • Makes hair (scalp) grow luxuriantly, thick, soft and glossy.
  • Softens and smoothens skin; decreases wrinkles, thus promoting youthfulness
  • Pacifies Vata and Pitta and stimulates Kapha
  • Balance the endocrine system
  • Calm the nervous system and promotes mental relaxation
  • Rejuvenate the skin
  • Increase mental alertness
  • Increases longevity
  • Increases energy, endurance and strength
  • Leads to a gradual decrease in existing diseases
  • Prevents colds, flu and other diseases
  • Increases the ability to handle stress and anxiety
  • Helps weight loss or gain and better sense control
Hopefully, this post clears your questions regarding the Ayurvedic massage and offers tips for self-massage.

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