Oil massage/Abhyanga is the Ayurvedic art of massaging the body by use of medicinal oils. In Abhyanga, warm oil is applied all over the body, from the head to the sole. There are many benefits from regular massage, whether done by an Ayurvedic doctor or done in the comfort of our home ourselves.
What are the benefits of abhyanga or what are the long-term effects of oil massage on our body?
Primarily, the skin becomes beautiful, relieved from vata disorders, and physical distress. Massage is very beneficial for the skin. Therefore, one should practice it regularly. A small study conducted among a group of 20 people has an amazing effect on their stress level and heart rate. Also, daily Abhyanga helps in reducing blood pressure. Those people, who massage oil daily, their body do not suffer from an injury due to physical exertion. Also by massaging oil daily, the aging process slows down, the person looks stronger and better. Let understand what our ancient Ayurvedic scriptures said about Abhyanga:
In Ashtanga Hridayam, Shri vagbhata said
अभ्यंगमाचरेन्नित्यं, स जराश्रमवातहा।
This means, oil massage helps in delaying aging, relieves fatigue, and also reduces Vata disorders.
He further adds, oil massage imparts good vision and promotes strength. Also, it increases one’s lifespan and relieves insomnia. It helps to increase the moisture in the skin. It is believed that Abhyanga increases skin blood flow, helps in reducing appearance of wrinkle, cellulite and scars; and decreases hyperpigmentation.
Also regular oil massages Strengthens lubrication of bodily tissues, internal organs, bones, and joints
Oil to use for Abhyanga?
The oil can be selected based on the nature of the body, imbalance, and weather effects. Traditionally, sesame and coconut oil have been used for daily Abhyanga for thousands of years.
Coconut oil has a cooling effect on the system and is best for late spring, early summer, and early autumn.
Sesame oil is hot and is best for late autumn, winter, and early spring days.
After the completion of the process of digestion of food taken in the previous day, the body should be massaged with oils that reduce vata such as Chandanabala laksadi taila (sandalwood oil) in the summer , Chandanadi oil, whereas Aguravadi oil in winter which have hot properties.
Massage should not be conducted:
- A person suffering from Khapa disorder.
- During purification or detoxification therapy.
- And also in the event of indigestion.
Three types of Abhyanga (oil massages)
शिरः-श्रवण-पादेषु तं विशेषेण शीलयेत्The oil should be applied to the entire body, especially on the head (scalp massage), ear (drops of lukewarm oil in the ear), and feet.
- Shiro-abhyanga (head oil massage): For a person who has daily headaches, it reduces headaches, premature greying of hair, and baldness, strengthening the bones of the head. The roots of the hair become strong, the senses open, the skin of the face starts glowing and the person gets good sleep and happiness.
- Karna-abhyanga (Massaging the ears of the ear): By applying lukewarm oil in the ears daily, ear diseases due to vata will nit happen, removes stiffness of the neck or jaw, and increases hearing power, and reduces the possibility of deafness.
- Foot- Abhyangaa (foot massage): Massaging the feet removes the roughness, stiffness, dryness, fatigue of the feet. The feet gain tenderness, strength, firmness, the eyes gain shine, and Vata is calmed.
In Charaka Samhita, Acharya Charaka has said that if you are not able to do full body massage daily, at least do it on the ears and head, and feet on regular basis.
How to do self-massage. (How to massage at home)
- Heat your oil – You heat the oil in the pot while brushing, or you can rub the oil between your palms if you are short on time.
- Massage your body gently but firmly.
- Start with the neck, working your way down your legs. Use long strokes for the limbs and short strokes for the joints. Do not forget the fingers and toes, and pay extra attention to the soles of your feet, as they all contain nerve endings and vital marmas (combinations of prana or vitality energy).
- Allow the oil to sit for 5–10 minutes. Do not skip this step, because the deep benefits of abhyanga depend on the absorbtion of oils and herbs in the body. It takes a few minutes for the oil to penetrate the deepest layers of the skin.
- After oil massage to the body, massage (with fine herbal powder) in the opposite direction of hair follicles with high pressure, also known as udvartana.
- After that rinse the whole body with cold shower on a warm day, or a cool shower (but not hot) on a cold day. Don’t skip this step as excess oil will clog the pores.
Abhyanga is an ancient practice. It does promote wellness and balance, along with stress relief and healthy skin.
The technique involves applying warm oil to the entire body specially on head, ears and feet,and massaging each part.
Massage can improve relaxation, blood flow, and general health.
Self-massage may not be safe if you’re pregnant or have a skin infection, broken bone, or chronic illness.
This how we all can get benefited by Ayurvedic Abhyanga massage. Hope you all have like this article.
Stay happy & healthy with help of an Ayurveda.
Disclaimer: The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. One can consult an ayurvedic physician & get good treatment for any ailments.