Ayurvedic massage – Abhyanga
Abhyanga is one of the most important self-care rituals in Ayurveda. Abyanga is also known as Snehana
– which means self-love. This grounding practice is easy to learn and practice on a regular basis. Regular
practice of Abhyanga proves to be beneficial to strengthening of body as well to calm the mind and
nourish the tissues.
Abhyanga – Understanding the ritual
Abhyanga is a grounding and nurturing application of Ayurvedic body oil with an intention to nourish the
body and to also assist in the balancing of doshas. When it comes to the understanding of Dosha dominance, Ayurveda the oldest health science of India teaches us to live in harmony with the 5 elements of nature and incorporate the subtle changes in our diet and lifestyle according to the changes in the seasons. Honoring the seasons and based on our individual constitution Ayurveda recommends self – care rituals like Abhyanga to be practiced regularly with medicated oils.
Understanding Dosha and Abhyanga
Ayurveda recommends to follow the Abhyanga ritual with the respective to your Dosha dominance, Ayurvedic oils and seasonal transitions.
Recommended- Warm sesame oil, regular massaging at least twice a week. Vata peaks in the fall season where warm sesame oil, Bala oil, Hemaveda Vata oil is recommended for a regular massage.
Recommended – Cooling oils like coconut oil, Hemaveda Pitta oil is best for a regular abhyanga for Pittas. Pitta peaks in the summer season and its best for the pittas to perform abhyanga once a week with room temperature oils.
Kapha individuals are the ones who do not need a regular abhyanga specially in the spring season when the kapha dominance is more. Kaphas should prefer oils which are hot in potency and incorporate dry brushing before Abhyanga. Hemaveda Kapha oil is best suited for Kaphas.
Benefits of Abhyanga
There are several benefits of regular Abhyanga practice
- A boon to the central nervous system
- Calming, soothing to the mind
- Provides nourishment, alleviates stiffness and fatigue in the body
- Relaxing to the entire body and de-stresses the mind
- Promotes healthy bone and muscle growth
- Anti- aging
- Increases the blood circulation and stimulation of the internal organs
- Brings vitality, balance and restful sleep patterns
How to perform Abhyanga
It is best to warm up the oils before applying as it increases the absorption of the oil easily and its well suited for the body as well. For warming the oil use a hot water bath and place the bottle with lid closed into it for some time and start the Abhyanga massage.
- Start by using the oils of your choice on the face and scalp, paying particular attention to the ears. Workout the tension areas by gently focusing on the area and saying positive affirmations. Slow, gentle strokes are preferable in the neck, face and ear area.
- Now massage with long firm strokes towards the arms, paying particular attention to the hands and fingers. Use long strokes towards the shoulders, paying particular attention to your wrists, elbows and shoulders, using circular motions over the joints.
- Next massage in circular motion on the chest and breast area. In females, lift the breasts up by giving them a gentle support and then apply gentle circular strokes.
- Slowly shift your attention to the abdominal area. Put 3-4 drops of warm massage oil into the belly button and massage in a circular clockwise motion over the belly button area with gentle pressure. Then focus on the upper abdomen and lower abdomen with big circular motion strokes using your palms.
- Move to the back of the body, the back is somewhat more awkward but do what you can reach – use the backs of your hands to cover more area. Use upward moving strokes from your buttock/hip area.
- Now focusing on the lower body area, apply long strokes which are towards the heart several times. For each joint apply the warm oil in a circular motion to the back and the front of the joint area.
- Take warm oil and apply to the feet and start to move towards the ankle. Work your oil into your feet using circular motions. You can sit on a chair and then massage the feet gently. For even greater therapeutic effects a few drops of essential oil may be added to your massage oil.
- It is beneficial to keep the oil on the skin for at least twenty minutes before showering. Water should be warm rather than hot and soap should be used sparingly to allow a residue of oil to remain on the skin.
I hope this blog gives you a detailed explanation of this ancient Ayurvedic ritual. Let me know in the comments below of how you enjoyed performing this Abhyanga ritual.
Hemaveda offers customized blends of Dosha oil which are highly medicinal, anti -bacterial, anti-inflammatory, anti-carcinogenic and antioxidant properties.