Ayurvedic Abhyanga (Massage)
What is Abhyanga?
Abhyanga is highly suggested in Ayurveda. It is one of the absolute most important healing practices one can consolidate into their everyday routine to keep up a healthy body. Abhyanga involves application of oil to the body. This therapy includes massage of the body with a lot of warm oil precured with herbs for particular conditions.
The oil used for massage and the type of strokes depend on various factors. In Abhyanga, warm oil is applied to the body. Oil is warmed to specific temperature usually by placing in a warm water bath. The warm oil is begun by applying it on the head and gently massaging the oil on the scalp. Oil is then applied to the face, neck and ears. Little oil is applied to the body and massaged usually in the direction of the hair follicles. This allows the oil to cover uniformly over the body. Limbs are massaged with long strokes. Joints are particularly focused by applying oil with circular motion. Oil is applied on the back starting from the base of the spine and then upwards in long strokes. Feet is then massaged with the oil. The pressure points on the feet (marmas) are massaged well. After the Abhyanga, the individual is allowed to sit for a while for absorption of oil by the skin.
Abhyanga can be a part of panchakarma treatment, particularly in the primary stage Purva Karma (pre-treatment), or can be performed separately. It is followed by Swedana i.e., steam therapy, yoga or laying out in the sun. Commonly Abhyanga is performed by two or more massage specialists working the strokes in sync. Oils utilized depends upon the season and the constitution of the individual.
Benefits of Abhyanga:
Abhyanga increases softness and adds radiance to the skin thus giving the skin a healthy look, builds strength and stamina of the dhatus (tissues). It also enhances vision, promotes healthy sleep, reduces stress and improves circulation.