Top Benefits of Abhyanga-Ayurvedic Self-Massage
The practice of anointing yourself from head to toe with warm oil is called Abhyanga. It is one of the greatest expression of self-love. Abhyanga also gives a deep feeling of stability and warmth. Practicing Abhyanga daily helps in restoring the balance of the doshas (energies) and it enhances longevity and well being.
In our ancient Ayurvedic text, Charaka Samhita, it has been said that the person who does oil massage regularly is not affected much even if subjected to accidental injuries, or strenuous work. One who does oil massage on a daily basis is endowed with pleasant touch, trimmed body parts and becomes strong, charming and least affected by old age.
(Vol. 1, V: 88-89, Charaka Samhita )
What are the benefits of Abhyanga?
- Abhyanga nourishes the whole body and reduces the effects of aging.
- It tones the muscles and imparts vigour to the tissues of then body.
- It provides firmness to the limbs.
- It lubricates the joints.
- It helps in increasing the circulation of blood.
- It helps in stimulating the body’s internal organs.
- It helps in elimination of the body’s impurities.
- It assists detoxification
- It is helpful in increasing stamina.
- It helps in calming the nerves.
- It provides better and deeper sleep.
- It improves vision.
- Abhangya helps scalp hair in growing luxuriantly thick, glossy and soft.
- It helps in softening and smoothening skin and reducing wrinkles at the same time.
- It soothes Vata and Pitta and stimulates Kapha. (Vata, Pitta and Kapha are the 3 doshas or main energies).
A little about Vata, Pitta and Kapha Doshas
‘Doshas’ are biological energies that are found in the human body and mind. They rule mental and physical processes. The doshas are composed of the 5 elements.
Vata is composed of space and air.
Pitta is composed and fire and water
Kapha is composed of earth and water.
This was just a glimpse of doshas. There is a lot more to them.
Choosing the oil for Abhyanga based on the doshas:
- Vata Dosha: Use sesame oil, almond oil 4 to 5 times a week.
- Pitta Dosha: Use coconut oil, sunflower oil 3-4 times a week.
- Kapha Dosha: Use safflower oil 1-2 times a week.
- Oil good for all the three doshas: Jojoba oil
How to do self massage?
- Warm ¼ cup of oil and check the temperature by putting a drop on your wrist. The oil should not be hot but comfortably warm.
- Stand or sit in a warm room comfortably.
- Apply oil on the crown of the head and work slowly out in circular motions from there. Take a few minutes to massage the entire scalp. The scalp is home to points of concentrated vital energy.
- Coming the face, massage the temples, forehead, cheeks and jaws in circular motion. Do massage your ear lobes as it has points of concentrated vital energy and nerve endings.
- On the arms and legs use long strokes and on the joints use circular strokes. Massage always in the direction of your heart.
- Massage the chest and abdomen in broad, circular, clockwise motions. On the abdomen, massage by following the path of the large intestine. Move up on the right side of the abdomen, then move across and then come down on the left side.
- Complete the massage by spending a couple of minutes massaging your feet. Feet have nerve endings of essential organs and vital marma points (points of concentrated vital energy), this make them as essential part of the body.
- Sit for 5 to 15 minutes with the oil so that it gets absorbed and enters the deeper layers of the skin.
- Take a warm water bath and use a mild soap. Don’t rub the body vigourously.
- After the bath, towel dry gently and blot the towel instead of rubbing it with vigour.
Your mind, body and spirit will feel nourished!
Are you going to try Abhyanga?
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