THE BENEFITS OF ABHYANGA (Oil Massage)
Abhyanga is very highly recommended in Ayurveda. It is one of the single most important practices one can incorporate into their daily routine to help maintain a healthy body. The meaning of 'Abhyanga,' is the application of oil to the body. In this article, I will discuss the procedure and the many benefits associated with Abhyanga.
Remember that the skin is the largest organ of our body. It produces naturally occurring antidepressants, anti-
• Increases the softness of the skin and adds lustre to it, in turn giving skin a healthy glow
• Decreases Vata
• Strengthens the Dhatus (the body`s tissues in accordance to the Ayurvedic texts)
• Increases strength and stamina
• Improves vision
• Promotes healthy sleep
Vata types require a warming oil like sesame or almond. It is recommended you perform Abhyanga 2-
Pitta types need a cooling type of oil, so coconut and olive oils are an excellent choice. Medium pressure should be used when massaging. Many Pitta types have inflammatory skin issues. West Coast Ayurveda provides some specific oils for use on specific ailments. Find out more at our online store.
Kapha types require a warming oil, so mustard and sunflower are excellent choices. Sesame is also a very good choice especially in cooler climates. Medium to heavy pressure is recommended and best for Kapha types as it allows the oil to deeply penetrate.
1) Warm the oils to a pleasant temperature by placing them in a warm water bath. Oil should always be applied warm to the body.
2) Start by applying the oil to your head, and gently massage the oil into your scalp using fingers and palms. Gently apply the oil to your face and neck-
3) Apply a small amount of oil to the body and rub it all over. Massage in the direction of the hair follicles allowing the oil to cover the body evenly.
4) Massage the arms and legs, paying attention to the joints and palms. Use long, even strokes along the length of the limbs in the direction in which the hair flows. When performing Abhyanga on the joints, use a circular motion.
5) Massage the back as best you can if you are doing it solo, or ask a partner to do your back for you. Start at the base of the spine and work upwards in long, continuous strokes.
6) Lastly, massage the feet. Take some time doing this as the feet contain many important Marmas (pressure points in accordance to the principles of Ayurveda). When massaging the feet, be sure to apply the oil to the entire foot, taking care to get in between the toes. Use the palms of your hands to massage the soles of your feet with a firm pressure.
After the application of oil, sit quietly for 15-
Ayurvedic massage incorporates many time-