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Ayurvedic Massage - Abhyanga

Rolled towels, a bowl of massage oil and a massage brush on a table.

Abhyanga, also termed as ayurvedic self massage, is a traditional massage done with warm oil. You can do it yourself, use a partner or have it done by a therapist. Regardless of the method used, it has numerous health benefits. The researchers found that, after the massage, the participants’ subjective stress levels and heart rate decreased. Massage is known to have therapeutic effects and Abhyanga is no different. It is better than your typical massage because it focuses on different body types and uses warm oil which has better absorption than cold or even room temperature oil. Before we discuss how to do it, let’s discuss the oil component of it. 

In Ayurveda, we believe different oils benefit different body types, for example: 

Castor oil - Vata balancing

Sesame, Coconut oil - Pitta balancing

Apricot, Grapeseed oil - Kapha balancing 

Almond oil - Tridoshic or suitable for all 3 body types

How to Do an Ayurvedic Self-Massage:

  1. Warm the oil and start by putting a drop on your inner wrist, oil should be comfortably warm and not hot.
  2. First, apply the warmed oil to the crown of your head and work towards the scalp and face in a circular motion. Pay special attention to your ear lobes as this is where we have many nerve endings.
  3. Next, move to your limbs. Use long strokes for hands and feet and follow the circular pattern again at the abdomen area. If possible, close your eyes and follow the hand motion. 
  4. When you reach the feet, pay special attention again, as this is another location where we have many nerve endings. You should use pressure for the heel and bottom of the foot. 
  5. Once you are done with this massage routine, stay in a warm room for 10 minutes and then take a soothing warm shower.

Note: Your body should be towel dried but not rubbed vigorously after this, as it rips off the moisture from the skin.

Enjoy the feeling of having nourished your body, mind and spirit, and carry that with you throughout your day.

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