Abhyanga massage finds its origins in the ancient Indian book of medicine and healing, Ayurveda. It is often termed as a luxuriously relaxing massage technique that utilises warm oil to get your mind and body ready for peak performance. It gets rid of the accumulated toxins and stress from your mind and body and works as a rejuvenator and recharger of sorts. Before we move any further with the Abhyanga massage, let us first discuss what Ayurvedic massages are and how they are different from massages that you may have enjoyed or heard of.
What is Ayurvedic Massage?
In simple terms, any massage that has anything to do with the traditional medicinal art of Ayurveda is an Ayurvedic massage. The requirement for a massage to be categorised as an Ayurvedic massage is not only the technique but also the medium. The medium in most of the cases is oil, which works in tandem with the technique to leave the desired impact. In addition to Ayurvedic Abhyanga massage, other Ayurvedic massages that you can expect to get at an Ayurvedic massage spa near you include Ayurvedic Poultice massage and Ayurvedic Shirodhara massage amongst others. Every one of these massages utilise a different technique and medium and serves a unique purpose. So, before you choose any one of these, make sure that you understand how they work and what objective they are used to accomplish.
What is Ayurvedic Abhyanga Massage?
The Ayurvedic Abhyanga massage is done with warm oil. You can either go to a nearby Ayurvedic massage spa to get this massage or learn to do it yourself. It involves the application of warm oil on the entire body. Ayurveda Abhyanga massage is one of the most popular massages not only because it involves natural practices to achieve optimum health but also because it can be done at home if you have properly learned its important elements from an expert. This Ayurveda massage promotes overall health and wellness by combining the central component, the oil, and the supporting component, the massage strokes. There are several benefits of Abhyanga massage – It relieves fatigue, nourishes the body and mind, improves stamina, improves sleep, promotes longevity, and enhances the quality of the skin.
How is the Abhyanga massage done?
As we already alluded to, Abhyanga massage or for that matter any other Ayurvedic massage is best left to expert massage therapists; however, you can also do it yourself. But, if you want to enjoy all the benefits that this massage technique offers, you should get in touch with an Abhyanga spa near you. There is no specific Abhyanga procedure that needs to be followed to the tee; however, you will see most massage therapists performing the following Abhyanga massage steps in the same order or a little differently:
- The first and possibly the most important step is to choose the massage oil. There are different oils available for different skin types and body temperatures.
- The therapist would then heat the oil until it becomes warm. You will be asked to undress and put on a towel.
- The massage therapist will use this warm oil to massage your body, right from the head to the toes. The massage will begin from the ears and then move on to the head before reaching other parts of the body. The therapist would use circular clockwise strokes while massaging over the abdomen and heart, and circular strokes while massaging the joints. The massage therapist will spend several minutes massaging different parts of your body and ask you to sit comfortably with the oil on your body for another 10 minutes to let it penetrate the skin. (You can ask the massage therapist to spend more time on the parts of your body you are currently having problems with).
- You will then be asked to take a shower by the massage therapist
What are the benefits of Ayurvedic Abhyanga massage?
There are many benefits that you can expect to experience after getting the traditional Indian Abhyanga massage. It helps in
- Reducing stress
- Improving skin health
- Reducing muscle stiffness
- Lowering blood pressure levels
- Promoting lymphatic drainage
- Improving vision
- Increasing strength and fitness
What oils are used in Ayurveda Abhyanga massage?
The oil that the massage therapist will use to apply to your body will entirely depend on your body type or dosha. Let us now take a look at the three body types mentioned in Ayurveda as well as the oils that are ideal to maintain balance and health in those body types.
- Dry and relatively cold skin: sesame oil, avocado oil, or almond oil.
- Warm and sensitive skin: sunflower oil or coconut oil.
- Soft and oily skin: Flaxseed oil or any other very light oil
The Abhyanga massage promotes balance and wellness like no other Ayurvedic massage does. In addition to the benefits mentioned above, this massage provides all the other benefits that you associate with any other massage, such as improved blood flow, relaxation, and general health.