After a long week of work, the best way to rejuvenate is to get a massage; but not just any massage – an ayurvedic body massage to relieve stress and get radiant skin to tackle the next week!
Ayurveda has blessed the world with many gifts when it comes to holistic care. One of these important gifts is Abhyanga. Abhyanga is an ayurvedic holistic healing massage therapy and not a conventional massage with innumerable health benefits. Abhyanga is comprised of two words ‘abhi’ and ‘anga’, meaning ‘towards’ and ‘movement’, respectively. Ayurvedic self-massage is about using oil in continuous movements over your body, focusing on the body’s energy points or Marma. It is considered that there is no better expression of self-love like slathering ourselves from head to toe with warm, Ayurvedic oil. Similar to the experience of being loved, the practice nourishes the body, reinstates the balance of doshas and improves one’s well-being and longevity. You can do an Ayurvedic self-massage regularly using a herbal oil to feel relaxed, nourish your skin, and strengthen muscles and bones.
Massages in Ayurveda are done using herbal oil to provide health benefits. You can use a herbal oil to improve skin health that when massaged on to the skin nourishes the skin. If you have muscle pain or aches, then you can use an oil that has ingredients to provide relief from pain. This oil can be massaged on the area affected. The reason why massage is recommended is that massaging helps the oil to penetrate through the skin into the tissues. The herbs thus reach the tissues where they can work more effectively. The Ayurvedic oil used is referred to as Sneha. This the Sanskrit phrase for oil. Sneha also means affection and love. It is loving care during an oil massage.
How to make Ayurvedic Body Massage oil at Home?
Receiving abhyanga from a trained massage therapist can be a relaxing experience. However, it’s also possible to enjoy abhyanga as a self-massage. This lets you enjoy the massage whenever it’s convenient for you. During abhyanga, you’ll need to wear minimal clothing or wrap a towel around your body.
Sesame Seed Oil (50% of the total amount suggested)
Mustard Oil (25%)
Almond Oil (25%)
- Mix the given oils in the right quantity.
- You can store this self-made body oil in an air tight jar, in a cool and dry place.
- While choosing the oils, it is very important to make sure that they are cold-pressed.
- This blend should be used as a weekly or bi weekly ritual by heating the oil blend in a double boiler set up and then applying in soft strokes towards the heart followed by a warm bath after half an hour.
Nourishing, calming, and warming, sesame oil is one of Ayurveda’s most popular oils for self-massage. According to Ayurveda, the sesame seed is sweet, pungent, astringent, and bitter, with a heating effect. Its warm, oily qualities can be especially balancing for vata dosha, which can often experience excess dryness when out of balance. The heating nature of sesame can also be good for kapha, though you must be careful in cases of excess kapha as it is also heavy and building. Mustard oil can help radically improve blood circulation in the body. This way, the joint and muscle pains keep at bay during the dry and cold winter. Mustard oil is inherently warm. Massaging with the oil can help not only warm up the body but retain the body heat inside. Sweet almond oil contains many nutrients good for the skin, including vitamins, minerals, fatty acids, and antioxidants. Therefore, the oil may help soothe and hydrate skin and hair. Some people also use it to reduce the appearance of scars, stretch marks, and wrinkles and to treat skin conditions.
Benefits of Ayurvedic Body Massage
1. Improves Skin Health
Massaging the skin increases blood flow to all parts, and reduces cellulite and wrinkles. Massaging the skin with the right kind of oil also tackles scars and hyperpigmentation, improving the complexion of the skin and giving it that beautiful glow. Self-massage is an excellent anti-ageing technique, as dull skin looks more youthful and vibrant. Besides repairing the skin and making it softer, abhyanga also protects the skin from external elements like harsh weather or environmental pollutants.
2. Calms Nerves and Promotes Deeper and Better Sleep
The sensation of Ayurvedic massage is deeply nourishing to your brain, nervous system, mind, soul, skin and joints. It replaces your anxieties with a sense of calmness and contentment. The oils used in the Ayurvedic massage is heavy, stable, warm, calm, and grounding- all the qualities of sound sleep. The massage will help you fall asleep and stay asleep all night long.
3. Improves blood circulation and stimulates internal organs:
Ayurvedic Massage stimulates blood circulation encouraging quick removal of metabolic wastes and providing instant relief to diseases and energy and stamina to last throughout the day. An unsung benefit of Abhyanga is its ability to stimulate and nourish internal organs. The massage helps in tuning up the functioning of the organs and optimizes the body’s ability to flush out toxins. It also revitalizes and energizes the cells of the body.
4. Detoxifies the body
The warm medicated oils used in Ayurvedic massages deeply penetrate cells and release physical, mental and spiritual toxins from our body, hence detoxifying our body from head to toe, inside out. The oils, herbs and massage should be chosen and customized to suit your body type and doshas, enabling you to precipitate the stored-up toxins and promoting self-healing of cells.
5. Relieves Pain
Massage helps lubricate the joints, making them move easier, thus reducing pain. It promotes self-healing in the body, reducing inflammation. Studies have shown that performing abhyanga greatly improves symptoms associated with osteoarthritis in women. Studies have shown how gentle massage reduces pain due to chronic illnesses like arthritis or fibromyalgia by as much as 54%.
How to Use Ayurvedic Body Massage Oil for Different Skin Types
Here’s the general technique of an abhyanga self-massage:
- Pour 1/2 cup oil in a clean, empty jar. Put the jar in a pot of hot water until the oil is warm.
- Apply the oil to your whole body, including the top of your head. Massage the oil into your scalp, moving in circular motions.
- Continue to your forehead, ears, cheeks, and jaws.
- Massage your chest and abdomen, moving in clockwise and circular strokes. On your trunk, massage inward along your ribs.
- Continue to your back and butt. Massage in straight, long motions on your arms and legs. Move in circular motions on your joints.
- Massage your feet, including your toes and soles.
- Relax for 30 minutes to let your skin absorb the oil.
- Take a warm bath or shower. Use a gentle natural cleanser to remove the oil.
Through self-massage or abhyanga, you pay attention to every part of your body, so you are immediately aware if you notice anything different. It results in renewed appreciation of your body and yourself, and also increases mindfulness – a valuable thing in busy times. Abhyanga is not recommended during menstruation or any kind of illness. It is also not recommended during pregnancy or if any part of the body is injured or the skin is broken. By doing it correctly and at the correct time, you can experience the luxury of massage within your own home, and enjoy it as a special ritual exclusively for yourself.