Abhyanga — the Ayurvedic oil massage — is an integral part of the daily routine recommended by Ayurveda for overall health and well-being. Traditional texts wax eloquent about the benefits:
"The body of one who uses oil massage regularly does not become affected much, even if subjected to accidental injuries or strenuous work. By using oil massage daily, a person is endowed with pleasant touch, strength and charm, and they are least affected by old age.” — Charaka Samhita: Sutrasthana: V: 88-89.
Sounds pretty great, eh?
OTHERS BENEFITS: Increased circulation — Reduced anxiety — Improved joint mobility & lubrication — Increased mental alertness and stamina — Better elimination — Softer, smoother skin — Deeper sleep
FUN FACTS: The Sanskrit word sneha means both “oil” and “love,” and the effects of abhyanga are similar to being saturated with love. Both experiences can give a deep feeling of stability, warmth and comfort.
- Warm about ¼-½ cup of sesame or almond oil (Vata balancing — grounding, warming)
- Use coconut or sunflower oil for Pitta balancing — heat reducing, soothing
- Use mustard, sunflower or olive oil for Kapha balancing — invigorating, warming
- Sit or stand comfortably in a warm room on a towel that you don’t mind ruining with oil accumulation.
- Apply oil generously to your entire body.
- Massage the oil into your body, beginning at the extremities and working toward the middle of your body
- Use long strokes on your limbs and circular strokes on your joints. Massage the abdomen and chest in broad, clockwise, circular motions.
- Give a little extra time and attention to massaging the oil into your scalp, ears and feet, at least once a week. Apply oil to the crown of your head and work slowly out from there in circular strokes.
- When you massage your feet, be sure to wash them first when you shower, so you don’t slip.
- Enjoy a warm bath or shower.
- Sleep well, my friend!