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How can a ritual so luxuriously relaxing, so blissfully comforting as a full-body warm oil

massage rev up your body and mind, gearing them up for peak performance? Ayurveda,
the 5,000-year-old holistic healing tradition from India, has an explanation for the
seeming contradiction. Accumulated stress and toxins in the mind and body dissolve
during the daily massage, says Rama Kant Mishra, Ayurvedic expert.
A daily full-body warm oil massage therefore acts as a powerful recharger and
rejuvenator of mind and body.
Abhyanga - the Ayurvedic oil massage - is an integral part of the daily routine
recommended by this healing system for overall health and well-being. Traditional
Ayurvedic texts wax eloquent on the benefits. Here's what one says - Give yourself a full
body oil massage on a daily basis. It is nourishing, pacifies Vata and Kapha, relieves
fatigue, provides stamina, pleasure and perfect sleep, enhances the complexion and the
luster of the skin, promotes longevity and nourishes all parts of the body. When the
views expressed in the different Ayurvedic texts are put together, here are the benefits
that can be expected from regular performance of this pleasant daily ritual:

Increased circulation, especially to nerve endings

Toning of the muscles and the whole physiology

Calming for the nerves

Lubrication of the joints

Increased mental alertness

Improved elimination of impurities from the body

Softer, smoother skin

Increased levels of stamina through the day

Better, deeper sleep at night

The Ayurvedic massage is traditionally performed in the morning, before your bath or
shower. You can use cured sesame oil, an herbalized massage oil, or an aroma
massage oil.
If you choose sesame oil, look for cold-pressed, chemical-free organic sesame oil for the
best results from your massage therapy. To cure or purify the sesame oil, heat the oil to
212 degrees Fahrenheit. Remove from heat once this temperature is reached, cool and
store for use as needed. Up to a quart of oil can be cured at a time. Of course, you
should observe safety precautions when curing oil. All oils are highly flammable. Use low
heat, and don't leave the oil on heat unattended. You can look for professionally cured
sesame oil at stores that sell Ayurvedic products if you'd rather not do the curing
Healing Herbs

Healing herbs are important in Ayurveda. Herbalized massage oils contain a blend of
carefully chosen herbs known for their ability to strengthen the physiology and balance
the mind. So the daily massage with an herbalized massage oil has twice the beneficial
power - the benefits from the massage and the wisdom of the herbs. Country Mallow,
Winter Cherry and Sensitive Plant are some Ayurvedic herbs you'll find in herbalized
massage oils. Country Mallow is renowned for its nourishing effect on the physiology.
Winter Cherry, a powerful adaptogenic, aids the body's natural ability to withstand stress,
and helps balance the mind and emotions. Sensitive Plant helps nerve regeneration.
Aroma massage oils also deliver double the benefit - the healing aromas in the massage
oil blend, if properly chosen, are particularly effective in balancing the mind and emotions
while the act of the massage works on both body and mind. Ayurveda recommends
different base oils and aroma blends depending on what you are attempting to balance.
Coconut oil, for example, is a cooling base oil. When combined with a relaxing aroma oil
such as lavender, this massage oil will be effective in cooling down the mind, body and
emotions. Sweet Orange or Geranium Rose aroma oils are fragrant and relaxing, Basil
or Rosemary are vibrant pick-me-ups. If you have a favorite aroma oil or blend, try
making your own aroma massage oil by adding 5-10 drops of the essential oil or blend in
4 fl. oz. of the base oil. Almond oil, a light olive oil or jojoba oil can all work as base oils.
Abhyanga Massage Instructions
Use comfortably warm massage oil. Store your massage oil in a plastic flip-top and warm
it by holding the container under running hot water for a few minutes.

Dip your fingertips into the warm oil and apply it lightly to the entire body.

Wait for 4-5 minutes to let some of the oil be absorbed by your skin.

Massage the entire body, applying even pressure with the whole hand - palm
and fingers.

Apply light pressure on sensitive areas such as the abdomen or the heart.

Use more oil and spend more time where nerve endings are concentrated,
such as the soles of feet, palms of hands and along the base of the
fingernails. Circular motions over rounded areas such as your head or joints, and
straight strokes on straight areas such as your arms and legs, work best.

After you're done, relax for 10-15 minutes, allowing the oil and the massage do

their magic. Follow with a relaxing warm bath or shower.

If your schedule doesn't allow for a daily massage, try and squeeze it in at least 3 or 4
times a week. You'll find it's worth it!
Learn about more bodywork therapies
Abhyanga is an ancient Indian Ayurvedic oil massage therapy for healing and
detoxifying Body, Mind and Spirit. This ayurvedic detox and stress reduction therapy
is performed by herbal oils. It incorporates an aromatic combination of oils prepared with herbs
warmed and blended to yourDosha type. A variety of Ayurvedic techniques is applied to work along
the energy channels of your body in a synchronized manner to restore the flow of vital energy,
Prana, where it has become blocked. Lymphatic stimulation with ayurvedic herbal oils help squeeze
out toxic accumulation from channels. Hence it is DETOXIFYING massage. Warm oil is the best
remedy for Vata which is governing energy for healthy body and mind, Abhyanga oil massage
initiates deep healing within cells. Hence it is one of the most popular therapy in Ayurveda
Body work treatments.
Abhyanga includes

Indian scalp and head oil massage,

neck and shoulder oil massage,

feet and legs oil massage,

hands and palm oil massage,

back massage and

belly massage with oils.

The session ends with steam therapy.

Please note : Abhyanga Herbal Oil Massage Therapy is NOT a massage

therapy. It differs from Western massage.
Ayurvedic oil Massage therapy is a holistic healing and complementary medicine
program and NOT a conventional massage, oils are applied to detox physical toxins, mental
toxins and emotional toxins and also for pacifying aggravated vata dosha (due to hectic and
stressful lifestyle and improper foods/food habits) which is the root cause of imbalance, also it
helps relieve stress.
Abhyanga is an Ayurvedic external therapy where one or two therapists (signature therapy) use
aromatic herbal oils. It is a holistic treatment also meant to nourish the body with healing
touch and warmed oil, and certainly promotes healthy circulation and joints. This treatment is very
balancing and is excellent for detoxifying toxins in your body.

Ayurveda massage therapy is NOT only a muscle work but the approach is CELLULAR.
Warm oils deeply penetrate cells and release physical, mental and spiritual toxins, hence
it is detoxifying as well as healing CELLULAR therapy. Hence the stress is removed from
the root place thus it promotes self healing of cells.
Every oil therapy uses USDA organic oils and herbs which are carefully selected and customized for
you. These herbal infused oils focus on detoxifying your body and eliminating the stored-up cellular
waste which precipitate disease.

Benefits of Abhyanga

Nourishes mind and body

Rejuvenates the whole body

Increases longevity

Delays aging

Relives fatigue

Builds stamina

Promotes deeper sleep

Enhances complexion and luster of skin.

Cleans your body (detoxify)

Helps you avoid stress and enjoy a brightness of the senses (Balance body, mind and soul.)

Prevents stiffness of muscles

Corrects digestion and blood pressure and enjoy better sleep

Mind (Avoid bad thoughts and feel happy)

Soul (Only a sound body can bear a good soul)

"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, trimmed body

parts and becomes strong, charming and least

affected by old age."
- Charaka Samhita Vol. 1, V: 88-89
Abhyanga is the anointing of the body with oil. Often medicated and
usually warm, the oil is massaged into the entire body before bathing. For
thousands of years, people have used abhyanga to maintain health,
benefit sleep patterns, increase longevity. It has also been used as a
medicine for certain disorders. Abhyanga can be incorporated into a
routine appropriate for almost anyone.
The Sanskrit word sneha can be translated as both "oil" and "love". It is
believed that the effects of abhyanga are similar to those received when
one is saturated with love. Like the experience of being loved, abhyanga
can give a deep feeling of stability and warmth. Sneha is subtle; this
allows the oil/love to pass through minute channels in the body and
penetrate deep layers of tissue.
In Ayurveda, it is believed that there are seven layers of tissue in the body
(called dhatus). Each successive layer is more concentrated and lifegiving. For sneha to reach the deepest layer, it is believed that it must be
massaged into the body for 800 matras, roughly five minutes. To give this
kind of attention to your entire body, you may need about fifteen-minutes.
Considering the benefits that have been gained by people for thousands
of years, fifteen-minutes per day is a minimal amount of time.

Benefits of Abhyanga (applying oil

to the body)
(Outlined in: Charaka Samhita, Sushruta Samhita and Ashtanga Hrdayam)

Produces softness, strength and color to the body

Decreases the effects of aging

Bestows good vision

Nourishes the body

Increases longevity

Benefits sleep patterns

Benefits skin

Strengthens the body's tolerance

Imparts a firmness to the limbs

Imparts tone and vigor to the dhatus (tissues) of the body

Stimulates the internal organs of the body, including circulation

Pacifies Vata and Pitta and Harmonizes Kapha

Benefits of applying oil to the scalp

(Murdha taila):

Makes hair grow luxuriantly, thick, soft and glossy

Soothes and invigorates the sense organs

Removes facial wrinkles

Benefits of applying oil to the ears (Karna


Benefits disorders in the ear which are due to increased Vata

Benefits stiff neck

Benefits stiffness in the jaw

Benefits of applying oil to the feet


Coarseness, stiffness, roughness, fatigue and numbness of the feet are


Strength and firmness of the feet is attained

Vision is enhanced

Vata is pacified

Sciatica is benefited

Local veins and ligaments are benefited

Vata Pacifying Abhyanga:

The primary qualities of vata are dry, light, cool, rough, subtle and mobile.
Most of these qualities are opposite to those of oil. This is why warm oil is
especially good for pacifying vata. If your vata is high, either in your
Prakriti or Vikriti, doing abhyanga daily can be highly beneficial, even lifechanging.
Sushruta says,

"The deranged vayu [vata] of the body is

restored to its normal condition by the
help of Udvartana (massage)."
(Sushruta Vol.2, 24:28)
Just be sure to do the abhyanga in a warm place and avoid getting chilled

Abhyanga Routine:
"By using oil massage daily, a person is
endowed with pleasant touch, trimmed
body parts and becomes strong, charming
and least affected by old age."
- Charaka Samhita Vol. 1, V: 88-89

Put about cup oil in a squeeze bottle.

Place the bottle of oil in a pan of hot water until the oil is pleasantly warm.

Sit or stand comfortably in a warm room, on a towel that you don't mind
ruining with oil accumulation. Make sure you're protected from any drafts.

Lovingly and patiently massage the oil into your entire body for about 15
minutes, beginning at the extremities and working toward the middle of the
body. Use long strokes on the limbs and circular strokes on the joints. Massage
the abdomen and chest in broad, clockwise, circular motions.

Apply oil to the crown of your head and work slowly out from there in
circular strokes. Oil applied to the head should be warm but not hot.

Put a couple drops of warm oil on the tip of your little finger or on a cotton
ball and apply to the opening of the ear canal. (If there is any current or chronic
discomfort in the ears don't do this without the recommendation of your health
care practitioner).

Be sure to wash your feet off before entering the shower.

After you've massaged your entire body, enjoy a warm bath or shower.

Remove the oil with a gentle soap.

When you get out of the shower, towel dry. Keep a special towel for drying
off after your massage because it can eventually get ruined, due to the
accumulation of oil.