Abhyanga is the anointing and massaging of the body with Ayurvedic Herbal oils that match your constitution. Often infused with herbs and usually warm, the oil is massaged into the entire body, sometimes before bathing. It is beneficial for maintaining existing health and is used therapeutically for certain disorders.
Who Benefits From Abhyanga?
Like Shirodhara, Abhyanga is a great treatment for a compromised nervous system and relaxes the whole body. Abhyanga can help relieve symptoms of anxiety, stress, fatigue and hypertension. It relieves tension, worry, fear and headache as well as depression. It regulates mood and gives feelings of pleasure and relaxation.
Benefits of Abhyanga:
– Stimulates the lymphatic and circulatory system, stimulates internal organs,
– Clears congestion and blockages in systems,
– Loosens tight muscles, softens joints and eases joint aches and pains, increases flexibility,
– Decreases blood pressure,
– Boosts the immune system,
– Nourishes all 7 layers of tissue
– Decreases the effects of aging and promotes longevity.
Mentally, Abhyanga massage nourishes and deeply calms the nervous system which:
– Benefits sleep patterns and relieves insomnia,
– Improves memory and concentration,
– Reduces stress along with the damaging effects it has on the body,
– Clears the mind and invigorates the sense organs.
– Reduces anxiety and worry,
– Promotes a general feeling of well-being,
– Alleviates depression,
– Enhances self-worth, self-love, self-esteem,
– Promotes creative expression,
– Cultivates love and kindness.
Herbal oils specific to your constitution or current condition are especially good choices for full body massage and your practitioner will make the best choice for your constitution type or condition.
Benefits of applying oil to the scalp (murdha taila):
Makes hair grow luxurious, thick, soft and glossy
Soothes and invigorates the sense organs
Helps reduce facial wrinkles
This allows it to pass through minute channels in the body and penetrate deep layers of tissue.
Ayurveda teaches that there are seven dhatus, or layers of tissue in the body. Each is successively more concentrated and life-giving.
Benefits of applying oil to the ears (karna puran):
Benefits disorders in and of the ear that are due to increased vata
Benefits stiff neck
Benefits stiffness in the jaw
Sesame Oil is a good choice when applying oil to the ears.
Benefits of applying oil to the feet (padaghata):
Alleviates coarseness, stiffness, roughness, fatigue and numbness of the feet
Feet become strong and firm
Benefits local tissues, veins and ligaments
When NOT to Do Abhyanga
During the menstrual cycle
Massage with deep pressure during the menstrual cycle is not advised in Ayurveda, as it can initiate a release of ama (toxins) from deep tissues at a time when the body is already a bit taxed. Some women don’t like to stop abhyanga during their cycle because they have very dry skin. If you choose to do it during your cycle, it is best to apply the oil gently and for only about five minutes.
The reasoning is similar here. It is not a good idea to stimulate any sort of detox process during pregnancy. This precaution protects the growing embryo and fetus against any unnecessary exposure to ama.
Over swollen, painful areas or masses on the body
(Or do so only with the knowledge and consent of your health-care practitioner).
Over infected or broken skin
When there is high ama or great physical discomfort
A thick, white coating on the tongue often indicates high levels of ama.
During any sort of acute illness such as fever, chills, flu, or acute indigestion
Directly after taking emetics or purgatives
When you have a medical condition
(Unless our health-care practitioners say it is okay to do Abhyanga).