Best Oils to Start Ayurvedic Body Massage + How to ABHYANGA for HEALTHY SKIN
Abhyanga, as you all know is a self ayurvedic body massage..which is one the most acclaimed Ayurvedic practice to treat many inner and outer ailments. Though we have all heard about this at one point of time in our life, we either just have tried it for a day or two and then let it go. That could be due to lack of time for your self care or may be anything. But today, along with the oils that are used for Abhyanga, I will also let you know the importance of Abhyanga in our Ayurveda and how exactly it should be done to reap maximum benefits. Because, once you start to see the benefits of Abhyanga, you will never go back. To know about best oils to Ayurvedic body massage along with its importance, read on..!
Importance of Abhyanga Ayurvedic body massage in Ayurveda
Abhyaṅga is the anointing of the body with oil. Often medicated and usually warm, the oil is massaged into the entire body before bathing. It can be beneficial for maintaining health of the skin and also used as a medicine for certain internal disorders.
Ayurveda teaches that there are seven dhātus, or layers of tissue in the body. Each is successively more concentrated and life-giving. It is taught that for the effects of oil to reach to the deepest layer, it should be massaged into the body for 800 matras, roughly five minutes. If we consider that the entire body needs this kind of attention, a 15-minute massage is a minimum amount of time to be follwed in Abhyanga.
Why you should start Abhyanga Ayurvedic Body massage from today?
There are a host of benefits from regular abhyanga, whether performed by an Ayurvedic practitioner or at home for yourself. Some of them are:
- Improved circulation, strength, vision and stamina
- Increased moisture for softer skin
- Improved texture, tone and overall skin appearance
- Strengthened bodily tissues, lubrication of internal organs, bones and joints
- Better sleep and overall health
Abhyanga relaxes and nourishes the nervous system, stimulates the agni (metabolic fire) of all the tissues in the body, stimulates circulation of blood and lymph, tones and softens the skin and underlying tissues, and makes the body strong and flexible.
Best Oils to start Abhyanga Body massage as per dosha (Ayurvedic Body Massage)
Oils can be selected based on individual constitution, imbalances and or influence of the seasons. Traditionally, sesame and coconut oil have been used in India for thousands of years for daily self-abhyanga. Today, I will list down easily available best oils to start Abyanga as per your dosha (Vata, Pitta, Kapha). Choose the one that suits your body type and start your Abhyanga. 🙂
Sesame oil – for Vata Dosha
In Ayurveda, sesame oil is valued for its medicinal properties. It is said to be good for the skin, and often used for massages as it penetrates deep into the skin to provide nourishment and helps relieve stress
Sesame oil contains antioxidant properties, and is helpful in protecting the skin from free radical damage.
Plain, untoasted Sesame Oil is considered the traditional abhyanga oil for vata dosha.
Almond oil – for Kapha Dosha
Sweet almond oil is one of the most popular massage oils among massage therapists. Extracted from almonds, sweet almond oil is pale yellow in color. It is slightly oily, which allows hands to glide easily over skin.
Sweet almond oil is absorbed fairly quickly, but not so quickly that you need to keep reapplying it.
Almond oil is also a powerful moisturizer, so it can be used on the face or body. Beyond moisturizing your skin, almond oil is a great massage oil or skin treatment. It also has powerful antifungal properties.
Ghee – for Vata/Pitta Dosha
Ghee massage is used to cure disturbances in pitta and vata. The ancient Susruta Samhita text claims ghee is good for all parts of the body, and it is the ultimate overall remedy for pitta (inflammatory) problems.
It’s no wonder than the richness of ghee is felt when doing a massage given that it strengthens and nourishes our body. Unlike other oils that require deep penetration into the skin, ghee is actually considered the ideal substance for massaging oneself.
Abhyanga with Desi Ghee is a whole new topic and I will save it for one detailed post. Subscribe to get notification for the same.
Coconut oil – for Pitta Dosha
Organic Coconut oil is rich in Vitamin E which considered skin’s best friend for bringing out young and healthy skin
Coconut oil is ideal for massages that involve short strokes and the oil doesn’t turn rancid even when you let it sit for a while on your skin.
Fractionated coconut oil is effective for massage therapy due to the fact that it is readily absorbed and tolerated by most body types
How to perform Abhyanga Ayurvedic body massage?
Self-massage does not have to be a time consuming process. A regular practice of self-abhyanga, or oil massage can benefit you both internally and externally.
At home, you can perform self-abhyanga each morning after your skin is prepped by dry brushing and ready to receive the oil’s hydration and nourishment.
-Before you massage your body, its a good practice to do dry brushing to remove any dead skin and open up pores for deeper penetration of oil that you will use for massaging your body later.
-While you dry brush your body, you can warm 2 tablespoons of any oil of your choice (according to your dosha preferably) and keep it aside.
-Now, Gently but firmly, massage your body all over. Massage each part of your body in the direction towards your heart. Don’t forget fingers and toes, and pay extra attention to the soles of your feet, as they contain all the nerve endings and important marma points, or conjunctions of prana, life force energy.
-Let the oil sit in for about 10-15 minutes. You can have a cup of tea or meditate meanwhile. Later, you can rinse your body well with mild soap or any herbal bath powder.
You can practice self-abhyanga daily, though you’ll receive wonderful benefits even from practicing it just a 2-3 times a week.
Knowing these amazing benefits of Abhyanga practice, i guess no one wants to let go it without at least trying it for a week. Start your Abhyanga massage from today and see the wonders for yourself. Self love and self care is never a waste or time. Trust me. 🙂