What is Abhyanga Massage Therapy and what are its 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, trimmed body parts and becomes strong, charming and least affected by old age.” Charaka Samhita Vol. 1, V: 88-89.
If you have ever consulted or visited an ayurvedic practitioner, chances are you must have heard the term Abhyanga. Abhyanga Massage Therapy is a special type of Ayurvedic warm oil massage treatment that involves anointing oneself with warm ayurvedic oils specialized to balance the dosha of the person.
Abhyanga is Sanskrit Means Massages Directed towards the Limbs. It’s the combination of two Sanskrit words “Abhi” Meaning Towards or into and “Anga” meaning limbs. Ayurveda recommends the Abhyanga as a part of daily routine or dinacharya.
In Ayurveda, abhyanga is type of bahya snehana and is considered as important as how important “early to bed, early to rise” is. Daily massage therapies with medicated oils helps balance dosha, promotes good health and longevity of life.
Purpose & Importance of Abhyanga
Abhyanga is a four hand synchronized warm ayurvedic oil massage in specific directions in the body with special manoeuvres according to the dosha and body constitution of the person. Massages for and against the direction of flow can create multiple effects. For e.g, massaging opposite to arrector pili muscle can stir the sense and massaging in line can create a more relaxing effect. Abhyanga Massage Therapy with the help of special oils relieves the cells and tissues from pain, stiffness and rejuvenates the system.
Abhyanga Massage Therapy Benefits
Abhyanga has been practised from centuries and its therapies have been perfectly written into ancient Ayurveda texts. Abhyanga has many benefits. Listing some of the major benefits we can get from a full-routine abhyanga massage therapy.
Increased circulation in the Body
The therapy causes an increase in effective circulation of blood in the entire system. This effective circulation helps stimulate the senses and activate internal processes. It strengthens immunity and mental alertness.
Calming for the nerves
Abhyanga calms and rejuvenates the senses. It helps maintain peace and tranquility by appeasing the senses. Abhyanga works on specific energy points or marmas in the body .The effect multiples itself when done on a regular basis. Abhyanga can very efficiently quell your anger & anxiety.
Lubrication of the joints
Scientifically abhyanga has been proven to reduce joint problems like osteoarthritis or sandhi vata. Abhyanga with special oils in the joints reduces pain and inflammation. Abhyanga causes remobilization of stiff cells around the joints.
Increased mental alertness
Increased effective circulation causes reduced B.P and increased metabolites in the body. Abhyanga boosts the metabolism, helps rejuvenate skin and smoothens the general functioning of the body. Abhyanga also improves the effective oxygen intake by the cells. This helps the general functioning of the body.
Improved elimination of impurities from the body
The Medicated Oils in Abhyanga helps in eliminating wastes from the body. Abhyanga Massage Therapy also helps reduce weight as the medicated oil acts as a fat burner and gets rid of excess fat in the skin.
Better, deeper sleep at night
Abhyanga before going to bed, revitalize and conciliate the cells. The warm oil massage heals, calms the cells and ends the ruction in sleeping cycle.
Abhyanga Massage Therapy Steps
Abhyanga forms a full body herbal oil treatment from head to toe. Abhyanga at Maharishi Ayurveda is a three step process starting with Shiro Abhyanga (Head Massage Therapy), Shahir Abhyanga (Body Massage Therapy) & Pad Abhyanga (Foot Massage).
Shiro abhyanga is a head massage therapy for stress management and deep relaxation. Shiro Abhyanga essentially is a complete massage with warm medicated oils covering the head, neck, and shoulders.
- Strengthens Central Nervous System
- Stimulates Hair Growth
- Softens pain, sinuses, migraines, stress and anxieties
- Supports better vision by reducing eye strain
- Suppress the frequent occurrence of diseases pertaining to mind and sense organs.
- Slows Premature Greying of Hairs
- Stops dryness and itching in scalps.
The body is massaged in sections with varying pressures using herbal oils to help proper movement of blood & body fluids. This technique actuates relaxation, strengthens the body and relieves pain.
In Maharishi Ayurveda , Abhyanga is done in five distinct positions with long flowing strokes
- Sitting upright with knees extended
- Supine Position
- Left Lateral Position
- Right Lateral position
- Prone Position
The Massage with varying pressures and pace applied to the neck, abdomen, face, arms, trunk, laterals of trunk, back & the legs. The massage lasts for 30 minutes. After Massage, rest is advised for 15 minutes and it is followed by a warm water bath.
- Strengthens the immune system & blood circulation
- Softens and nourishes the skin and tissues by removing excess toxins
- Supports relieving pains from targeted regions like back, joints, etc
- Suppress stress, anxiety, depression and other related disorders
- Stimulates Cell Growth and Healings
Also known as Ayurvedic Foot Massage is of particular importance in Ayurveda. In Ayurveda, ‘Pada’ which means feet is one of the five faculties of action (karmendriya).
Linear and Circular Massage from knee to feet with medicated oil in varying pressure and tempo. Pad Abhyangam follows special circular and linear maneuvers to create pulsating effects through nerve stimulations. Thumb poking at specific marma points also activates natural sensory responses.
- Supports good eyesight and hearing
- Strengthens Immune System through acupressure
- Stops cracks in the foot and cures fissures
- Smoothens the contraction of ligaments, vessels and muscles of the feet
Abhyanga and Marma
A thing to notice in the abhyanga massage therapy is the inclusion of marma points or the energy points in the body. These are comparable to the acupuncture points and are capable to manipulate the inner energy of the body. Marma points are found in locations where tendons, muscles, bones, joints, nerves, and other tissues meet. Each marma point corresponds to a specific function and abhyanga identifies and reconditions those points.
Abhyanga Marma Therapy
Marma means something which is hidden or secret. According to Ayurveda, there are 107 marma points in the body. As mentioned earlier, each one is unique and carries a specific function. A complete marma massage therapy gives complete satisfaction to the mind & the body. Abhyanga Special Herbal Oil is applied over the body and is massaged at these marmas with unique manoeuvres to promote healing, release toxins and get a balanced state of mind.
Abhyanga Massage therapy is both therapeutic and relaxing in nature. It is also given as a part of purvakarma in panchakarma treatments. It releases tension, nourishes and rejuvenates cells for a mind-body balance. To get authenctic ayurvedic abhyanga massage therapy experience, kindly book an appointment at ayurveda panchakarma treatments.