Ayurvedic oil massage Abhyanga is one of the most nourishing practices that have been mentioned in the Ayurvedic scriptures. If done the correct way it offers strength, longevity and pacification to the body and mind. The best thing about abhyanga is that you can do it on your own in the form of self massage, no need to go anywhere else. All it takes is 15 minutes!
In Sanskrit, word sneha has two meanings, one is ‘oil’ and another is ‘love’. It is believed that the effects of abhyanga / oil massage 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). In English they are called plasma, blood, muscle, fat, bone, marrow / nerve, and reproductive tissue. In Sanskrit, they are rasa, rakta, mamsa, medas, asthi, majja, and shukra respectively. Each successive layer is more concentrated and life-giving. For sneha/ oil to reach the deepest layer, it is believed that it must be massaged into the body for 800 matras, roughly five minutes. For an entire body massage, 15 minutes are more than enough.
Best thing about abhyanga is that you can do it on your own in the form of self massage, no need to go anywhere else. This 15 minutes of daily investment for self massage will keep your body healthy and beautiful. Abhyang or self massage is done from head to toe in proper sequence so that all the body parts will get the benefits from the massage. Here I have mentioned benefits of oil massage on different parts of the body as per the sequence of the massage.
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 Purna)
Relieves disorders in the ear which are due to increased Vata dosha.
Relieves stiff neck.
Relieves stiffness in the jaw.
Benefits of abhyanga/ oil massage to the whole body (Abhyanga)
Softens and strengthens the skin.
Decreases the effects of aging, anti-aging.
Nourishes the body.
Increases longevity/ life span.
Improves sleep patterns.
Strengthens the body’s tolerance to injuries.
Imparts a firmness to the limbs.
Imparts tone and vigor to the dhatus (tissues) of the body.
Stimulates the internal organs of the body, increases circulation.
Pacifies Vata and Pitta and Harmonizes kapha dosha.
Benefits of applying oil to the feet (Padaghata)
Coarseness (cracked heels), stiffness, roughness, fatigue and numbness in the feet is healed.
Strength and firmness of the feet increases.
Vision is enhanced.
Vata dosha is pacified.
Sciatica is benefited.
Veins and ligaments are benefited.
With this you must have understood the benefits of abhyanga/ oil massage for your body. To start performing abhyanga/ massage, one must choose an oil according to his body type or dosha, To know more about doshas (Vata, Pitta and Kapha) read my previous blog on that topic by clicking here.
In my next blog I am going to give step by step instructions on how to perform Abhyanga massage, the precautions to take while doing it. I am also going write about which oils are best for each body type or dosha. Click here to read the next part of this blog.