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Express self-love and self-respect by lovingly anointing yourself from head to toe with warm oil. This practice is called Abhyanga.
A daily Abhyanga practice restores the balance of all biological agents in and enhances well-being and longevity.
Abhyanga especially enhances lymphatic drainage, blood circulation, feeds the microbiome living on your skin and most notably, pacifies the nervous system.
Your skin is your largest organ plus it has more nerve endings than any other part of your body. So when you anoint oil on those nerve endings and massage them, it helps ground and strengthen the nervous system.
A daily Abhyanga practice restores the balance of the doshas and enhances well-being and longevity. Regular Abhyanga is especially grounding and relaxing for the Vata dosha, but everyone substantially benefits from this practice.
“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 (One of the Great ancient texts of Ayurveda)
- Sesame oil in winter/cold climate
- Coconut oil in summer or for those with sensitive skin.
- You can also use other oils like almond and macadamia, or whatever is locally grown to you, but the former two are primarily recommended by Ayurveda.
- If you can get your hands on an Ayurvedic medicated massage oil that is suitable for you, that will be beneficial.
- Warm up your massage oil. This will increase the effect and nourishing quality as the oil can penetrate deeper into the skin and tissues.
Medicated or herbalised oils are created when herbs are cooked into certain oils. This is different to just adding essentials oils to a base oil, which is not really an Ayurvedic medicated oil.
When the oil becomes medicated, it becomes a “nano-medicine” which has the ability to enter the body on a deep level (suksma karma).
Initially, it enters through the skin, then all the 13 Agnis (metabolic fires in the body) digest their particles from the herbalised oil and become stronger. As the skin metabolises the oil, every element, dosha, and tissue in our body is fortified through Abhyanga because it feeds, nourishes and strengthens the skin.
- The main purpose of the strokes is to soothe and stimulate the tissues gently and pacify the nervous system. This also has an affect via the connections the skin has to all the inner organs and systems.
- Be gentle, not to deep or strong. Studies show light touch is more effective than deep pressure massage for the nervous system.(1)
How Long to Leave the Oil On For
- Aim to leave to oil on for at least 10-20 mins, and up to 45 mins (this time is ideal) at the most. Minimum time to leave the oil on for is 8 minutes for the abhyanga to have its true effect.
- While you wait in between your abhyanga and washing it, you can do activities like meditate, yoga, exercise, read, prepare breakfast, clean the house, any activity that won’t get anything too oily.
- Washing oil off or bathing – It is important to wash or wipe off the oil afterwards so that the toxins that have been pulled out by the massage(2) are not reabsorbed. For this reason, leave the oil on for no longer than 1 hour.
When Abhyanga is Contraindicated
- If you are sick with fever or cold
- If you menstruating, when you are menstruating
- During first trimester of pregnancy
Audio in-person instruction as you do, via our Dinacarya course (Ayurvedic daily routine) on our Insight Timer Profile.
Enjoy the nourishment you endow to your nervous system and the shield of armour you gain against stressors.
Dylan Smith (founder of Vital Veda) will impregnate rare and precious Raju family herbs into organic oils in a cultivated and attentive process that is coordinated with the cycles of the sun and moon.
This ensures safety and enhances a divine potency, and is one of the factors that make our treatments profoundly effective and treasured by so many.
- *Altern Ther Health Med. 2012;18;960;11-18