Ayurvedic Self-Massage: (Abhyanga)

Abhyanga oil massage as a good alternative for hand soap

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)

Full article on the many benefits of an Ayurvedic massage.

Oils Used

  • 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.

The Power of Medicated / Herbalised Oil

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.

Dylan cooking herbs into a medicated oil before straining.

How to Perform Self-Abhyanga

8 Comments

  1. Self Abhyanga has been such a beautiful way to start the day in stillness, with good intent and love for self. Thanks Dylan

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