Massage has been proven to have many benefits for the body, including releasing tension in the muscles, supporting healthy circulation, and leaving the skin feeling replenished and hydrated. In this article, we’ll briefly discuss what abhyanga is about.
Abhyanga, the Ayurvedic practice of self-massage with oil, is an excellent way to nurture your whole being every day, and it can be done at home.
It’s the most popular massage in Ayurveda, a traditional system of medicine from India. Ayurveda focuses on maintaining health through natural practices like massage and what you eat. Oil is the central component of this practice. It is applied to the entire body, from the scalp to the soles of your feet. Choosing the right oil for you depends on your current state of balance or what they called “dosha”.
Here’s the oil recommendation based on your “dosha”:
- Vata (dry skin): Use heavy oils like almond, sesame, or avocado oil.
- Pitta (sensitive or overheated skin): Apply a neutral oil like ghee or sunflower oil.
- Kapha (oily skin): Use a light oil, such as safflower, sweet almond, or flaxseed oil. Typically, less oil is needed for kapha.
Each oil can be used by itself or blended with another oil.
Abhyanga is a profoundly nourishing and beneficial practice that is typically performed by a massage therapist or can be done in your own home every day. When you practice Ayurvedic self-massage you not only envelop your body in oil, you also wrap your body in love. This is why it is one of the most powerful self-love practices there.
Whether you’re winding down for the evening or prepping for a busy day, a self-massage can be very beneficial. Ayurveda recommends practicing self-massage with oil for 5-20 minutes.
Benefits of Doing Abhyanga Massage
Abhyanga massage benefits both your physical and mental health. Engaging in this style of massage qualifies as an act of self-care. If you develop a habit of performing self-massage, you will begin to feel improvements in your health:
- Reduced stress
- Lower blood pressure
- Improved skin health
- Reduced muscle stiffness
- Promotes lymphatic drainage
- Improved vision
- Increased energy and alertness
- Increased physical strength
- Delayed age-related changes
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