Abhyanga - say whaaat?
Abhyanga is a traditional Ayurvedic therapy, which involves massage of the body with large amounts of warm, medicated oils to the body, to soothe and nourish the body at the deepest cellular level through the skin, the largest organ.
Abhyanga uses the skin as a conduit to transport medicine and herbs into the body to detoxify, clean, purify and rebalance the body’s natural harmony. In Ayurveda there are seven dhatus or layers of tissue in the body, abhyanga massage is one of the most effective methods for absorbing the medicinal properties of the oil into the body, promoting a state of good health.
During abhyanga, you massage a variety of marma points which combined with the above benefits also helps to activate oxytocin the happy hormone in the body giving you a feeling of warmth and love during and after the therapy.
So forgetting ‘dhatus' and all the other stuff I can’t pronounce, what are the benefits and why should I bother?
Abhyanga nourishes the entire body. It increases circulation, moves the lymph, stimulates the internal organs, calms the nerves and encourages deeper, better sleep.
Well, I’m already a pretty chilled out kinda gal and sleep like a horse...... anything else?
Abhyanga decreases the effects of ageing by softening and smoothening the skin (wrinkles are reduced and disappear), nourishing the scalp and hair (hair grows luxuriantly, thick, soft and glossy), it tones and firms the limbs (helping to reduce cellulite) and lubricates the joints.
Yes, yes and yes! Tell me more!
Daily massage pacifies Vata and Pitta and stimulates Kapha. Vata dosha is particularly aggravated in our modern world with smart phones, social media and always being connected online in addition to multi-tasking, like listening to music while reading, irregular eating and sleeping habits as well as any type of travel.
Yeah, sounds like a typical day for me but you lost me for a moment there..doshas?
Click here to read more about the three dosha’s Vata, Pitta and Kapha.
Sounds great but hey, I’m a busy girl. How am I supposed to fit a massage into my day?
It’s easy to incorporate it into your morning routine same as brushing teeth, showering, etc. Ideally, the massage should take between 15-30 minutes with an additional 15 minutes to allow the absorption of oil. However, if this is too long you can cut the time down, even 5 minutes is of greater benefit than no massage at all.
OK let’s give it a shot. How do I do it?
See below for a step by step guide.
🐰Choose an appropriate oil, if you can’t find specific ayurvedic oils you can use an organic sesame oil which is suitable for all doshas and helps particularly to pacify Vata.
🐰 Stand about 1/2 cup of sesame oil in a pan of hot water until the oil is pleasantly warm. Sit or stand comfortably in a warm room, on a towel that you don’t mind ruining with oil accumulation.
🐰Start the application of oil from the head first, pour a generous amount of oil into your hands and then using the palm of your hand's place onto the crown of the head and massage the crown of your head in a clockwise motion using a firm but gentle touch. The head and feet are the two most important places to massage so spend a little extra time on these areas even if this is just once a week.
🐰Once you’ve massaged the head, move down to the face and ears, massaging all around the outer edges of the ear lobes where there are a number of important marma points and gently massage your face.
🐰Move down to the neck massaging both the front and back of the neck gently but firmly with the palms. Massage the back of the neck and the top of the spine as well as the two indentations at the lower, back of the head, which help to activate relaxation and calm. Use upward motions on the front of your neck in the same way as when you apply your moisturiser in the morning giving yourself a daily face-lift.
🐰Move on to the body starting with your arms, hands and fingers. Use long, firm strokes of your hands from the wrist to the upper arms going back and forth, starting from the outside of the arm and moving towards the inside. Use small, circular movements over the joints and long sweeping motions along the arms. Continue to the hands and fingers.
🐰Now apply oil to your chest using a gentle circular motion over the heart area but ensuring you are massaging the whole chest allowing stagnant lymphatic fluid to move and drain.
🐰Move down to the abdomen where a gentle, circular massage in a clockwise motion should be used; follow the intestines from the lower, right part of the abdomen, up, across, down and across. This also helps to aid digestion and bowel movements.
🐰Next move to the back and spine, your hands should move upwards towards the heart, again using long, firm but gentle strokes using plenty of oil and the palms of your hands.
🐰Moving down to the lower half of the body massage the legs as the arms starting from the ankles and massaging upwards, using back and forth motions, start from the outer part to the inner part and use a circular motion over the joints.
🐰Finally, massage the tops of the feet and then the soles of the feet taking care to spend time here being a little more vigorous here.
If you’re able to do this regularly, you will reap the benefits through increased health and vitality and will help keep your body in tiptop shape, ensuring you stay in balance rather than creating imbalance, which is the source of many diseases. ❤️🐰
Posted by Rachel Kocerova