In this post we will explore the benefits of Abhyanga massage one of my favorite Ayurveda healing therapies.
It’s pretty much inevitable that we can’t do most of the stuff we used to love because we have to stay at home and social distance. One of my favorite things to do, before the pandemic, was to enjoy the relaxing effects of a hot stone massage. Or a Swiss massage. Anything that made my muscles feel at ease, especially after an intensive training session. Going to the spa heighten my sense of wellbeing for a few hundred bucks, I loved it, and it was scheduled in my calendar at least once a month. However, I never forgot about abhyanga massage and all the benefits it has to to offer to your mind and body.
See, now that I am at home I can’t deny my body of the therapeutic effects of a massage. In fact, as an Ayurveda Lifestyle Consultant, besides having the luxury of paying for a well deserved spa session, I have always done Abhyanga at least once per week. With COVID -19 I have just increased their frequency because of its healing powers. Now we need to be healthier than ever, right?
HOW TO DO ABHYANGA?
Abhyanga, as it is called in Ayurvedic medicine, is a warm oil self-massage that is extremely helpful to counteract stress. Doing Abhyanga means that you apply a generous amount of warm oil – based on your body type – which is gently massaged into your entire body before taking a hot bath or shower. I take normally about 15-20 minutes doing the whole process but, it can last up to an hour. I suggest you start doing it once per week, and then increase the number of times gradually. It can even become a staple in your morning routine.
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BENEFITS of ABHYANGA MASSAGE
WHY TO START ABHYANGA ASAP?
There are so many incredible benefits of doing Abhyanga massage regularly! The best part is that it is the most pleasurable theraphy ever! Some of the perks are:
EASY TO IMPLEMENT
When your stress levels are so out of control due to what is going on in the world right now, we need to find simple yet effective ways to deal with it from home. That’s key. Abhyanga comes as a wonderful health strategy that is easy to implement in your own bathroom. You just need the right oil for your body type. Oh! And also 15 minutes extra for self-care.
CALMS NERVOUS SYSTEM
Besides Pranayama or breathing techniques, nothing calms your nerves more than Abhyanga does. It has almost an instant effect on the the nervous system. There is just something about covering your skin with warm oil that makes your body less hypervigilant and oversensitized. Think of it as one of the most tangible acts of self-love you can do for yourself. Touching your skin in this way is a great way to feel good and loved. Something like feeling saturated with love. Your own love.
BALANCES YOUR HORMONES
If your stress levels are low it is likely your hormones are functioning properly. Abhyanga has a transformative effect in that it helps your endocrine system regain balance. Many health issues can be cured by just adding self-massage to your routine. Abhyanga is in general a great way to maintain health, sleep better, and increase longevity.
SOFTER AND STRONGER SKIN
One of the tenants of Ayurveda to have supple and nourished skin is to apply organic oils that go well with your body type. It improves skin elasticity and delays the aging process. Doing abhyanga is an excellent way to nourish the largest organ in our body.
WHAT OILS TO USE
DEPENDING ON YOUR AYURVEDIC CONSTITUTION
Sesame oils like sesame or almond are recommended if your constitution is Vata. The best sides are the feet, the top of the head, the back, and the lower abdomen. Your massage should be warm and relaxing! It should not make you feel any type of discomfort.
Try Coconut oil. Or other cooling oils such as sunflower or even ghee. Be mindful of the head, the forehead, and the heart. It would also be very beneficial if you can add some sandalwood, jasmine, rose, honeysuckle, or iris to your abhyanga experience. Maybe in the form of incense?
If you are a Kapha person, dry or strong massage is best. Use light oils like mustard or flaxseed oils. Essences that help your constitution are musk, camphor, cloves, cinnamon, cedar, frankincense, and myrrh. The massage should be stimulating and vigorous.