Abhyanga is an ancient Indian Ayurvedic oil massage therapy for overall health and well-being. This ayurvedic detox and stress reduction therapy involves massage of the body with large amounts of warm oil. The oil is often pre-medicated with herbs for specific conditions.
Emilie McBride, a certified health coach, offers her top tips and advice. According to her, the benefits of Abhyanga are numerous:
– it nourishes the entire body & slows down aging,
– it tones muscle tissue,
– it lubricates the joints,
– it increases circulation,
– it stimulates the function of the internal organs,
– it helps to detox the body,
– it stimulates lymph movement,
– it increases stamina,
– it calms the nerves,
– it improves the quality of sleep,
– it improves vision,
– it makes hair grow thick, soft and silky
– it softens and smoothens skin,
– it reduces wrinkles.
How to do it
Warm your oil (cold pressed organic oil, such as sesame, sweet almond, coconut or sunflower are best to use!) with the help of a tea candle. Test the temperature by putting a drop on your inner wrist, oil should be comfortably warm and not hot.
Sit down on a chair, or on your yoga mat on a towel, and begin by massaging the oil into your hair with circular movements. Continue to massage gently towards the outside of your face. Massage in circular motion on your forehead, temples, cheeks, and jaws (always moving upward).
Use long strokes on the limbs (arms and legs) and circular strokes on the joints (elbows and knees). Move to your breasts and your belly, massaging clockwise, or – if you are bloated or constipated – moving horizontally from left to right. McBride says to massage both, hips and bottom, then kidneys and lower back.
Finish the massage by spending at least a couple of minutes massaging your feet as these are a very important part of your body.
If you have time, leave the oil on your body for half an hour before taking a shower so that the oil can be absorbed more deeply into your body.
Enjoy a warm bath or shower afterwards. You can use a mild soap moderately. Try not to rub off with your towel.