Abhyanga (oil Massage) : Ayurvedic concept

Abhyanga- Oil Massage

There is no greater expression of self-love than anointing ourselves from head to toe with warm oil—this practice is called Abyanga. A daily Abyanga practice restores the balance of the doshas and enhances well-being and longevity.The Sanskrit word Sneha can be translated as both “oil” and “love.” It is believed that the effects of Abhyanga are similar to those received when one is saturated with love. Like the experience of being loved, Abhyanga can give a deep feeling of stability and warmth.A daily Abyanga practice restores the balance of the doshas and enhances well-being and longevity. Regular Abyanga is especially grounding and relaxing for Vata dosha imbalances, but everyone can benefit from this practice.

Benefits of Abhyanga :

अभ्यन्गमाचरेन्नित्यं, स जराश्रमवातहा | 

दृष्टि प्र्ससदपुष्टयायु : स्वप्नासुत्वक्त्वदाढर्यकृत || (अ.हृ.सू २/८)

Conducting body massage on regular basis will be benefitial, It :

  • Delays aging, relieves fatigue and mitigates vata, Imparts good vision and promotes strength. Increases lifespan relieves insomnia.
  • Bestows toughness as well as prettiness to the skin and body becomes strong.
  • Oil Should be applied especially to the head (head massage), ears (ear drops) and foot (massage on the soles), along with the whole body.

After the completion of the process if the digestion of the food taken in the previous day, body massage should be conducted with the oils, which mitigate vata and are perfumed and also suitble to seasons.

Such as chandanabala lakshadi taila, chandanadi tailas in summmer and agurvadi taila in winter which are having sita (cold) and Ushna (hot) gunas respectively.

As the application of oil to the axis of the vehicle, animal skin and pot becomes smooth and shiny; so also human body becomes smooth and strong by the application of oil massage.

Vata is predominantly present in the tactile sensory organ and is lodged in the skin. Massaging body with oil is good and hence it should be conducted regularly.

 One should massage the boy with luke warm oil, according to season, in direction of body hair, oil can be used according Dosha, seasn and conditions.

It is performed in seven positions in order :

Position 1 (Sitting with legs extending) :

Massage should  be done by making the patient sit on the body with legs (lower limbs) extended. Now lead the head and trunk are making an angle of 90 degree or right angle with your legs. 
Position 2 (Sleeping on the back with limbs extended, Supine position ) :

Next , Abhyanga should be done by making patient sleep on his or her back on the abhyanga table (supine position). The patient looks towards the ceiling and keeps his upper and lower limb straight and little apart from the central axis of body. The upper limbs should be extended in such  a way that the palms face upwards. Similarly the bottom positions of the feet ( Plantar surface) should face distal (lower) end of the table.In this position, massage can be given to the front of the body.

position 3 (Left lateral position) :

 Now the patient is made to lie towards his or her left side i.e turning towards left and rest on the left lateral side of the body. Here the right lateral side of the body is given massage.
Position 4 (Sleeping on tummy and chest , with face downwards i.e Prone position) :

Next, the patient is made to shift the position and sleep on his or her tummy and chest. Here the patients face is looking towards the surface of the table.This may be an awkward position and may suffocate. therefore, patient is advised to keep his or her face tilted to his comfortable side i.e right or left.Now the massage is given to the entire back,back of the neck and back of upper limbs and lower limbs.
Position 5 (Right lateral position) :

From the prone position patient should gradually tilt towards his or her right side i.e towards the right side and rest on right lateral side of the body. In this position massage is given to the left lateral side of the body.

Position 6 (Supine position) :

Once again the patient should change his position come back to position 2 i.e should sleep on his back. The massage is repeated in this position as explained in position 2.
Position 7 ( Sitting with lower limbs extended) :
From the supine position, the patient should gradually rise from the surface of the table and sit and sit in the same position as in the position 1 i.e with lower limbs extended. Massage is given in this position as explained in position 1.

In each position massage should be given for 2-5 minutes. The patient is asked to gradually change positions while doing abhyanga because the surface of table will be slippery. The patient should be instructed with every change of the position. It is also good to keep the patient informed about the importance of each position so that he or she could appreciate the treatment while enjoying it.

After completion of the abhyanga the patient should be asked to take rest for 10-15 minutes. Later he should be given a hot water bath or swab or sweating treatment(swedana) as per the plan and protocol of the treatment.

Contraindication for Abhyanga -

Person suffering from Kapha disorder, after shodhana therapy and indigestion are unfit for abhyanga.

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