Abhyanga – A Magical Therapy

Article contributed by By Dr. Shilpa.B.S, Consultant, Sri Sri Tattva Center for Holistic  Wellness , Bangalore

Ayurveda is the science of life; therefore the art of longevity always emphasises the prevention of disease rather than the cure.  In this sense, Ayurveda has given us dinacharya – a daily routine to be followed for optimal health.  Abhyanga is part of dinacharya.

What is Abhyanga?

It is a simple technique of oil application throughout the body.  The skin is the biggest sense organ that helps in the excretion of toxins. Abhyanga takes care of our body through which we exist and serve society. Idham shareeram khalu dharma sadhanam.

Why Abhyanga?

Abhyanga achareth nithyam sa jarashrama vataha. Drishti prasadaha pushti ayuhu swapna sutvaktva dhadyakruth

In this era we live sedentary lifestyles, weighed down by excessive exertion and tension. Abhyanga is a boon which relieves us from exhaustion and delays the process of aging. It subsides vata which is the basic reason for imbalances in the body. Abhyanga improves circulation, encouraging quick removal of metabolic waste.

Dhrishti Prasad: Minor points stimulated during the application of oil activate the nerves and improve clarity of vision.

Pushti Ayuhu: When we take care of the body, it renders nourishment and longevity.

Swapna: Helps encourage sound sleep which many people are deprived of.

Soothvak: Protects the tone and elasticity of skin, improving the complexion.

Dhadyakrut: Gives us a sturdy, enviable physique.

When is Abhyanga to be done?

Abhyang achareth nithyam: Abhyanga has to be done daily. Pay special attention to and apply oil daily on shira (head), shravana (ear) and pada (soles). Massage oil into the body with gentle movements, letting the body soak in the benefits of the oil for 20 to 30 minutes. Wash off with a hot water bath.

Which oil is to be used?

Prakruthi Type of oil
Vata Prakruthi Til Oil
Pitta Prakruthi Badam, Castor or Olive Oil
Kapha Prakruthi Mustard or Til Oil

Use cooling oils like coconut and olive oil during summer. Use heaty oils like mustard and sesame during winter.

Who should avoid Abhyanga?

Everyone needs to do Abhyanga on a daily basis. Self-massage is sufficient for many people, periodic methodical Abhyanga at Panchakarma Centres is also beneficial. Abhyanga should be avoided by people suffering from Kapha (cough), fever and Ajirna (indigestion)