The main purpose of Abyangha or Oil massage as part of the Ayurvedic daily routine is to assist in preventing the accumulation of toxins (AMA) and to lubricate and promote flexibility of the muscles, tissues and joints. The classical texts of Ayurveda indicate that daily oil massage promotes the softness and luster of the skin, as well as youthfulness. The skin is a major producer of endocrine hormones and is connected to every part of the body through thousands of cutaneous nerves. Daily oil massage can, therefore, balance two master systems of the body – the nervous system and the endocrine system.
The Body of one who uses oil massage regularly does not become effected much even if subjected to accidental injuries, or strenuous work. By using Oil Massage daily, a person is endowed with pleasant touch, trimmed body parts, and becomes strong, charming and least affected by old age.
Abhyanga is the Sanskrit word for warm oil massage. This can be self-administered or given by a practitioner and can last from 5 to 60 minutes.
In Abhyanga a generous amount of warm oil is gently massaged into the entire body before steaming or bathing.
Although not considered as part of our daily routine or lifestyle in modern society, self-massage has a long history in Ayurvedic medicine. It is one of the surest ways to nourish Yin and support hormonal balance. It’s hard to believe, that such a delicious habit can be so healing. But it is. For thousands of years people in India have used Abhyanga to maintain health, benefit sleep pattern, and increase longevity.
When we cover our skin with warm oil, it calms the nervous system. It is best to apply oil to your skin, which is edible. The skin absorbs, what is applied to it. So Ayurveda recommends avoiding mineral oils, and oils with synthetic ingredients. Untoasted sesame oil or herbal massage oils are the best.
I can’t tell you, how many times I had patients come to me and tell me that Abhyanga changed their lives. It might be hard to believe, that such a simple practice can lead to a truly changed state of health or make a significant difference, but it is remarkable to see its transformative effect over and over again.