Abhyanga- more than a massage
Snehana means love or affection in Sanskrit. Snehana in ayurvedic context is to nourish your body with fats. Abhyanga is a type of snehana karma which is aimed to nourish our body.External application of oil on your body is called Abhyanga.
Abhyanga is also one of the daily rituals described in samhitas to balance vata and to keep stress minimal. As a daily ritual, abhyanga is recommended to practice before exercise and can help to keep vata balanced during the exercise.
What if I tell you that you can have your relaxing massage with minimum investment?
Unlike the expensive spa massage sessions, practicing abhyanga at home doesn’t require many tools except for good oil that suits your body. Generally, sesame oil is the daily oil of choice recommended for abhyanga by Ayurveda.
Remember abhyanga should be done by everyone every day especially when you are tired. Simple, abhyanga means applying oil and gently massaging the body. It can be beneficial for maintaining the health and used as a therapy for certain disorders. Oil is based on the purpose of the massage, if you are practicing it as a part of daily ritual then you can select the oil on based dosha.
Vata Dosha: Sesame oil, Almond oil.
Pitta Dosha: Sesame oil + Coconut oil (1:1) , Ghee
Kapha Dosha: Sesame oil + Cinnamon/basil ( 1:1/10)
Steps and precautions:
· Make sure that oil is warm
· Sit or stand in a comfortable room, and take some oil on your palm and apply it to the scalp using fingers. Massage the head with gentle circular strokes.
· Now apply oil to the ear and face gently and continue the massage for few minutes
· Massage on to your chest and limbs use long strokes for the limbs and circular for joints.
· Massage your whole body with love and patience, it can help to relieve stress and tension.
· Give extra attention to Head, ears and foot followed by warm bath.
Benefits of abhyanga:
1. It has a cleansing action on body.
2. Improves the body complexion
3. Rejuvenates the body and maintains health
4. Helpful in condition like anxiety and stress
5. Induces sleep
6. Improves eyesight
7. It has nourishing and strengthening effect on body
8. Prolongs healthy lifespan
9. Reduces body pain and stiffness.
In spite of these therapeutic benefits Abhyanga is not always recommended to practice especially in conditions like – indigestion, fever, menstrual cycle, impaired digestive capacity etc
Abhyanga mainly affects nervous system and endocrine system of our body and these two-play great role in maintaining the body’s function. A daily abhyanga restores the balance of dosha and dhatu and it is one of the important self-care rituals.