Abhyanga in Sanskrit means to make the body parts glow. It is derived from two words, Abha and Anga meaning Glow and body part respectively. It is one of the most common massage practiced in Ayurveda and is considered as Snehana or Oleation Therapy. A verse in Ayurveda text says, “Abhyangamachareth Nityam…” ie. Abhyanga must be practiced every day. It is an inevitable pre-procedure to any treatments practiced in Ayurveda. It can be done locally or entirely according to the condition.
An expert masseur can identify the knots/painful points/inflammation on the body while doing Abhyanga. The massage covers head, face and body followed by a soothening steam bath. The actual recommended time for massage is 45min and steam bath of 15min.
Three different oils are used while doing Abhyanga. Oil recommended for hair growth or cooling the scalp is used for Head massage. Oil for Face massage is decided according to the texture of facial skin (dry/oily). The body massage oil is fixed after assessing the health issues. Oil recommended for relaxing, inflammatory pain, bony pain, joint pain, skin problems, neural pain, muscular pain etc are different and also differs from person to person.
Abhyanga offers a complete relaxation to the body apart from treating the associated health problems. It enhances the blood circulation, relax the muscles, relieves pain by releasing endorphins, de-stress the body and improves the sleep. It is told in Ayurveda that during Abhyanga, the vitiated three doshas/elements in the body are brought to the alimentary tract from where it is expelled via Panchakarma procedures. The steam bath followed after massage helps in reabsorbing the oil via skin pores by the heat and nitrogenous toxins are expelled out via sweat.
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To conclude, Abhyanga is one of the safest and soothening massage that can revive you physically and mentally with health benefits rewarded from head to toe.