Health Benefits of Ayurveda Massage

The meaning of ‘Abhyanga,’ is the application or smearing of oil to the whole body. Touch can bring about dramatic changes in body and mind. The art of Abhyanga has been practiced since ancient times. Abhyanga is perhaps the most popular form of health activity today. It is effectively used for achieving relaxation and as a form of natural therapy for various disorders.

Ayurveda and Abhyanga (Massage)

Ayurveda is based on the principles of primordial elements, biological humors or ‘tridoshas’, concept of Agni as well as the formation of toxins or Ama. ‘Agni’ is the energy, which represents the sun in the universe, and responsible for all types of conversion in the body. It works through the medium of Pitta and is responsible for all the transformation-anabolic and catabolic. Thus for all digestive and metabolic function Agni is responsible. Improper functioning of Agni leads to Ama (Metabolic toxin) formation. The primary idea and purpose of Ayurveda massage just as all other Ayurvedic treatment protocols are to help break and remove the toxins within the gross and subtle bodies.

The aim of Abhyanga (Ayurveda massage) is to achieve the balance of energies inside the body and for this the study of the fundamental concept of Prakruti (Body type) or your uniqueness is very much essential. To achieve this balance Ayurveda makes use of various substances like herbal medicated oils, herbal powders, aromatic oils, etc for Abhyanga.

Abhyanga (Ayurveda Massage) for tranquility of Body and Mind

Abhyanga has a hypnotic effect on the body & mind and it is deeply relaxing. When the body and mind are both in peace one’s face reflects the inner calm. Moreover, rubbing the body with medicated herbal oil works as a tonic and increases one’s energy. This is the best way of preserving youthfulness. Massaging the whole body has greater impact; it relaxes, cleanses and creates a harmony between mind and body. Therapeutic Abhyanga with oil in a specified manner removes dirt from the skin, cleanses millions of pores and helps indirectly to detoxify the lungs, large intestine and kidney. Abhyanga increase the blood circulation and thus helps in exfoliation of superficial dead skin cells, tones the skin and encourages its rejuvenation process. Abhyanga also helps the skin to maintain its elasticity and strength.

Abhyanga improves nutrition supply to the body organs. It has been shown by various scientific experiments that more blood flows through the tissues during and after the friction or rubbing. Some experiments have also shown that number of red blood cells also increase after Abhyanga. Abhyanga increases blood circulation which helps accelerates the lymphatic system, which absorbs and eliminates toxins and waste from the body. The strokes and technique of massaging generates heat and also helps in the process of absorption. There is a great deal of evidence that the state of mind and nervous system is reflected in the state of musculature. Depending on the depth of the Abhyanga and various types of movements used by the masseur, the nerve endings can be stimulated or soothed. Similarly, Abhyanga or body work is one route into subconscious mind.

Human beings need to touch and to be touched. Great deals of animals and human research shows that individuals deprived of physical contact are insecure, poorly adjusted and more prone to illness. The first experience of Abhyanga is obtained when the fetus is delivered from uterus due to rhythmic contraction of the uterine muscles. Animals are also aware of the action of Abhyanga on their newborn. Hence many animals lick the entire body of the newborn immediately after the birth. This helps not only to clean their body but gives them soothing Abhyanga with the tongue.

Benefits of Abhyanga (Ayurveda Massage)

1) Pushtikara (Nourishes the body) – Abhyanga makes the muscles stronger, increases the stamina, vitality and virility. It also helps for elimination of the waste products like sweat, urine and stool.

2) Ayukara (Promotes longevity) – The function of vital organs and tissues can be improved and life span can be promoted through the practice of regular Abhyanga therapy. Abhyanga improves immunity thereby increasing body’s resistance against diseases.

3) Swapnakara (Induces sound sleep) – Physical and mental well being, nourishment, strength, sexual energy depends upon proper sleep. Abhyanga is a powerful agent, which induces sound sleep.

4) Sutwakkara (Makes skin soft and firm) – Abhyanga improves the skin complexion and makes it shine and beautiful. It also resists premature wrinkles and ageing, increases immunity against skin disease. By proper elimination of waste products and providing nutrition, Abhyanga promotes sturdiness and strength of the skin.

5) Shramahara (Removes fatigue) – Fatigue due to routine work, mental stress, strains can be corrected by regular Abhyanga. It helps prevent physical and mental pressure, agonies and anxiety by relaxing the body and mind.

6) Regulates Vata dosha – Prevents and corrects disorders cause due to aggravation of vata and nervous disorders. Vata regulates all the sensory and motor functions of nervous system and it also regulates the activities of Pitta & Kapha. Thus Vata plays most important role in our body. Skin is the main sensory organ through which with the help of Abhyanga, Vata dosha can be kept in equilibrium.

In short the secret of youth and beauty is the proper circulation of vital life fluids and proper elimination of waste materials. The body is compared to tree. If the root of the tree is watered regularly then it lives for a longer time. Similarly on the above analogy if a body of an individual is oleated regularly by Abhyanga then he / she lives for a long time free from diseases.

“Feel Better – Live Better”

This article is written by Dr. Aniket Kamble, B.A.M.S (Rajiv Gandhi University of Health Science)