Ayurvedic self-massage is a highly beneficial treatment on all levels. I highly recommend it because it particularly helpful for lymphatic drainage, aiding the body’s detoxification process.
It also a nice, nurturing ritual that can be continued regularly as it helps foster self-love and appreciation– two qualities everyone good use more of!
Ayurvedic self-massage is also known as Abhyanga. It can be done with or without oil.
I often include dry self-massage (sans oil) in yoga practices with my students as part of the ‘warm up’. It is very nice to do at home with warm oils, especially when you are fresh from the shower or bath and already semi-relaxed.
Benefits to Self-Massage
- Encourages self-love;
- Stimulates cardiovascular circulation;
- Lymphatic drainage;
- Improves digestion and immune function;
- Promotes relaxation and grounding;
- Lubricates joints;
- Helps you sleep deeper and more soundly;
- Releases muscular tension;
- Calms the minds;
- Balances the nervous system;
- Increases the flow of energy & prana in your body;
- Smoothes your skin (especially when using warm oil);
- Regulates body temperature;
- Enhances your mood and confidence.
There is no right or wrong way to do self-massage, but it is best to start with your head and end at your feet. Do circular motions on your joints and vigorously rub up and down between the joints.
If you want to use oils, great. Oil helps to calm the nervous system and hydrates the skin. It’s very important to use a good quality, cold-pressed oil (available at all health food stores) and warm it up slightly prior to using it.Here are the recommended oils to use per dosha:
- Vata benefits most from warm sesame oil.
- Pitta benefits most from warm almond oil.
- Kapha benefits most from warm sunflower oil.
I like to make a date for myself on a Friday or Saturday evening when I have some time and can stay in. I have an early dinner, take a hot epsom salt bath with oil and then do a little self-practice of massage and maybe some light yoga and meditation. I heat the oil gently on the stove on low for a few minutes and then pour it over my head letting it saturate my hair. Then, I massage the oil into my skin from head down. I drink a hot cup of herbal tea and go to bed early. It’s heavenly.TIP: If you use oil, sleep on a towel or pillow case you won’t mind getting oil stains.
- What’s my dosha
- The Benefits of Ayurveda Self-Massage – Chopra Centre
- Article on Abhyanga – The Local Rose