Abhyanga, or Ayurvedic massage, has numerous health benefits for the body and mind including: increased function of the immune system, a stabilized mind, decreased joint inflammation and improved self-esteem. It is the combination of the oil and the touch of massage that delivers these benefits.
How does this process work? The oil used in Abhyanga helps to build Ojas. In Ayurveda, Ojas is best associated with life vitality, or vigor. This essence of life or vitality governs our immunity, strength and joy. When Ojas is high immunity, is strong, energy is high, and we are overall healthy and happy. When Ojas is low, health, happiness, and energy become depleted, we lack enthusiasm, and strength suffers.
The oil hydrates the skin, the largest organ in the body, and the immune system’s first line of defense. The oil is absorbed through the skin into muscles and joints decreasing inflammation and lubricating them for better function. The massage action stimulates the lymphatic system promoting a healthy immune system. The touch of massage stimulates the skin which is also important for health. By caring and nurturing ourselves, self-esteem is improved.
When practicing Abhyanga, choose an oil that supports your dosha. Warm the oil and gently massage your body. People working with Kapha dosha begin at the feet and ankles, then work your way up towards the head and neck. Those working with Pitta or Vata dosha begin at the head and work your way down the body. For a special treat, add a couple drops of essential oil to the base oil and enjoy the benefits of aromatherapy!