Health & Fitness

Abhyanga: Learn everything about the traditional oil massage

Abhyanga is one of the most ancient Ayurvedic philosophies that promote the importance of the regenerative and nourishing properties of body oil massage. “As an essential part of holistic skin and body care, Abhyanga has been practised for many centuries and is the purest form of infusing rich emollients of Ayurvedic oils into the body,” said Neha Ahuja, Ayurveda expert and founder of Kaashi Wellness.

With the eventual progression of skincare into western self-care techniques and products, one does not often get the opportunity to learn or experience the luxury of Abhyanga nowadays. However, those who have practised this traditional body massage know how therapeutic it feels and the deep regeneration it provides to the mind and body. In Ayurveda, skin and body care are a slow and gradual process. As such, it encourages one to approach self-care in a holistic manner, and self-massage is a great way to incorporate this potent practice in daily life.

Getting started with the benefits of Abhyanga

Self-massaging the body and all its pressure points with emollient oils can have immense positive effects on the skin texture, internal body functions, and the mind. It’s almost like composing a calming rhythm that helps relax the nervous system.

The soft application, delicate scent, and circular motions across the body have extensive healing properties, which is why abhyanga is known to:

*Improve blood circulation
*Endow one with energy
*Calm down all emotions
*Pamper the senses
*Promote lymphatic drainage
*Increase physical strength
*Enhance overall skin health
*Eliminate dehydration, pigmentation and signs of ageing.
*Reduce insomnia and more.

One must invest at least one day each week for a transformative oil bath. This enables our body to absorb the nutrients in the oils through the hair follicles of our skin and penetrate deep into the skin cells thus providing it with the best nourishment.

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diwali in south india, deepavali, oil bath significance, ganga snanam aayacha, ganga snanam aacha, oil bath ritual, indianexpress.com, indianexpress, It is said that application of oil on the skin not only moisturises it, but also cleanses it. (Source: Getty Images/Thinkstock)
Opting for the right body oil

Ayurveda is a detailed study of every rich herb and ingredient available in nature and the numerous ways they can benefit different skin and body concerns. When it comes to self-massage/Abhaynga, it is important to understand your skin and choose the right body oil that helps provide the right value.

Steps to do Abhyanga

“The process of immersing oneself in a magical self-massage session is an art in itself. This ancient practice is quintessential to beginning the journey of being one with the mind and body, which is why Abhyanga is still gloriously celebrated,” said Ahuja.

Here is a step-by-step guide to a rich self-body massage session or what is also popularly known as an oil bathing session.

*Start by applying oil and gently massage the body paying special attention to roughened areas such as the knees, heels, and nails.
*For the hands, focus on the elbows and the fingers.
*Slowly progress towards the face – massage the oil in circular motions, going all the way behind the ears.
*Now, relax for 10 minutes while listening to healing sounds.
*Use warm water to bathe and end the self-massage session.

“Our bodies are created to be the most beautiful and natural elements and Ayurveda helps enhance this beauty in a wholesome and holistic manner. During times when the hustle and bustle of the contemporary world gets too loud, remember that slowing down with potent self-care practices will enable you to realign the mind and body with your soul,” Ahuja said.

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