BENEFITS OF OIL MASSAGE (ABHYANGA)
Oil massage is one of the treatment methods described under the topic “Oleation therapy” which describes a vast range of different methods of treatments that can be done just by using medicated oils. The original Sanskrit term for oil – “Sneha” is derived from “Snehana” means “Love/ Tenderness” which gives a glimpse of the benefits of oil massage such as nourishing, soothing, softening, etc.
How often you should have a massage?
If possible, every morning, just about 15 minutes before your bath or shower.
Benefits of Abhyanga – Oil Massage
Although I do not intend to mention many Sanskrit words, which Ayurvedic medicine was originally taught, it would be easier to understand better if you understand the meanings. The Sanskrit name for oil massage – “Abhyanga” is derived from the language root Abhi + Amg – means “moving the energy into the body”. Hence the benefits are;
- Prevent/ delay the ageing process
- Decrease the effects of aging
- Help in detoxification
- Reduce obesity
- Bestow good vision
- Nourish the body
- Promote immunity
- Promote longevity
- Benefit good sleep
- Increase the softness of the skin and adds luster, in turn enhancing complexion and glamour
- Increase strength and stamina
- Increase tone, strength of the muscles and flexibility of joints
- Stimulate the internal organs of the body
- Promote circulation
- Regulate menstruation
- Pacify three doshas; Vata, Kapha, Pitta and eliminating aches and pains, lethargy and burning sensations, etc.
- Relaxing and calming down the mind – kind of a same experience as meditation – relieving stress, tension headache
- Making “settled”, “serene” and “blissful”!
What oils can be used?
Oil massage is not merely for relaxation but also for therapeutic purposes such as alleviating certain symptoms. Hence the type of the oil that can be used depend on the purpose of massaging. For instance, if the purpose is to eliminate aches and pains, Vata pacifying oils such as Nirgundi oil, Maha Narayana oil, etc. are helpful. If the massage is to alleviate burning sensations in the body, Pitta pacifying oils can be used. They can also be used in skin lesions like rashes. Kapha massage oils can be used to reduce kapha and to improve sweating, cleansing, and circulation. In special conditions like obesity, specific oils can be used. In general, sesame oil, castor oil, ghee, mustard oil, etc. can be used. However, it is always advisable to consult your Ayurvedic doctor before choosing the oils.
May all beings be healthy!
Dr. Indunil Weerarathne