Abhyanga: the Ayurvedic self massage

Abhyanga: the Ayurvedic self massage

How about some self love?

A beautiful example of self care and self love is an Ayurvedic self massage with oil, called Abhyanga. In this article you will read about the benefits of this massage and how to do the self massage.  

Why do a self massage?

Anointing the body is an important part of the Ayurvedic detox, the Pancha Karma, which stands for ‘five actions’ in Sanskrit. An oil massage can also boost the digestive system, stimulating the elimination of toxins.

Also, if you have dry, rough skin, cracking and popping joints, (muscle) pain, if you are cold easily, are having sleeping problems or feel restless, then massaging yourself regularly can give some grounding and relief.

It is a great moment to really take time for yourself. In Ayurveda, oil is associated with ‘love’. Massaging the body with oil is a lovingly moment. Massaging your self with warm oil makes you really connect with your body. And that can help you ground better.

How to do a self massage?
  1. Use cold pressed organic sesame oil, which you can buy at your local organic store. Sesame oil has warming qualities and is easily absorbed through the skin. Other types of oil that you can use are sweet almond oil, cold pressed sunflower oil or coconut oil. Cold pressed sunflower oil and coconut oil are suitable in Summer or in hot regions. Or you can mix them together to create your own oil. Experiment and create your own unique experience.
  2. Make sure the room where you are doing the self massage is warm and not airy. Use an old towel to lay on the floor, in case you spill some oil.
  3. Warm the oil and test whether it’s not too hot.
  4. Start massaging your feet, legs and work upwards to your hips.
  5. Make long strokes over the entire leg and circular movements over the knees and ankles.
  6. Use both hands to make circular movements over the pelvic area, the belly and lower back.
  7. Massage the area around the breast, sides of the rib cage, arm pit and entire inner arm. Make a long stroke from the top of your hip, up to the arm pit, the inner arm, down to the inside of the hand and fingers. Do this on both sides.
  8. Massage the outside of the hand, arm, up to the shoulders, neck and shoulder blades. Use your left hand to do the right side, and your right hand to do your left side.
  9. Continue to massage the face and scalp.
  10. Wait 5-15 minutes until the oil has been absorbed by the skin. You can also massage yourself in the evening before going to bed and sleep with the oil. This can give stains on your bedding though.
  11. Take a warm shower or bath to wash off the remaining oil.

You can do the self massage a few times a week or every day.