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What is Abhyanga Massage?

By Rakhee Dodhia
from Sacred Space Healing

Abhyanga is a traditional Ayurvedic practice of massaging the body with warm herbal oils. It is an important part of Ayurvedic self-care and is believed to promote physical, mental, and emotional well-being.

In this blog, we’ll explore the benefits of abhyanga and how to incorporate it into your self-care routine.

One of the primary benefits of abhyanga is its ability to nourish and moisturise the skin. The warm herbal oil is massaged into the skin, penetrating deep into the tissues and providing essential nutrients that promote skin health. This can improve the skin’s appearance and reduce the appearance of wrinkles, dryness, and other signs of aging.

Another benefit of abhyanga is its ability to promote relaxation and reduce stress. The warm oil and gentle massage strokes help to release tension in the muscles and calm the nervous system. This can lead to a reduction in stress and anxiety, as well as improved sleep and overall feelings of calm and peace.

In addition to its physical benefits, abhyanga is also believed to have a positive impact on the mind and emotions. The practice is said to help balance the doshas (Vata, Pitta and Kapha), the three fundamental energies that govern the body and mind in Ayurveda. By promoting balance in the doshas, abhyanga can help to improve mood and reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety.

Abhyanga is also thought to promote lymphatic drainage and improve circulation. The warm oil and gentle massage strokes help to stimulate the lymphatic system, which helps to remove toxins and waste from the body. Improved circulation can also help to bring oxygen and nutrients to the cells, promoting overall health and well-being.

Incorporating abhyanga into your self-care routine is easy and can be done at home with just a few simple steps:

  1. Choose the right oil: Different oils are recommended for different body types and skin types in Ayurveda. Choose an oil that is appropriate for your skin type and doshic balance. Some common oils used in abhyanga include sesame, coconut, and olive oil.
  2. Warm the oil: Heat the oil until it is warm, but not hot. You can do this by pouring the oil into a container and setting it in a basin of warm water.
  3. Begin the massage: Start at the feet and work your way up the body, using gentle circular motions to massage the oil into the skin. Pay special attention to areas that feel particularly tense or stiff, such as the neck, shoulders, and lower back.
  4. Continue the massage: Continue the massage for about 15-20 minutes, focusing on the entire body and paying special attention to any areas that feel particularly tense.
  5. Rinse and relax: After the massage, rinse your skin with warm water to remove any excess oil. Then, relax and allow the oil to penetrate deeply into your skin and tissues.

Abhyanga is a simple but powerful practice that can promote physical, mental, and emotional well-being. By nourishing and moisturising the skin, reducing stress and anxiety, promoting lymphatic drainage and improved circulation, and balancing the doshas, abhyanga is a valuable tool for anyone looking to improve their overall health and well-being. So why not try incorporating it into your self-care routine today?



National Library of Medicine


National Library of Medicine


National Library of Medicine

National Library of Medicine


More about the author

Rakhee Dodhia
Rakhee Dodhia
– Sacred Space Healing

Rakhee is a Remedial Massage Therapist, with a practice in Bilgola, on the Northern Beaches of Sydney. Of Indian origin, Rakhee, grew up surrounded by the ancient healing world of Ayurveda and has developed a keen interest and practice of the same.