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Self-Massage in Ayurveda

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Many of us associate the phrase with a lavish spa treatment reserved for special occasions. In Ayurveda, abhyanga (oil-based Ayurvedic massage) is suggested daily. When it comes to experiencing the nourishing advantages of abhyanga daily, there is a more accessible option to professional massage therapy—massaging oneself.

Oil massage may appear to be a dirty and laborious procedure best left to the professionals, but once you’ve mastered the fundamentals, self-massage with oil becomes second nature and well worth the effort. We’ll go through the benefits of abhyanga, which oils to use, and how to adapt your self-massage practice to balance each dosha in this post.

Self-Massage: What Is It?

Self-massage is the act of massaging oneself, as the term implies. It’s crucial that doing abhyanga on yourself entails more than just slathering some oil on your neck or back for a few minutes. (If you’re looking for anything to help with a specific muscle or joint, try applying Muscle Balm or Joint Balm a few times a day in addition to your abhyanga practice.)

Each time you practice self-massage, Ayurveda recommends committing at least fifteen minutes to it, giving love and care to each layer of your skin and moisturizing them with warm Ayurvedic oil.

Self-Massage Has Many Advantages

Although getting a massage from a professional massage therapist is occasionally recommended, learning and practicing Ayurvedic self-massage techniques can be beneficial. The advantages of abhyanga are now available to you in the comfort of your own home with self-massage.

Abhyanga is a beneficial approach to reducing stress, increasing sleep quality, and improving the overall quality of life in a recent clinical experiment exploring the effects of self-massage.

Self-massage becomes a daily gesture of self-love that you look forward to overtime.

Selecting the Best Abhyanga Oil

Ayurveda teaches us that opposites balance each other, therefore when choosing the proper oil, consider the doshas: Vata, pitta, and Kapha, and how the attributes of the doshas affect the following:

  • You are in an equilibrium state (vikriti). If you have a high dosha, it is recommended to do a dosha-pacifying abhyanga for that dosha. If you’re nervous, anxious, and feel cold and dry, your vikriti is probably high in Vata, and utilizing a Vata-calming oil for your abhyanga will be quite good.
  • Ayurveda’s body type (Prakriti). If none of your doshas are now out of balance, it’s a good idea to think about the prominent doshas in your Prakriti, or constitution, to keep things in check. For example, if you’re feeling good and your dominant dosha is pitta, and the weather is hot and humid (which tends to worsen pitta), use a pitta-balancing oil. This brings us to the next point to consider.
  • Your surroundings. Doshas influence the weather and season in your area. Fall and early winter are regarded as Vata seasons, late winter and early spring are called Kapha seasons, and summer is the pitta season.

Abhyanga does not require dusting, but some people find it extremely beneficial. If dusting powder does not affect your skin, you can use chickpea flour instead of soap for Vata and Kapha people. Make a paste with flour and water, then gently apply a little amount to the body in the shower and rinse with the oil.

For Kapha-types, dusting powder enhances the benefits of abhyanga. Before or after conducting abhyanga, vigorously rub an adequate Kapha dusting powder into the body, either while working in or rinsing off the oil. The flour of chickpeas can be used, but organic calamus powder (Vacha) is equally nice.

When Abhyanga Shouldn’t Be Done

While most people benefit from self-massage, abhyanga may not be recommended for everyone. Ayurvedic oil massage is not advised during pregnancy. Abhyanga should also be avoided throughout the menstrual cycle, when you are in a lot of pain, or if you have a serious illness or medical condition.

If any of these apply to you, seek advice from an Ayurvedic practitioner before doing abhyanga. If you’re curious about why abhyanga isn’t advised for these circumstances, check out our blog post about when abhyanga should not be performed.

When we think of self-care, we think of intricate spa procedures where one person massages your head while the other works on your feet resulting in a relaxed person. It’s what movies and TV shows have convinced us of, but the truth is that self-care doesn’t require a battalion — it’s called self for a reason!

Your happiness, as well as the health of your body, is in your control.

If you’re wondering how you can give yourself a massage, Abhyanga, or Ayurvedic Self Massage, is the answer.

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