Receiving abhyanga from a trained massage therapist can be a relaxing experience. However, it’s also possible to enjoy abhyanga as a self-massage at times of self-purification at home.
The role of a therapist’s abhyanga massage is to soft down the toxins in muscles and soft tissues and to push the toxins ( ama) to the intestine. After seven days, usually, a purgation or enema is recommended to release the toxins.
When self-massage is done with the purpose of purification, the benefits are not as profound as when it is done with a therapist. However, the lubrication of tissues and muscles supports the diet and other therapies. Self-massage is recommended weekly as a way to maintain the health, tone and nourishment of the body.
If you are doing home purification, you should lubricate the body daily before purgation or enemas.
What do you need
During abhyanga, you’ll need to wear minimal clothing or wrap a towel around your body.
Here’s the general technique of an abhyanga self-massage:
- Pour 1/2 cup oil in a clean, empty shampoo or squeeze bottle. Put the bottle in a pot of hot water until the oil is warm.
- Apply the oil to your whole body, including the top of your head. Massage the oil into your scalp, moving in circular motions.
- Continue to your forehead, ears, cheeks, and jaws.
- Massage your chest and abdomen, moving in clockwise and circular strokes. On your trunk, massage inward along your ribs.
- Continue to your back and butt. Massage in straight, long motions on your arms and legs. Move-in circular motions on your joints.
- Massage your feet, including your toes and soles.
- Relax for 30 minutes to let your skin absorb the oil.
- Take a warm bath or shower. Use a gentle cleanser to remove the oil.
Tips for abhyanga self-massage
For an enjoyable self-massage, follow these tips:
- Make sure the oil is warm but not too hot.
- Consider using an electronic oil warmer. It’s convenient and portable.
- Use an old towel to catch the oil stains.
- Take your time on each body part.
- After massaging your soles with oil, be careful when walking. The oil could make you slip.
- Use a clean towel when you get out of the shower.
- Do an abhyanga self-massage daily for optimal results.
Oils to use
The best oil for abhyanga depends on your “dosha,” or body type. In Ayurveda, three doshas determine which oils you need to encourage balance and health.
Here’s a general look at the doshas, along with their skin qualities and recommended oils:
- Vata (dry skin). Use heavy oils like almond, sesame, or avocado oil.
- Pitta (sensitive or overheated skin). Apply a neutral oil like ghee or sunflower oil.
- Kapha (oily skin). Use a light oil, such as safflower, sweet almond, or flaxseed oil. Typically, less oil is needed for Kapha.
Each carrier oil can be used by itself or blended with another oil.
Oleation is the number one therapy in Ayurveda. Contact our ayurvedic team for assessments, treatments and other health concerns.