Benefits of Abhyanga: Ayurvedic Self Massage
Stress, fatigue, and anxiety are all too common in our daily lives however these are not meant to be felt in the body continuously. There are many ways to combat stress and anxiety and one size does not fit all so what does this mean? You may need to try a few things until you find what works best for you or you can get the support of a holistic professional to create a wellness plan unique to you. One practice worth exploring is Abhyanga. Abhyanga is a simple yet effective Ayurvedic self-massage technique that supports stress reduction and enhances overall well-being. Bonus benefits, it improves circulation, nourishes the skin, and promotes relaxation.
It is ideal to do it in the morning to help wake up your body and get it ready for the day, however, you can do it at night which promotes relaxation for a calmer healthier sleep. You will need warm oil and a towel or sheet that you don’t mind getting oily. It is preferred to use a dosha-specific Ayurvedic oil such as sesame oil for Vata, coconut oil for Pitta, or sunflower oil for Kapha, if you are not sure of your dominant dosha type you can take a short dosha quiz to find out.
Steps for Abhyanga:
- Create a warm quiet comfortable space and lay your towels or sheets down. It is important to be in a warm space to help with circulation and keep your muscles warm.
- Gently warm the Ayurvedic oil. Keep the oil in its container, add hot water to a bowl, and place the container with the oil in the bowl. Let sit for about 5-10 minutes so the oil gets warm but not hot. Be careful not to get the oil too hot as it can burn the skin.
- Sit comfortably and start your massage. Begin at to top of your head by placing a small amount of oil on it and using your fingertips massage your scalp in a circular motion working through your entire scalp.
- Move to your face and ears. Apply a small amount of oil on your hands and begin to gently massage paying extra care to your forehead, temples, and jawline.
- Massage your body by applying more oil and start with your neck then move to your shoulders and arms. You will use long, gentle strokes for your limbs, and for your joints, circular motions. Move downwards towards your chest, stomach, and back. For your stomach, you will massage clockwise to follow the natural flow of your digestive system.
- Massage your legs. Apply more oil and start with your thighs then move to your knees, feet, and toes.
- Let the oil sit for about 10-15 minutes. During this time you can meditate, do breathing exercises, or sit listening to peaceful sounds. This will enhance a meditative state.
- Shower time. Take a warm shower using mild soap to remove excess oil.
- Gently pat dry with a clean towel.
- Put on clean clothes and you are ready to go!
- Repeat weekly and enjoy your self-care time.
Now that you are rejuvenated, refreshed, and renewed you can start your day.
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