Abhyanga or Ayurvedic Self Massage

Abhyanga or Ayurvedic Self Massage

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Part 1: Benefits of Abhyanga or Ayurvedic Self-Massage. (This Blog)

Part 2: Dosha specific oils for Abhyanga and how to perform Abhyanga or Self Massage

Part 3: Best time to do Abhyanga. When NOT to perform Abhayanga.

Abhyanga or Ayurvedic Self Massage with Oil is a traditional practice that is Pitta and Vata Dosha Pacifiying. 

Ever wanted to be treated like Cleopatra or like a princess? Or a King? You don’t need a kingdom or wealth to make you feel like one. All you need is a bottle of pure, extra virgin, cold pressed oil! Oh yes!

When I went to school for health and nutrition – I was fascinated with Ayurveda and the ways of self-care practices. Not because I thought they were magical and mystical (and believe me they are that too!) but because my ancestors followed similar self-care routine. I have seen my great-grandmother, my grandmother, my mother and all my aunts mostly using Ayurveda in their daily practices without even knowing that it is Ayurveda.

I have talked about one such practice I learned from my father – “tongue cleaning” which is an essential self-care practice that one must do daily. Read my previous blog on benefits of tongue cleaning and learn how this simple hygiene practice can boost your immune system.

Another wonderful self-care practice in known as “Abhyanga” or “Self Massage with Oil.” Since I started doing Abhayanga or self-massage I have not applied lotions on my body. Reason being – the skin eats through its pores too! So whatever you put on the skin goes deep inside our body. Therefore if I use lotions that may contain alcohol, chemicals, petroleum etc. my body will be consuming all of that as well. Oils are extremely nutritive and nourishing. I find them safe and hmm….oh so deliciously relaxing.

It is said in Ayurveda that “anyone wanting to promote positive health should use massage therapy daily.” It is indeed a restorative process that wards of exhaustion, old age and stress. I personally experience two opposite benefits from self-massage with oils. Having a Vata mind I often am unable to fall asleep easily. There was this one night where I just could not fall asleep. I did meditation, tried to relax and shut off any lights but it just won’t come! Around 2 AM in the morning I decided to get up and try the new “Avocado Oil” I had brought that day and applied it all over my body. And guess what??? I had a sound sleep until 8 AM. I have also experienced an opposite effect when I applied oil after showering and before going to work. The whole day I was super energetic and decided every time I do yoga I would apply oil!

“The body of one who uses oil massage regularly does not become affected much even if subjected to injury or strenuous work. By using oil massage daily, a person is endowed with pleasant touch, trimmed body parts and becomes strong, charming and least affected by old age.” – Charaka Samhita Vol. 1, V: 88-89

Benefits of Abhayanga or Self Massage:

1. It unlocks the body’s innate ability to heal.

 2. Balances our hormones through the touch therapy.

 3. Strengthens the skin elasticity. Promotes softness and luster of the skin.  Abhayanga

 4. Makes skin glow by making if soft and bringing colour back to the skin.

 5. The surface of the skin releases toxins gently and removed effectively.

 6. Oil massage is definitely anti-aging because it promotes youthfulness by nourishing our skin.

 7. Oil massage reduces stress and promotes sleep.

8. Increases circulations internally, stimulates organs

9. Promotes flexibility. It also lubricates our tissues, muscles, joints and strengthens the limbs.

 10. Using this ‘touch’ therapy releases healing chemicals that has health promoting effects on our bodies from inside out.

 11. Regular massage detoxifies the body’s tissues.

 12. Oil Massage calms the mind and relaxes the body.

 13. It enhances the immune system and increases longevity.

 14. Increases energy and stamina.

 15. You will experience increased focus or mental alertness.

What Conditions Can Be Improved by Performing Abhyanga?:

1. Nourishing or feeding the skin. Most oils have Vitamin E and other nutrients

2. Reducing stress and relaxing.

3. Insomnia or broken sleep pattern.

 4. Muscular pain or any type of body pain.

 5. Sciatica.

 6. Arthiritis

 7. Back pain

 8. Eczema.

 9. Psoriasis.

 10. Improving circulation.

 11. Fatigue and exhaustion.

 12. Anxiety and depression.

 13. Boosting immunity

 14. Headaches

 15. Improving vision

Note: I also use oil to remove my make up!

Abhyanga is cleansing, relaxing, balancing and restorative. It allows trans-dermal absorption of nutrients from the oils and herbs used for massaging. Self-massage supports the largest organ of the body (skin) to effectively eliminate toxins and nourish the tissues.   

I will be releasing part 2 and 3 soon. Please stay tuned and leave a comment if you ever performed Abhyanga. Share with friends and family by clicking on the social media links!


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  1. I completely agree with you about the skin absorbing what we put on. Staying away from petroleum, parabens, animal by-products (esp. containing hormones), and artificial dyes and fragrances will make a huge difference in our health over time. I enjoyed your post! 🙂

  2. This is interesting! I have never try this before, but surely I will add it to my bucket list. Thanks for Sharing, commenting from Blog Formatting

  3. wow – such great information! Thanks for opening my eyes to the fact that my skin absorbs nutrients also. I hadn’t thought about the affect lotions had on my health. I appreciate the new awareness!


  4. I found this tips very useful. I did not know avocado oil/olive oil can help you fall asleep and it make you energetic as well. Definately going to try it! Thanks Nahid!

  5. Thank you for such useful information. Actually after knowing the reality if cosmetics which are loaded with unknown chemicals I couldn’t see any point in putting those on my skin. I started searching for some natural ways to keep you healthy and beautiful. I also want to start abhyanga oil massage now as aa part of my daily lifestyle. I feel really sad as being Indian we should value the wisdom our forefathers earned over years and use it for our well-being, not running behind oasis of easy and shortcuts .

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