What is Ayurvedic Massage
What is Ayurvedic Massage Basel (What is Abhayanga?)
“The body of one who uses oil massage regularly does not become affected much even if subjected to accidental injuries, 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
In the spiritual evolution of a man, where Ayurveda is the body, Yoga is the mind and Tantra is the spirit. Together they form an interdependent trinity of life. Massage is probably the oldest touch-healing art known to western society, but research has indicated that Westerners are reluctant to touch one another. Many people attempt to hide anxieties and fears within their bodies with the hope that the fears will remain a secret from themselves and the world. Eventually, however, they will return in the form of pain and discomfort.
A common Ayurvedic recommendation is the daily oil massage, called Abhyanga in Sanskrit. Literally, Abhyanga means: smearing the body with unctuous or oily substance. While the tradition of Ayurveda is full of many types of massage and many benefits are extended to them we will examine Abhyanga particularly and discuss why Abhyanga is a useful preventative therapy. Ayurvedic massage techniques used include tapping, kneading and squeezing as well as the more traditional massage strokes you would expect.
Oil massage has several components
1) Touch as emotional pleasure from stimulation
2) Touch/pressure releasing tension and removing impurities as pleasure
3) Oil has qualities and actions which are imparted to the physiology and which bring about changes and pleasure
The Emotional Connection
According to modern physiology the skin functions as an enormous sense organ. Its millions of nerve endings serve as antennas or receivers for the body, keeping it informed of changes in the environment. Specialized receptors make it possible for the body to detect sensations of light touch (Meissners corpuscles), and pressure (Pacinian corpuscles) as well as pain, heat, and cold.
Summarizing this section we understand an additional benefit of massage comes from touching the senses in a pleasurable manner–lightly, for example. The emotional benefit provides physical well being as the mind is calmed, which reduces tension throughout the body.
Release of Stress by Pressure
107 points in the physiology (called Marmas) which are most lively in expressing the connection of Consciousness (our most fundamental nature) to physiology. It is said that touching these vital points can have either positive or negative results. Proper massage of these points including such exercise as Yoga Asanās) helps dissolve stresses or remove blocks accumulated there. Removing stress improves physiology directly.
“Rubbing and friction tend to dilate the orifice of the (superficial) ducts and increase the temperature of the skin. Rubbing specifically improves the complexion of females and gives a lovely appearance, cleanliness, beauty, and suppleness to the female form. Friction cures itches, rashes, and eruptions.” The relaxation of tissues brought about in this manner helps promote elimination of impurities. And the motion of rubbing provides the impetus for moving the impurities to the channels of elimination.
“During physical exercise or ordinary work, some metabolic products get accumulated in the neuro-muscular junctions (Marma points?) leading to fatigue. If the neuro-muscular junctions are kept clean, and if both nerve and muscle tissues are toned up, then the person could avert fatigue in spite of hard work and physical exercise. This is possible through massage therapy.”
Movement of soft tissue probably helps wastes (free radicals?) and nutrition to flow in appropriate manner by helping to relax tension in the tissue. When waste and tension are removed then tissue and organs return to their ground-state status of natural functioning–a restful alertness where sensory apparatus is ready and able to function.
Benefits of Ayurvedic Massage
Benefits of applying oil to the body (Abhyanga):
Produces softness, strength and colour to the body
Decreases the effects of ageing
Bestows good vision
Nourishes the body
Benefits sleep patterns
Strengthens the body’s tolerance
Imparts a firmness to the limbs
Imparts tone and vigour to the Dhatus (tissues) of the body
Stimulates the internal organs of the body, including circulation
Pacifies Vata and Pitta and Harmonizes Pitta
Benefits of applying oil to the scalp
Makes hair grow luxuriantly, thick, soft and glossy
Soothes and invigorates the sense organs
Removes facial wrinkles
Benefits of applying oil to the ears
Benefits stiff neck
Benefits stiffness in the jaw
Benefits of applying oil to the feet
Coarseness, stiffness, roughness, fatigue and numbness of the feet are alleviated
Strength and firmness of the feet is attained
Vision is enhanced
Sciatica is benefited
Local veins and ligaments are benefited
Benefits of Ayurvedic Face Massage
In addition to detoxifying your face, Ayurvedic face massage helps your facial muscles relax from their contracted state. It removes any stress-induced blockages that are present in the muscles and in doing so, also ensures that you feel relaxed and rejuvenated. Regular massage can make frown lines disappear and make your skin appear healthy and toned. It also stimulates lymphatic drainage and the circulation of blood. In fact Ayurvedic face massage is the most non-invasive and natural face lift that you can get.
Ayurvedic massage uses both dry and oil massage according to the needs of the individual but oil massage is most commonly used. With some similarities to a typical western Aromatherapy massage.