Abhyanga

Definition - What does Abhyanga mean?

Abhyanga is a special type of Ayurvedic warm oil massage that involves anointing oneself with healing dosha-specific oils. It can also be performed by an Ayurvedic massage therapist. A Sanskrit term, abhyanga means "massaging the body's limbs" or "glowing body." It is derived from abhi, meaning "into" or "glow," and anga meaning "limb."

Regular practice of abhyanga massage promotes overall health and longevity. Performing abhyanga on oneself is a wonderful way to connect with one's body and express self-love. It is especially good for balancing the various doshas, with particular benefits for those with a vata dosha imbalance.

Yogic practitioners greatly benefit from performing abhyanga as the massage helps to release toxins from the body, thereby complementing the health benefits of yoga.

Yogapedia explains Abhyanga

To perform abhyanga massage:

  • Choose the right oil based on your dosha type and pour it in a bowl.
  • Warm the oil by placing the bowl in a container of boiling water.
  • Once the oil gets warm, take the bowl out of the hot water.
  • Remove your clothes and sit on a towel.
  • Dip your fingertips into the oil, taking some oil on your palms.
  • Start by massaging your scalp, then apply oil on your face and proceed to work down the body to massage.
  • Use upward and downward strokes while massaging your hands and legs. Use circular motion for the joints, chest and abdomen.
  • Massage for about 15 minutes and let the oil permeate the skin for another 15 minutes.
  • Using your towel, rub off excess oil and shower.

The benefits of abhyanga include:

  • Promotes circulation.
  • Softens and strengthens the skin.
  • Relieves toxins.
  • Nourishes the body.
  • Promotes skin health.
  • Improves digestion.
  • Energizes both body and mind.
  • Supports sleep.
  • Postpones aging.

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