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Ayurvedic Massage Abhyangha - Ayurvedic Massage

Ayurvedic Medicine


Ayurvedic Medicine

Prakriti / Constitution

Ayurvedic Medicine


Massage reduces muscle-tension and relieves pain, opens the pores of the skin, thus eliminating poisons from the body through sweat. It also speeds up blood circulation.

The literal meaning of 'massage' is manipulation of the soft tissues of the body using the hands. In naturopathy, massage occupies a very important place in the treatment of diseases of all kinds. For centuries, massage has been used as a remedy in India, Greece, Rome, China, Egypt and a host of other countries.


According to the modern system of physiotherapy, the process begins with massaging upper limbs (arms) and lower limbs (legs) followed by the chest, abdomen, back and hips, and ending with the face and the head. As far as possible, massage with the hands to derive complete benefit.
According to modern therapy, the massage strokes are directed towards the heart. According to Ayurveda, massage is known as Snehan (oleation) and should be given to a patient before Panchakarma treatment.

Panchakarmas are the five basic principles to clean and detoxify or purify the body.

They are:

  • Vamana (emesis)
  • Virechana (puragation)
  • Nruha (medicated anema)
  • Anuvasana (unctuous enema - 
    preparation with oil or other unctuous substance)
  • Nasya (inhalation therapy)

Massage should always be followed by Svedana (fermentation). Snehana and Svedana are the two purvakarmas that should be given before Panchakarma treatment.


1.  Massage is used to improve blood circulation, to reduce edema, adhesions in tissues after injury, reduce muscular spasm and improve muscle tone.

2.  Massage reduces muscle-tension and relieves pain, opens the pores of the skin, thus eliminating poisons from the body through sweat.

3.  It also speeds up blood circulation, hence reducing swelling (edema), relieving tension of the nerves and soothing them.

4.  It stimulates the digestive system and activates the urinary system.

Rules on massage oil

1.   For patients with pains, use Narayan Taila, or Mahanarayan Taila.

2.   For weakness, use Narayan Taila, Chandan Bala Lakshdi Taila.

3.   For patients with joint pains (rheumatism), use Saindhavadi Taila.

4.   For patients with burning sensation problems and sleeplessness, use Bhringraj Taila and Brahmi Taila.

5.   For patients with skin diseases, use Kushthararakshas Taila, Nimba Taila and Bakuchi Taila.

Massage produces heat. After half an hour of getting a massage done, a hot water bath or shower can be taken. The head should be bathed with lukewarm water.


1.   Massage is not recommended in any type of fevers.

2.   Massage is not recommended during pregnancy.

3.   Abdominal massage should be avoided in case of  diarrhea, ulcers, appendicitis and tumors in the 

Excessive oil after massage should be removed with gram flour (besan) and not with soap. Peeli mitti (Indian yellow clay) is also excellent for washing the body. It has a cooling effect on the skin and nerves.

What is the first thing that you do before taking medication, when you are suffering from a headache? Normally you would rub your temples. Have you ever wondered why do you do that? The simple answer is that you feel better and application of medicated oil while rubbing relaxes you more.

The above action is a type of massage that your hands are unknowingly performing. Have you ever realized the fact that we practice massage daily in our routine life. Shaking hands, patting, embracing all these acts are types of massage.  

In Ayurveda there is a description of marmas or the vital points that play an important role in the treatment of the disease. Massage with medicated oils acts as a remedy for certain diseases as well as an energizer for the body.

Massage therapy is the touch therapy, which has a feeling of warmth and being considered and cared for. It has a positive touch towards life. Thus massage is an effective aid to relaxation, massage helps to soothe away stress, tense and aching muscles, relieving headaches and helping sleep problems.  

Massage therapy has been practiced all over the world in different ways. In countries like Afghanistan, China, India, Japan, Thailand mostly in the eastern countries, it is commonly practiced and they are named as Swedish massage, Chinese massage, Indian massage, Thai massage, Shiatsu, Turkish bath massage and Moroccan massage and accordingly. In these countries importance has been given to the nature and the natural approach towards a disease.

For a massage the basic requirement is the two hands of the person performing the massage. With them he can create wonders. At one moment, a massage can calm and soothe your anxiety and put you to sleep and at the same time it can stimulate the circulation of the blood, remove fatigue and make you feel relaxed.

What exactly does he do? With his experienced hands he invigorates the body, tones up the muscles and gives a feeling of renewed energy. Thus you feel relaxed and zealous. Hence massage therapy has a dual effect.  

A small example of the wonders of massage is, one of my patients has a very busy schedule working as an editor and a copywriter. After the days work all her energy and excitement gets drained off and she gets quite irritated to play with her kids and manage the household work. I treated her by massaging her soles with oil medicated with lemon and then with the same oil I also gave her a light facial massage. She felt quite relaxed and said that she felt energetic enough to face the pranks of her kids. This is the experience of practically everybody who has felt the touch of a massage.  

As Dr. J. H. Kellogg (Author of Art of Massage, 1895) says, “the effects of simple touch are quite remarkable. Pain is lessened, by the simple contact of the hand.” This therapy can be used to cure many diseases and is useful in many ways like to relieve stress, for aching feet, sprains and strains, for problems related to backaches and headaches etc.

One should keep in mind that in this therapy it is important to exert the exact required pressure and use of properly blended oils and also taking in consideration the age, sex and the ailment the person is suffering from.  

As Dr. Jones said on the results of the age concern project, 1996 that “If the relaxation, touch, personal warmth and a calming influence have such profound effects ...the use of alternative therapies… should be extended and made easily available as part of the care system in long term situations.”

This therapy combined with the main medicine will help to relieve the patient from many troubles and help him get cured both physically as well as mentally.  


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