Healing Qualities of Abhyanga
Abhyanga is the act of giving oneself a full-body Ayurvedic massage, using warm oils that help promote overall health and well-being. When applied with a purposeful touch, balance is restored and strengthened in the body and the mind.
There is a multitude of benefits associated with Abhyanga, namely:
- Emotional balance
- Improved body awareness
- Pain and stress relief
- Blood pressure modulation
- Nourishes the body
- And much more.
It can be seen as a protector of sorts, shielding you from environmental changes and preserving and strengthening your self-confidence and will power in the process.
Some of the best oils to use are mustard, corn, and almond as they are warming oils that are best for Kapha. However, you are not limited to these oils, Abhyanga can also be done with herbal oils such as tulsi, eucalyptus, and rosemary, which may be ideal as these add more Kapha pacifying properties.
In terms of the amount of oil you should use, less oil is needed for Kapha Abhyanga.
Another type of massage that works well for Kapha is Udvartana, which is massaging with powders. You can use Triphala powder or chickpea flour. It is said the help the removal of Kapha from the system as well as smoothing and cleansing the skin in the process. It also doesn’t hurt that the cleanup afterwards is a lot easier than with oil.
When you create your Abhyanga routine, there are some things to be aware of before you begin. Because this will become a regular weekly habit, it is important to put careful thought into setting it up.
Find a spot that is warm (not cold), private, and comfortable as it is recommended to use the same spot each time you oil massage. When your body calls for a massage, it will feel naturally pulled to the regular area you have chosen for this act of self-care.
Always warm the oil bottle before you begin your massage - placing it in a tea mug of hot water, for example.
You can oil massage daily, but it’s important to set aside 10 - 20 minutes once a week for a good and deep session. It’s not something you want to rush through, you want to take your time and enjoy it. Dry brushing - Garshana - is also nice to do before Abhyanga as the former energizes and the latter calms and nourishes.
Your body will intuitively know where to start, so give your hands free rein as they shape and explore what needs to get back into circulation. They will naturally sense what needs to be soothed, rubbed, or kneaded. If self-touch is foreign to you, start by oil massaging your feet before bed. Over time, you can work up to your hands and head, and then your limbs. And eventually, you might feel ready to do a full-body massage.
If you’d like, you can make it a family affair. It will become a habit for your children if they also engage in occasional oil massage. By doing this, they will learn that self-massage is an important part of caring for and maintaining your body. It can get quite messy, so opt for your least favourite towels.
You can opt for oil massaging before or after your shower. However, if it is done before your shower, be sure to clean your drains with heated diluted vinegar. This is will help prevent your pipes from clogging.
This act of self-care and love to the temple that is your body is invaluable during the Kapha season, so please be sure to do it with an attentive mind and heart.
You are always welcome to experience the Abhyanga massage at Delight Yoga as well as other Ayurvedic massages from some of our expert Ayurvedic teachers such as Victoria Raven Hyndman, Amanda Dries, Eva Ugolini, and more.