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How to do Ayurvedic Massage

How, when and why, and what oils to use

How can a ritual so luxuriously relaxing, so blissful and comforting as a full-body warm oil massage rejuvenate your body and mind, getting them ready every day for peak performance?

Do you have times when you feel foggy and can’t think clearly?

There is an explanation for this seeming contradiction. Accumulated stress and toxins in the mind and body dissolve during the daily massage. A daily full-body warm oil massage therefore acts as a powerful recharger and rejuvenator of the mind and body.

"Abhyanga" - the full body oil massage - is an integral part of the daily routine recommended by Ayurveda for overall health and well-being.

Traditional Ayurvedic texts are eloquent about the benefits: "Give yourself a full body oil massage on a daily basis. It is nourishing, pacifies the doshas, relieves fatigue, provides stamina, pleasure and perfect sleep, enhances the complexion and the lustre of the skin, promotes longevity and nourishes all parts of the body".

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: Sutrasthana: V: 88-89


Some of the benefits traditionally associated with regular performance of this pleasant daily routine are:

  • increased circulation, especially to nerve endings
  • revitalising of the muscles and the whole physiology
  • soothing for the nerves
  • lubrication of the joints
  • increased mental alertness


Ayurvedic Massage


Ayurvedic massage eliminates impurities from the body


How to do an Ayurvedic abhyanga full-body massage

Abhyanga provides the means for trans-dermal absorption of the health-promoting qualities of the materials used in the massage. It helps the skin, the largest organ in the body, perform its diverse functions efficiently, whether it is allowing toxins to be released from the body or nourishment to be absorbed by the tissues.

It is like oiling the engine of your car - do it regularly and your engine will be in peak condition and give you years and years of trouble-free performance. The Ayurvedic massage is traditionally performed in the morning, before your bath or shower, to facilitate the release of toxins that may have accumulated during the previous night.


Preparing your Ayurveda massage oil with organic sesame oil


Ayurvedic massage eliminates impurities from the body

The best oil for most people is sesame oil. Maharishi AyurVeda offers a range of herbalised oils.

If you choose sesame oil for your massage, look for cold-pressed, chemical-free organic sesame oil for the best results, such as the Organic Sesame Oil offered by Maharishi AyurVeda. Sesame oil contains antioxidant properties, which are increased with the curing process, and is helpful in protecting the skin from free radical damage. It is considered highly nourishing for the physiology.


Sesame Oil


To "cure" or ripen the sesame oil, heat the oil to 100 degrees Centigrade. Remove from heat once this temperature is reached, cool and store for use as needed. It should be used within 6 months, and not be re-cured. Of course, you should observe safety precautions when curing oil. All oils are highly flammable. Use low heat, and don't leave the oil on heat unattended.

Organic Ripened Sesame Oil


How to do an Ayurvedic abhyanga full-body massage


Use comfortably warm massage oil. (Store your massage oil in a plastic flip-top and warm it by holding the container under running hot water for a few minutes) Apply the warm oil lightly to the entire body. Then massage the entire body, applying even pressure with the whole hand -- palm and fingers.

Apply light pressure on sensitive areas such as the abdomen or the heart. Use more oil and spend more time where nerve endings are concentrated, such as the soles of the feet, palms of the hands and along the base of the fingernails. Circular motions over rounded areas such as your head or joints, and straight strokes on straight areas such as your arms and legs, work best.

After you're done, relax for 10-15 minutes, letting the oil and the massage do their work. The longer the oil is on, the deeper it penetrates. During this time you can read something relaxing or uplifting, rest, or shave, cut nails, and get ready for the day.

Remove excess oil, and then follow with a relaxing warm bath or shower. And if time is short, just oil the head and feet. If your schedule doesn't allow for a daily massage, try and fit it in at least three or four times a week.


Ayurvedic Massage


You'll find it's worth it!


Herbalised Massage Oils

Herbalised massage oils contain a blend of carefully chosen herbs known for their ability to support the physiology and balance the mind. Daily massage with a herbalised massage oil has twice the beneficial power - the benefits from the performance of the actual massage and the added balancing intelligence of the herbs.

Country Mallow, Winter Cherry and Sensitive Plant are some Ayurvedic herbs you'll find in herbalised massage oils. Country Mallow is renowned for its nourishing effect on the physiology. Winter Cherry, a powerful adaptogenic, aids the body's natural ability to withstand stress, and helps balance the mind and emotions. Sensitive Plant helps nerve regeneration. The Maharishi AyurVeda Massage Oils are carefully blended to correct Vata, Pitta and Kapha imbalances respectively.

Rejuvenation Massage Oils

For special needs, Ayurvedic Vaidyas formulate even more specific massage oils. For example, the Rejuvenation Massage Oil for Men and Women are especially helpful for improving the quality of your sleep if massaged on to the lower arms, hands, lower legs and feet before bed. If you use these oils for Abhyanga, you can add the same amount again of an appropriate base oil.

Ayurvedic Massage Oils


Important Additional Advice!


  • Use liquid soap to shower after abhyanga to prevent drains from clogging. Clean the drains periodically with soda crystals.
  • Buy inexpensive towels to be used after showering and wash them separately with extra detergent (up to 2-3 times normal for very oily materials) at a high temperature. Pre-soaking with enzyme detergents, soda crystals or other oil removing preparations helps.
  • Oil left in cloth may catch fire spontaneously. This is most likely to happen if oil is not completely removed from clothes and if after drying the clothes are left in the dryer in a hot tight ball. Therefore dry the towels at a lower heat in your dryer, remove them from the dryer as soon as the cycle finishes and hang them up to cool.
  • The danger of spontaneous ignition posed by different oils and fats is measured by their Iodine Numbers the lower the number the more saturated the fat and the less the danger - linseed 190, corn 120, sesame 110, sunflower 100, almond 100, castor 85, olive 85, coconut 10.

DISCLAIMER: The information in this document is presented for the sole purpose of imparting education on Maharishi AyurVeda and neither the information nor the products are intended to diagnose, treat, mitigate, cure or prevent any disease. If you have a medical condition, or are pregnant or lactating, please consult a health professional and it is recommended that you speak with your physician before making significant changes to your diet or routine.


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