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An Ayurvedic massage (known as "Abhyanga") is very relaxing and energizing. It can be self-administered daily and usually takes 10 to 30 minutes. Its benefits are innumerable: it offers rest to the nervous system by providing a layer of protection to the skin, tones the muscles, and lubricates the joints.

According to the way they massage is given and the type of oil used, it can bring benefits to all Ayurvedic principles (or doshas). In general, the massage will make your skin bright, moist and healthy. It addition, if practiced daily, the muscles will become strong and tonified and they will become less prone to injuries. Classical texts states that this massage retards aging, improves circulation and nourishes all the body tissues.

In addition, using an appropriate massage oil supports healthy emotions, offering serenity and a sense of presence and relaxation. Massage help with Vata problems, especially related with stress, anxiety and fear. For this, the massage should emphasize softer and slower movements. For Pitta, a daily massage can help with emotions like anger and rancor. For this, the massage should focus on movements that cover many body parts in a slow manner. Finally, you can help Kapha to increase circulation and remove lethargy and depression.

How to choose the massage oil

The massage must be carried out with an oil suitable for your Ayurvedic constitution. In general, we recommend sesame oil for Vata, sunflower or coconut for Pitta, and Safflower for Kapha. Overall, Vata apply more oil, Pitta should use a moderate amount and Kapha should limit the amount. You can also add essential oils for aromatherapy and which also allow the oil to be absorbed better. For example, you can use essence of Sandalwood for Vata, rose for Pitta, and Patchouli for Kapha.

Furthermore, you can use oils prepared with Ayurvedic herbs if you desire to treat a particular condition, but these are easier to buy prepared.

If your skin is very oily, it may not be necessary to use oil. As an alternative you can use a little chickpea flour, which will help remove excess oil.

Steps for a successful massage

You do not need too many materials to carry out the massage. You should use of 1-3 ounces (30ml, 90ml) of constitution oil suitable, which should preferably be lukewarm. We recommend that you have at hand paper towels, and a towel that can get dirty with oil. Preferably do the massage in the morning.

Step 1: Heat the oil: this can be accomplished by putting it in a tightly closed container and immersing it for about 5 minutes in hot water. You can also heat the oil directly in a pot. The oil should be neither too hot nor too cold; it should be comfortable to the skin.
Step 2: Apply the oil all over the body. Be careful about slipping, for which you may stand in the towel.
Step 3: Massage the oil with both hands. It is recommended that you start in the extremities and give attention to every part of the body. Pay attention to the joints and abdomen, for which you should use a clockwise circular motion. A massage which includes the scalp is particularly relaxing. Take your time; give yourself at least 5 minutes of massage.
Step 4: It is recommended to wait a moment so that the oil is absorbed in the body. Ideally, you can sit with eyes closed for a few minutes and breathe deeply.
Step 5: Take a shower with warm water. Be very careful about slipping, we suggest you use a bath mat. It is recommended that you do not take all the oil with soap, but leave a slight coating if it is convenient.