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Abhyangam (Ayurvedic massage)

Abhyangam is a Sanskrit word, which means application of oil all over the body. Ancient Ayurvedic text books recommend  this as an integral part of the daily routine to all who wish good health and longevity of life. It is relaxing and refreshing full body massage with medicated herbal oils to take care of physical, mental, emotional well being of the person while balancing the doshas.

Procedure:
Abhyangam is performed over a specially designed wooden table (Droni) by trained masseurs. The sesame oil processed with various herbs is selected based on persons doshic type. An Ayurvedic physician can access this and decide the appropriate oils and exact way of massage. The massage begins after offering prayers. A lukewarm oil is applied followed by a body massage in 7 different postures.

They are

  1. Sitting
  2. Supine
  3. Right lateral
  4. Lying face down
  5. Left lateral
  6. Supine
  7. Sitting

After the procedure the person is directed to take a herbal steam bath followed by a hot shower.

Duration of the treatment: 45-60 minutes

Ayurvedic classical texts state that abhyangam when performed daily has following benefits:

  • Delays aging
  • Removes fatigue
  • Pacifies Vata dosha
  • Improves eyesight
  • Induces longevity
  • Induces sleep
  • Provides resistance against disease and disharmony
  • Improves complexion and luster of the skin
  • Provides resistance against injuries and gives power to recover quickly
  • Subsides ailments caused by Vata dosha and Kapha dosha
  • Increases physical strength

Abhyangam is also an important and integral part of Panchakarma procedure as pre-operative procedure. Here the oil is applied to the entire body with a particular type of massage which helps the toxins to move towards the gastrointestinal tract. This also makes the superficial and deep tissues soft and supple.

As pitcher becomes resistant and firm by smearing oil, the skin and body become strong , bright and resistant to pain and exertion; the obstructing Vata dosha is calmed down by applying the oil.
 (Ref: Charaka Samhita sutrastana Chapter 5;Verse:85)

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