Massage (Abhyanga) is a type of passive exercise. It is especially good for weak people, who are unable to exercise. Regular massage is the key to good health, and is necessary both for prevention and cure of diseases.
Ayurvedic massage is an important part of daily life in India. A traditional technique used for balancing body and mind, it dates back 3,000 years and is used to promote to all generations within the family, but especially to the younger members, the importance of health and well-being.
Hippocrates (circa 400 BCE) described massage as an important adjunct to healing. Medical studies continue to emphasize the importance of this therapy to good health. Massage promotes rapid recovery from workouts with less soreness, and delivers some of the benefits of exercise. It tones muscles, increases circulation, relieves congestion that interferes with nutrition to tissues, stimulates capillaries, releases endorphins and eases tension.
Ayurvedic massage incorporates warm oils and herbs along specific energy points to help restore balance to the body. Massage strokes, oils and herbs are selected based on each individual client`s need. Benefits of ayurvedic massage include increased vitality, reduced stress and relaxation.
Ayurvedic treatments involve establishing an individuals constitution and the nature of the imbalance and then seeking to return the individuals body to a state of healthy balance. The treatments consist of the use of herbal remedies, specialist ayurvedic massages using herb-infused ayurvedic massage oils, nutritional advice tailored to bring balance to a person`s individual constitution and specially selected yoga exercises.
An ayurvedic massage is one part of the traditional detoxification and rejuvenation program of India called panchakarma, in which the entire body is vigorously massaged with large amounts of warm oil and herbs to remove toxins from the system.
With the client`s permission, oil is also poured into the ears, between the eyebrows and at specific chakras, or energy points, during techniques known respectively as karna purana, shirodhara, and marma chikitsa. These treatments have been modified to meet the needs of the West and have been powerful in their effects upon the mind and nervous system - calming, balancing, and bringing both a heightened sense of awareness and deep inner peace. The techniques can be done either as stand-alone treatments or in conjunction with the ayurvedic body massage.
The basis for effectively performing all of the various ayurvedic massage techniques is a thorough understanding of the primordial energies of the five elements (ether, air, fire, water, and earth) and of vata, pitta, and kapha - the three basic constitutional types (similar to the ancient Greek method of mind/body classification). This knowledge allows the therapist to determine not only which ayurvedic massage techniques to use, but also how to customize treatments by selecting the proper oils and herbs and the rate and pressure of massage strokes to maximize the benefits for each client.
[ Easy way to stay Healthy | Techniques | Methods | Benefits of Massaging ]
An Easy Way to Stay Healthy
Oil massage is the most common type of massage. Oil should be chosen according to the season and the personal constitution. Sesame oil is the best for massaging according to Ayurveda. In the winter one can also use mustard oil, though it should not be used in summer. However, those in the habit of constant internal use of mustard oil can massage with it in all seasons.
Coconut oil and sunflower oil are also good for massaging in hot climate. Olive oil can be used in the winter as it is heating in nature. People with a vata type of body should use warming oils, and those with pitta type will benefit from cooling oils. The kapha types should have dry massage or should use mustard oil after warming. In order to determine what type you are take a constitution test.
Techniques of Massage
If Patient is thin, dry skinned, old aged and suffering from visiation of Vata dosha (Vatvyadhi) then Oil ,Ghee, Vasa etc.is used for massage.If patient is fat, having excessive Kapha dosha aggravation, having low digestive fire (Mandagni) then use of oil is contra-indicated. They are fit to undergo Udvartana (dry massage).
According to Ayurveda the application of oil over the limbs must be in Anuloma gati(according to the direction of hairs) and over the joints in circular movements.
Dalhana the commentator of Sushruta has mentioned that when Abhyanga is done all over the body for 300 matrakala (1 matrakal = 1/3 second) the snehadravya reaches the roots of the hair. Similarly it penetrates the
- Rasa` dhatu in 400 matrakala.
- Rakta dhatu in 500 matrakala.
- Mansa dhatu in 600 matrakala.
- Med dhatu in 700 matrakala.
- Asthi dhatu in 800 matrakala.
- Majja dhatu in 900 matrakala.
Thus it takes approximately 5 minuts to get maximum effect of Abhyanga after application.
Verious medicated oils and ghritas viz. Chandan bala taila, Mahanarayan Taila, are used for Abhyanga as per the body constitution, condition of Dosha, disease, season etc.
Methods of Massage
One can either start massage from the feet or from head. In self massage one generally starts from feet, then the legs, hands, abdomen, back, chest, neck, shoulders, face and head. While receiving massage from some one it is generally started from head. There are no specific reasons for this.
First apply the oil on the part which is to be massaged. Then massage the part gently with palms till the oil penetrates the body. When massaging, upward strokes should be employed. The motion should be uniform (not too fast and not too slow) and pressure should be applied only on the muscles, not the bones. Different types of actions of fingers and hands are used for massaging different organs.
One should receive a massage on an empty stomach. The best time for massaging is early morning or evening. One may wash the oil off after massage. Wait for 20-30 minutes before washing. There should be no anxiety, stress, anger, and worry. The person should concentrate fully on the part being massaged. It is better to get massage from an expert but you can do it yourself too.
One should avoid taking a massage when there is too much mucus in the body (aggravation of Kapha), when suffering from fever, and after one has undertaken cleansing therapies like vomiting (emesis) and purgation.
Benefits of Massage
Massage stimulates the internal functions of the body and provides nourishment to various body tissues. It helps in cleansing the toxins from channels. Massaging with oil provides lubrication to various body mechanisms. It stimulates the different agni (enzymes), increases assimilation of food and increases the vital body fluid called the Ojas. It works at both mental and physical levels of the body. It is beneficial in the case of insomnia, weakness of nerves, laziness, exhaustion, general debility, dry and unhealthy skin.