Why You Must Start Practicing Abhyanga: Ayurvedic Self-Oil Massage

Everyone loves massages, but few of us get them nearly enough.

However, you can receive all the benefits of a massage- plus more- without spending a dime on a masseuse.

The answer? Abhyanga self-oil massage.

What is Abhyanga?

The Ayurvedic practice of Abhyanga involves a self-oil massage to hydrate our skin, stimulate our lympathic systems and enhance circulation.

Why Practice Abhyanga?

Self-oil massage allows you to come into close contact with your body, noticing your dry spots, rashes and imbalances. It is very nurturing to involve the sense of touch and it actually promotes healing of the body.

It is so much healthier to use oils to moisturize your body than over-the-counter creams, which are full of chemicals that are absorbed right into your blood stream. Our skin is our largest organ and whatever we put into our skin is akin to eating it. Don’t rub something on your skin that you wouldn’t eat because they are both going to the same place –> your blood stream.


Recommended: Don’t know what Panchakarma is? Read this article


How to Practice Abhyanga

  • Typically, oil is heated for enhanced absorption but if you do not have time to heat, then just use it room temperate.
  • To practice abhyanga, come into a peaceful, meditative space.
  • Play some music, light some candles, let go of the stress of the day.
  • Pour some oil on your hands and rub it to warm it.
  • Beginning with your arms, gently massage the oil into your skin.
  • Continue massaging in long circular directions, always moving towards your heart.
  • Massage your stomach, stimulating your organs. Make sure to always massage counter-clockwise, in the direction of your digestion.
  • Add more oil and massage your back-side and legs, making your way down to your feet. Massage between every toe.
  • Notice how much oil you absorb and where. Most of us are particularly dry on the backs of our arms and thighs. Pay particular attention to those spots.
  • Let the oil sit at least 10 minutes before bathing. I recommend practicing Abhyanga before bed to relax your body and let the oil absorb into your skin overnight. You can also increase benefits by stepping into a steam room to really let the oil steep into your skin.

What Type of Oil To Use

  • For Kapha and Pitta types, use coconut oil, which is more cooling. Coconut oil is also a good choice in the warmer summer months.
  • For Vata types or in the winter months, use sesame oil, which is more warming and grounding.

Benefits of Abhyanga Self-Oil Massage

  • Relaxed state-of-mind
  • Heals adrenal fatigue
  • Moisturized skin
  • Rejuvenates system
  • Drains lymphs
  • Restores muscles
  • Increases blood flow
  • Improves mood

You don’t need to go to an Ayurvedic retreat to have a healing Panchakarma experience—all you need is some oil and two hands!


Recommended Read: Best exercise for you based on your Ayurvedic Mind Body Type


Have you practiced abhyanga? How was your experience? Would love to hear!


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