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Abhyanga: Ayurvedic Oil Massage

Perfect for a healing night in after a long work week, Abhyanga, or self-massage, is the process of rubbing your body with oil that pacifies your dosha. The oils are typically warm and infused with herbs, to be massaged onto your body before you bathe. It’s therapeutic and beneficial for maintaining your health, and it can be done by almost everyone. Abhyanga can feel a lot like some of life’s best feelings -like being saturated with love- as both experiences offer deep sensations of warmth, comfort, and stability.

“Abhyanga should be resorted to daily. It wards off old age, exertion, and aggravation of data.” – Ashtanga Hrdayam: Sutrasthana: II: 8-9


There are a wealth of cathartic benefits that come with applying this oil to the body, including:

  • A decrease in the effects of aging
  • Improved vision
  • Deeper nourishment
  • Increased longevity
  • Improved sleep patterns
  • Improved complexion
  • Increased firmness to skin
  • Increased vigor and tone to body tissue
  • Increased stimulation and circulation

As for the doshas, Abhyanga massage pacifies Vata and Pitta. Choosing herbal oils specific to your current condition is the best way to get the most out of abhyanga. If you use murdha taila oil, you would apply it to your scalp to stimulate hair growth. Karna purana is applied to the ears to benefit ear disorders due to increased Vata, and padaghata is oil for the feet – which alleviates foot coarseness, stiffness, roughness, and fatigue.

Like with most physical treatments, Abhyanga should not be practiced:

  • During the menstrual cycle – Deep pressure can initiate a release of toxins and create uncomfortableness and lethargy
  • Pregnancy – It’s not a good idea to stimulate any form of detox due to possibility of harming fetus
  • Swollen, painful, infected or broken skin areas on the body
  • During any illnesses – including but not limited to the chills, flu or indigestion

You can learn how to perform Abhyanga yourself by watching this video. Practice your skills and you’ll be well on your way to self-balance, health, and inner peace.

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