The power of an Ayurvedic massage
The ancient Indian practice of Ayurveda, based on the notion that all life forms consist of a unique mix of energies (dosha) of Vata, Pitta and Kapha, is now widely accepted and practiced around the world. By using techniques encompassing detoxification, diet, yoga, herbal prescriptions, meditation and massage therapy, Ayurveda can be individualized for every person’s energy.
There are many types of Ayurvedic massages for a variety of purposes: Abhyanga, which refers to a personalized full body light massage using warm herbal oil, is an excellent way to ensure balanced health; Shirodhara is a forehead oil massage used to treat various conditions such as eye diseases, allergic rhinitis, insomnia and psoriasis and is a key relaxation tool; Udwarthanam is a deep dry massage slimming treatment that involves the rubbing of warm herbal powders on the body; and Vishesh is a deep muscular herbal oil massage that helps guide toxins out of the body.
The style and intensity of an Ayurvedic massage, in addition to the medicated oils used, depends on the individual’s doshas, and focuses on marma points in our body. These marma points are meeting places of ligaments, vessels, muscles, bones and joints in our body and correspond to pressure points in acupuncture, acupressure and reflexology. By focusing on massaging these specific spots, the body is able to rid itself of toxins, and can even aid itself in the cure of many ailments.
The highlight of Ayurvedic massages are the oils used – essential to eliminate friction and to spread heat evenly through the body. These oils are medicated to balance dosha energies – sesame, coconut and mustard/olive oils are used to stabilize dominant Vata, Pitta and Kapha respectively. Also, certain oils are used for particular medical conditions – chamomile oil is used for muscular pains whilst coriander oil is for conditions triggered by excessive body heat. In addition, mixed formulas of massage oils are used for general body massages with almond oil, jasmine oil, mustard oil added to sesame oil.
The purpose of an Ayurvedic massage is to help break down and remove toxins in the body, strengthen muscle tone and assist in the relaxation and rejuvenation of the body. Massages also nourish the body, help sleeping patterns, improve circulation and strengthen the body’s tolerance of diseases. Massages are also used to complement other forms of Ayurveda therapy to cure a variety of disorders, ailments and diseases.