Benefits of Massage (Abhyanga)

“The body of one who uses oil massage regularly does not become affected much even if subjected to injury or strenuous work. By using oil massage daily, a person is endowed with pleasant touch, trimmed body parts and becomes strong, charming and least affected by old age.” Charaka Samhita Vol. 1, V: 88-89

It’s winter, vata time. Vata time is windy, cold, light and dry. Brr. Don’t forget your oil massages in the morning! Before your shower, warm some sesame oil and give yourself a head-to-toe massage for about 15 minutes. Daily in winter time is ideal, but at least do it once a week.

Benefits of applying warm oil to the whole body
• Brings strength, tone, and suppleness to the body and all tissues
• Makes our skin more elastic so we look younger (anti-aging!)
• Strengthens and improves vision
• Gives the body nourishment inside and out
• Increases longevity
• Helps us have sound sleep!
• Strengthens our ojas
• Tones our tissues, bringing vigor and vitality to the body
• Improves circulation to extremities and internal organs
• Calms vata and pitta while helping kapha flow

Benefits of applying oil to the scalp
• Helps hear become soft and glossy, sometimes thickens it
• Works directly on the sense organs to soothe and stimulate
• Lessens (even removes!) facial wrinkles

I mean, why would you not do it? ;)

11 Responses to Benefits of Massage (Abhyanga)

  1. Salma says:

    Very practical question: I remember you said once that we could make an oil massage and then just shower the excess off with water. Then we shouldn’t do it before but after shower, right? Or how do you do it exactly?

    • Monica says:

      HI Salma! Yep! See this post. :) If you CAN, the best is to massage with oil before the shower so that the oil soaks in. It essentially makes a barrier so the water bounces off (water on skin is drying). However, if that’s not possible you can apply oil afterwards. But before the shower is best! That help?

      • Salma says:

        Sorry if my question was not precise enough: if I wash after the oil massage and use soap, then the oil will be washed off, right? So do you never use soap?

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  3. joy says:

    I also have a question. You’ve talked about cravings (those posts were a lot of fun) it’s been a while since I’ve read those posts so I’m sorry if this has already been answered: do you have any advice for better control of cravings? Or does it just mean I’m unbalanced? Example: wicked cheese cravings. Or just the need to melt cheese on everything….if I fill up on vata stuff will that take the cheese need away?
    This is kind of a silly question, I know, haha.

    • Monica says:

      Cravings. If we are balanced we will crave things that continue to balance us. If we are IMbalanced, we will crave the WRONG things and will continue being imbalanced. So, if you are feeling mostly balanced and craving cheese, have cheese BUT also ask yourself what is in the cheese that you might be needing. Fats? Are you having enough fats and oils? Is your food warm enough? (hence the melting) And are your foods grounding enough? Ask yourself those questions because you are probably not craving cheese as much as you are craving the qualities the cheese has (warm, melty, fat, goopy, oily). Does that help?

  4. joy says:

    As a massage therapist and a vata, I can definitely get behind this! Massage is so good for your body and my whole self feels better when I’m not dry and flakey.
    I use sesame oil all the time and it’s naturally heating, too. Thank you for this post :)

  5. Lesley says:

    Hi Monica,

    What is an easy way to heat the oil for the massage?

    • Monica says:

      Hi Lesley!
      A few things you can do:

      1) Put the oil a pan and heat on the stove (make sure it doesn’t get hot) – it should heat quickly!
      2) You can keep the oil in a plastic squeezy travel bottle. Then fill sink with hot water OR float the bottle it in water you heat on the stove.
      3) If heating it is hard, then do it without heat. It’s not idea, but much better than nothing!

      Does that help?

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