Abhyanga is a form of Ayurvedic medicine that involves massage of the body with large amounts of warm oil. According to the Chopra Center, The Sanskrit word Sneha can be translated as both “oil” and “love.” It is believed that the effects of Abhyanga are similar to those received when one is saturated with love. Like the experience of being loved, Abhyanga can give a deep feeling of stability and warmth. A daily Abyanga practice restores the balance of the doshas and enhances well-being and longevity. Regular Abyanga is especially grounding and relaxing for Vata dosha imbalances, but everyone can benefit from this practice.
Increase the softness and healthy glow of the skin
Flush toxins from the lymphatic system
Increases strength and stamina
Promotes healthy sleep
Reduces anxiety and depression
Begin by running some hot water over the bottle to gently warm the oil; warm oil is best to work with on your body. Warm the oil (pour approximately ¼ cup into a mug and warm using a coffee-cup warmer.) Test the temperature by putting a drop on your inner wrist, oil should be comfortably warm and not hot
You can use a loofah or body brush to dry brush the entire body.
Pour a tablespoon of warm oil onto your scalp and vigorously work in the oil.
Using your fingertips, massage your head and scalp with small circular strokes, as if you are shampooing.
Move to your face and ears, massaging more gently.
Massage your arms, using a circular motion at the shoulders and elbows, and back-and-forth motions on the upper arms and forearms.
When performing Abhyanga on the joints, use a circular motion.
When massaging your chest and stomach, use a gentle circular motion and a straight up-and-down motion over the breastbone.
After applying a bit of oil to both hands, gently reach around to the back and spine and massage them as well as you can without straining. Start at the base of the spine and work upwards in a long, continuous stroke. You can also have a partner help you with this part.
Massage your legs as you did your arms, using circular motions at the ankles and knees, back-and-forth motions on the long parts.
After massaging your legs, spend extra time on your feet.
After the application of oil, sit quietly for 5-15 minutes to allow the oil to be properly absorbed by your skin. During this time you may choose to meditate, as it's a good time set apart for relaxed spiritual practice.
You can shower or take a bath after the practice.
Enjoy this practice!