Abhyanga is a massage that’s done with warm oil. The oil is applied on the entire body, from the scalp to the soles of your feet.
It’s the most popular massage in Ayurveda, a traditional system of medicine from India. Ayurveda focuses on maintaining health through natural practices like massage and what you eat.
The oil is the central component of this practice. When combined with massage strokes, it’s thought to promote overall health and wellness.
Abhyanga is typically performed by a massage therapist. But it’s also possible to do an abhyanga self-massage in the comfort of your own home.
Let’s look at the potential benefits of this Ayurvedic massage, along with how to do it yourself.
Though there isn’t much research on abhyanga specifically, it’s been practiced for thousands of years. Many people have reported therapeutic benefits and continue to use this remedy.
Research backs up the positive effects of general massage. This likely plays a role in the anecdotal benefits of abhyanga.
- Nourishes the entire body—decreases the effects of aging
- Imparts muscle tone and vigor to the dhatus (tissues) of the body
- Imparts a firmness to the limbs
- Lubricates the joints
- Increases circulation
- Stimulates the internal organs of the body
- Assists in elimination of impurities from the body
- Moves the lymph, aiding in detoxification
- Increases stamina
- Calms the nerves
- Benefits sleep—better, deeper sleep
- Enhances vision
- Makes hair (scalp) grow luxuriantly, thick, soft and glossy
- Softens and smoothens skin; wrinkles are reduced and disappear
- Pacifies Vata and Pitta and stimulates Kapha