Abhyanga (Sanskrit: अभ्यंग or अभ्यङ्ग "oil massage") is a form of Ayurvedic medicine that involves massage of the body with large amounts of warm oil. The oil is often pre-medicated with herbs for specific conditions.
The Abhyanga is a part of the Dinacharya (daily practices) specified by the Brihatrayi and Laghutrayi series of Ayurvedic textbooks to maintain good health and well being. An Abhyanga is prescribed for joint health, to nourish the dhatus (tissues of the body) and to bring aggravated doshas back to balance. The Abhyanga is also recommended to pacify aggravated vata dosha, improve the condition of extremely, dry and coarse hair and flaky skin.
Acharya Vagbhatta in Ashtanga Hridyam, cites vata aggravation as the cause of 50% of all diseases. In today's urban life, vata dosha is further excited by the use of smartphones, laptops and other electronic devices, along with long commutes and fluctuating meal timings. In this context, the Abhyanga is an extremely valuable Dinacharya to pacify aggravated vata dosha and help regain good health and well being.
Abhyanga can be done as part of the steps of panchakarma therapy, especially in the first stage: Purva Karma (pre-treatment), or as its own therapy.
It is often followed by svedana therapy, a warm bath, yoga. Many times abhyanga is performed by two or more massage therapists working in sync but it can also be done by oneself. Oils used can vary depending on the season and the individuals constitution (prakrti) but commonly used oils include sesame, and coconut .
Tha Abhyanga as prescribed in the Brhtatrayi and Laghutrayi texts is vigorous, brisk, and generates heat. Through this process, the Abhyanga helps open up the minor Sortas, removes ama through the skin, melts kleshma (fat secretions blocking the srotas), and helps in deep cleansing and moisturisation of skin.
- Rosa, Peterson. "procedure for Panchakarma". ayurwoman. Retrieved 21 November 2015.
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