How to do Abhyanga Oil Massage
A step-by-step guide to daily self massage
A daily abhayanga massage with organic oils improves blood circulation, lubricates the joints, calms the nerves, increases mental alertness, helps the body efficiently eliminate toxins, improves our sleep, and increases stamina throughout the day.
Choosing the right kind of oil
If you want to get fancy, or you don’t want to have to bother curing your sesame oil, you can purchase special Ayurvedic Massage Oils online or in your local store. Each of the Pitta, Kapha, and Vata massage oils have ayurvedic herbs infused into the oils to balance your specific dosha, and help turn daily abhyanga into a special treat that you’ll look forward to.
While Ayurveda strongly recommends sesame oil, some people with sensitive or pitta skin may find coconut oil or Jojoba Oil to be more cooling.
Curing Sesame Oil...
First of all, do you remember how to cure new sesame oil? It is easy. Fill a medium size pot only about half-full of the new oil and heat on a burner for a few minutes until 2 or 3 drops of water hisssss when dropped upon the surface of the hot oil, then remove from the heat and cool to a pleasant body temperature. Reserve the oil you don’t want to immediately use and cover to avoid dust, tiny bugs, etc.
Start with the head...
Now you are ready to apply a couple of tablespoons, using more when needed, of your nicely warm (not too hot), cured sesame oil, first to your scalp and then massage your head, neck, throat, and chest, in that order.
Note: If you are pitta or vata, massaging early is especially important. Be gentle, but make sure you get behind the ears as well as the ear lobes.
Use a clockwise circular motion for the abdomen and chest...
Massage the chest and the abdomen in a clockwise manner, being especially gentle with the heart area!
Apply more oil before massaging your arms and hands...
Using a little more oil, massage your arms and hands with more pressure and speed, in a back and forth motion.
Continue vigorously over the buttock area, legs, and feet.
Use a generous amount of oil on the lower body, as the legs and hips can be particularly susceptible to getting dry.
Use back and forth strokes on straight parts of the body, and circular motions on the joints.
It’s good to use back and forth strokes on the straight parts of your body and round motions on the rounded parts, including the joints! Aways respect your heart area.
When you are oiled and massaged head to foot, wait for 5-7 minutes to allow the warm oil to be absorbed before bathing (you can brush your teeth, clip your nails, shave, read a book, etc., as you wait). Then carefully!! step into the tub or shower and immerse yourself in nice warm water for 3-5 (more is even better) minutes (the heated water is important to further aid in the absorption of the oil) before rinsing off. We haven’t dealt with the issue of washing your hair after oiling, which most people like to do! even though it requires a little more shampoo and time than usual to get out all the oil. (If the weather is extremely hot, you might consider leaving it in as it will help to keep you cool. It works in India!)
* If there seems to be excess oil on your feet after bathing, be sure to dab it off before walking. (Ya don’t want to slip n’ slide in OR out of the tub!)