One of the pillars of Ayurveda is “abhyanga” or self-massage. The reason Ayurveda pays such importance to abhyanga is because the act of self-massage not only moisturizes your skin through the oils, but it also strengthens the body, improves blood circulation, and improves stamina, better sleep, and overall health!
All these together cater to provide you with a better and more focused and balanced mind-body-spirit connection to always channel the best of your potential.
1.Warm the oil
For the perfect abhyanga body massage that gives you the best results and better absorption of the oil, warm the oil slightly just until it’s a little above room temperature. Use a double boiler method, where you take some oil in a bowl and place it in another bowl filled with hot water. Make sure that it’s just warm to touch and not boiling hot.
Warming the oil helps relax your muscles better and is also believed to improve blood circulation that will facilitate proper working of all your internal systems, according to Ayurveda.
However, you don’t need to perform abhyanga every single time. Sometimes, you might be in a hurry or simply want to nourish some dry spots. In this case, you don’t need to warm the oil. Simply use the pump to spray it directly into your hands and apply it on the skin.
2. Massage the skin
As you start your abhyanga, rub the oil slowly between your palms and fingers to maintain the warmth. Start from the extremities and work your way inwards. Begin from your neck, shoulder, fingers, toes and ankles towards the center – stomach, chest and back.
If you’re not doing abhyanga, simply gently massage the oil into the skin until it has absorbed.
3. Use longer strokes for limbs and circular motions for joints
The motion to be followed for abhyanga or self-massage is longer, gentle strokes for limbs and longer areas in a back-and-forth direction, and circular motion in a clockwise direction for joints such as on the knees and elbows. Take at least 2-3 minutes of continuous motion with each stroke/motion so that the oil has time to absorb into your skin and provide you with the best possible results.
4. Spend extra time over areas that are more susceptible to dryness
As you end your abhyanga session, remember to give extra care, time and attention to those areas that are prone to intense dryness and dehydration such as your elbows and knees and the soles of your feet. Since these areas have rougher skin usually and are farther away from the center of your body, adding an extra layer of moisture and intense hydration always helps it to stay smoother and healthy.
You can also massage the cuticles of your nails, both on your fingers and toes using an Ayurvedic body oil to enhance healthier nails that shine on their own.