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Abhyangam is a popular body massage in Ayurveda. The word abhyanga itself means to massage.
In Ayurveda, the Abhyangam massage has become popular because of its effective way of conditioning the body. Abhyangam can be used therapeutically.
Abhyangam can increase the production of white blood corpuscles and antibodies, which provide more resistance against viruses and diseases. This helps the defense mechanism in the body and increases immunity towards environmental changes. In this way Abhyangam massage is a protector, preserver and a rejuvenator, increasing self-confidence and will power.
In Ayurveda the Abhyangam massage is described as:
1. Jarahar (anti aging) - If done daily to the spine, feet and head with sesame oil, coconut oil, mustard oil or almond oil massage increases virility, vitality and semen. Massage is one practice, which provides energy, vitality, and nourishment to all body surface, which prevents wrinkles, dry patchy skin and old age approaches late, one remains young and energetic for longer duration. In this way, massage is anti aging.
2. Shram Har (fatigue reliever) - Fatigue is actually caused by physical and mental strain. It affects the muscles and causes tensions. Rubbing, patting and squeezing muscles gently removes fatigue by increasing circulation and cleansing accumulated toxic material. .
3. Vata Har (pacifies the Vata) - Regular Abhyangam massage with Mahanarayana oil or oils prepared by burning garlic in heated oil, or adding fenugreek seeds to boiling oil, mint oil and wintergreen oil all help in pacifying Vata.
4. Drishti Prasad Kar (Improve sight) - Daily practice of abhyangam massage can improve sight and reduces the risk of blindness. Those, who have weak sight or who suffers from diseases of the eyes should massage the feet, especially under the big toe and sole.
5. Pushti Kar (make one strong) - By increasing the circulation of vital life fluids, and because of rubbing, pressing and kneading massage makes the body strong, increases stamina, vitality and virility.
6. Ayu Kar (provides longevity) - By creating an electrochemical balance, massage helps in achieving longevity.
7. Swapna Kar (induces sleep) - Massage relaxes the body and removes tensions. Those suffering from sleeplessness, insomnia or those who are unable to enjoy sound sleep should massage the body (especially the head and feet) before sleeping.
8. Twak Dridh Kar (strengthens the skin) - People who live in cold climates get dry skin by constantly facing the chilled air, which creates dryness. Massage with oil remove dryness, also makes the skin smooth, shiny and regular rubbing makes it strong.
9. Klesh Sahatwa (provides resistance against disease and disharmony) - Massage strengthens the body tissues feeling pleasant and cheerful. This saves one from sorrows, agonies and anxieties.
10. Abhighat Sahatwa (resistance to injuries & power to recover quickly) - Those who massage the body regularly recover from physical injury more quickly than other person who do not massage. Those who massage regularly experience the healing process from within immediately and they experience comparatively less pain and fewer problems.
11. Kapha Vata Nirodhak – Prevent dryness and clogging of skin pores caused by secretions and action of Vata and Kapha.
12. Mrija Varna Bala Prad - It maintains body strength, skin health and also improves the color complexion and texture of the skin.
Thus in Ayurveda, Abhyangam massage is highly praised and much emphasis is placed on the uses of different oils according to body type and season.