Ayurvedic massage is becoming more and more popular by the day. In fact we have observed that sometimes people identify Ayurveda with ‘massage’ which is a very sad state of affairs as far as Ayurveda is concerned. By this we don’t mean that massage is not important, neither do we underestimate the importance of massage as a therapeutic and relaxation measure. In fact it is the mainstay of treatment of many diseases.
The word massage originates from the corresponding Greek equivalent of ‘masso’ which means touch. It is simply defined as manual manipulation of soft body tissues (muscles, connective tissues, tendons and ligaments) In India, its country of origin, Ayurvedic massage is a ritual that hasn’t changed over the years. In rural areas weekly massage is still very much a part of the lifestyle. People of all age groups enjoy it. They know that like a best friend it brings
joy and relaxation. Massage is also a norm for the mother and child after delivery.
Today we see doctors offering Ayurvedic massage services particularly in tourist areas. This was not the case in the past when everyone use to give and take massage in their homes and only for particular health conditions people used to go to specialists who used to employ appropriate techniques.
Massage is a part and parcel of Ayurvedic science. It has been mentioned in the texts as ‘purvakarma’ or pretreatment procedure for ‘Panchakarma’ therapies also known as ‘Abhyanga’. Apart from this it is also mentioned as part of treatment protocol for many diseases. When stimulated through therapeutic touch or massage ,the skin releases a no. of chemicals that have health promoting effect on the physiology.
In diseases caused by deranged Vata , massage therapy can play significant role whereas in diseases caused by deranged ‘Pita’ and ‘Kapha’ Ayurvedic massage therapy compliments other
healing methods. It is relaxing, improves circulation and eliminates toxins. Ayurvedic massage plays significant role in curing various forms of arthritis, gout, rheumatism, sciatica, neurasthenia,
high/low b.p .,sciatica, paralysis, headaches, congestion in sinus and insomnia etc. In all these cases, the massage practitioners should however also prescribe specific medication, changes in
daily habits, exercise, and food. By practicing nonviolence, contentment, abstaining from malice, jealousy and envy, by maintaining a good vegetarian diet and by employing Ayurvedic beauty
massage, breathing exercises and meditation one can help body restore its natural radiance and beauty. The practice of massage alone without implementing a change in habits and lifestyle is
• Abhyanga, a full-body massage using oil, followed by a warm bath
• Pizhichil, in which medicated oil is used during this massage of the whole body
• Sirodhara, in which oil is massaged into the forehead to alleviate anxiety and depression
• Nhavarakizhi, in which medicinal porridge is made into a poultice and wrapped around the body to encourage sweating
• Udvarthanam is a type of massage to reduce weight. In this massage herbal powder is rubbed into the skin.
A typical Ayurvedic massage involves the use of oils or pastes based on herbal and animal resources. The oil is premedicated with herbs for specific conditions. Oil massage by way of enhancing the softness and suppleness of the skin not only increases the vitality but also controls the signs of premature ageing. if the body is rubbed dry the friction created generates heat and pain which aggravates the element of Vata (wind) and thus disturbs the gases in the body.Massage oils eliminate friction and disperse heat evenly throughout the body.Massage oils are a nutrient for the skin and strengthen the nerve fibres that are connected to hair follicles and vessels attached to the skin.The small amount of massage oils remaining on the skin after shower that follows provides resistance to environmental temperatures and pressures.Application of oils to the naval before going to sleep ,cures dryness of the whole body.The elimination of bodily toxins is achieved by sweating. It helps in balanced secretion of hormones or ‘endorphins’ so that the immunological system is enhanced. As a holistic therapy it makes for the overall rejuvenation of the mind and the body.
Primary massage oils
Kapha Mustard or Olive