Massage has been used for centuries in a variety of traditional cultures to strengthen well-being and vitality.

One of the Ayurvedic medical texts written around 400-200 BCE, the Charaka Samhita: Sutrasthana: V: 88-89 says:

The body of one who uses oil massage regularly does not become affected much, even if subjected to accidental injuries or strenuous work. By using oil massage daily, a person is endowed with pleasant touch, trimmed body parts, and becomes strong, charming, and least affected by old age.”

Doing a full-body self-massage daily powerfully recharges and rejuvenates both body and mind.  When we bring love and attention to our body through Abhyanga, we increase the amount of oxytocin – our love hormone.                                                        

Pleasurable sensory information is delivered to the nervous system via the sensory neurons, of which there are about 1000 per square centimeter of skin. Beneficial brain chemicals and neurotransmitters are released, which counter stress hormones such as cortisol.             

  The lighter touch of the Ayurvedic self-massage can also facilitate the movement of the body’s lymphatic system. Improved elimination of impurities and removal of toxic waste is accelerated.                          

  Our skin, the largest organ of our body, has several different functions. It absorbs nourishment from good quality oils applied externally, delivering the benefits to the deeper tissues. Further physical benefits from ayurvedic massage include greater muscle tone and well-lubricated, functional joints.

  It is very important what type of oil you apply because what you put on the top layer of your skin gets absorbed into the body, thus, if you feed your skin with organic, nutritious oils, your skin gets nourished. So, we want to be just as careful with what we put on our skin as we are careful with what we put in our mouth.

Generally, the Abhyanga is performed in the morning so that accumulated waste from the night is released. When it is performed in the evening, it quiets the mind and soothes the body.

  • massage your scalp, face, ears, neck, shoulders, arms, legs, torso, back, and feet using light strokes, just move your hands in a way that feels good on your body.
  • after your massage you can hop in a nice warm shower to allow the skin to really absorb the oil.
  • just be careful not to slip and fall!

It’s important to note that you should NOT practice self-massage when:

1) you’re experiencing indigestion and diarrhea

2) you have a fever or an infection

3) your doctor recommends against massage

And remember: even if you can’t manage an Abhyanga daily, benefits accrue each time you can give yourself this loving care.

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