Abyangam is a Sanskrit word which means application of oil all over the body in a specific manner. The oil is chosen in accordance with the season and the ailment. Abhyangam is rejuvenating , relaxing, refreshing and energizing. It is used therapeutically too for many ailments. In special case the abhyangam is done daily for approximately an hour for a fortnight.
The herbal oils used for abhyangam are specially prepared to meet the body requirements of every individual. Abhayangam not only has an excellent effect on muscle but also works at a cellular level and thus plays a very important role in detoxification too. Abhyangam has a soothing effect on the nervous system so it allays the apprehension and anxiety to a very great extent.
It nourishes and replenishes the skin very well. Its analogy can be done with the engine of a vehicle. It gives boost to immune system too. It also keeps the skin hydrated. If the engine is lubricated well the life and performance of vehicle increase, likewise if the body is lubricated well it enhance the life of an individual.
Kapha types- Mustard oil is excellent for such people. Sunflower oil can be used too. People living in colder climates should opt for Sesome oil.
Pitta types- Coconut oil and olive should be the ideal choice for such people with pitta dosha.
Vata types- Sesame or almond oil is perfect for such body types.
Steps for self massage-
- Identify your body type.
- Warm the oil chosen for some time so that it reaches a perfect pleasant temperature as the oil should always be warm.
- First of all apply oil on your hands and followed by on the head by gently massaging it on the scalp using light strokes of fingers and palm.
- Then apply oil on the forehead followed by cheeks ,nose and chin and then the ears. Use your little finger to massage the ear canal.
- Apply the oil all over the body and massage gently in the direction of the hair follicles. Use long strokes to massage the arms.
- When the oil is applied on the joints the massage is done in a circular motion.
- Massage the abdomen in a circular motion.
- The spine has to be massage by someone starting from the spine upwards with gentle circular motion.
- Lastly one should massage the feet. The sole of the foot should be massages carefully with the palm of the hand.
- All the bones of the hand and feet should be massaged gently too.
One you have done the massaging wait for 15 -20 minutes so that the oil is absorbed by your skin properly to give maximum effect and benefit. Once the oil is absorbed one can have a nice warm shower.
Western scientific community has been oblivious of the benefits of abhayanga. Not long time ago a scientific data was published in the Journal of Alternative and Complimentary Medicine which focused on the point that an hour of abhyanga reduced stresss and heart rate in all the participants and also reduced blood pressure in patients suffering from hypertension.