Ayurvedic Body Massage Oils & Their Benefits
ayurvedic oil massage Massage Oils
Ayurvedic Body Massage Oils & Their Benefits
OCTOBER 26, 2022

Ayurvedic Oils for Self-Massage: Everything You Need to Know

A full-body massage has various health benefits, from rejuvenating tired muscles to treating certain skin conditions and releasing mental stress. However, tight work schedules and expensive spa packages make it impossible for most people to get a massage daily.

In that case, self-massage is the best alternative.

According to Ayurveda, self-massage or Abhyanga is an excellent way to relieve stress, treat insomnia and moisturize the skin. It’s widely practiced and embraced as a bathing ritual that benefits the body, mind, and spirit.

What is Abhyanga?

Abhyanga or Abhyangam is a self-massage therapy performed using warm, medicated herbal oils. The choice of Ayurvedic body massage oil depends on your natural constitution and the benefits you seek.

Therefore, it is essential to understand various types of Ayurvedic massage oils and what they do so that you can choose the most suitable one.

Significance of Abhyanga Massage Oils

Ayurvedic massage oils are obtained from plants and contain no harmful chemicals or artificial preservatives. The primary purpose of these oils is to nourish the body externally and from within. The significance of Abhyanga oil goes a long way back and is deep-rooted in different cultures worldwide.

Medicated massage oils moisturize the skin and leave a soothing effect on muscles, joints, and ligaments.

According to Ayurveda, these carefully formulated herbal oils have physical and spiritual properties that aid healing and promote overall wellness.

Types of Massage Oils

massage oils

Every individual is born with a certain Prakriti, the natural body constitution. Ayurveda recommends using the herbal oil corresponding to your Prakriti to derive maximum benefits from each massage session. Here are some popular oils that have been a part of the Ayurveda tradition since the beginning of time.

Almond Oil

Almond oil is less dense than mustard or coconut oil and can penetrate the skin easily. It has a sweet fragrance that leaves your body smelling good and moisturized.

Almond oil is gentle on all skin types and is safe to apply to the body and the scalp. Besides skin benefits, almond oil promotes hair growth and restores shine.

Who should use almond oil?

If you have elevated Vata or Kapha dosha, almond oil suits you. However, individuals with pitta-dominant Prakriti should avoid almond oil as it may further aggravate pitta dosha and cause rashes.

Almond oil can be used as a massage oil for babies to promote healthy sleep, stimulate cell regeneration, and nourish the scalp and skin.

Why should you use almond oil?

  • Almond oil has anti-inflammatory properties and can help treat skin conditions like dermatitis and eczema.
  • If you spend a lot of time traveling during the day, using almond oil to anoint your body can help protect your skin from sun damage and air pollution.
  • Almond oil also possesses mild pain-relieving properties and acts as a muscle relaxant.

Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is used in cooking and for skin and hair benefits. Using coconut oil for self-massage is a great way to nourish your skin and keep it moisturized, especially during winter when the skin becomes rough.

There are several benefits of body massage with coconut oil. Anointing your body with coconut oil can delay aging and protect your skin from pollution. Try to get your hands on organic coconut oil, as it is a rich source of Vitamin E and antioxidants, which are suitable for your skin and hair.

Why should you use coconut oil?

  • Coconut oil is specially mentioned in the Ayurveda tradition for skin and hair benefits.
  • Massaging with coconut oil can help prevent wrinkles and sagging.
  • It can help reduce acne scars and treat dry, flaky skin.
  • It can be used as a carrier oil in aromatherapy.
  • It gives you smooth, glowing, and fully hydrated skin.

Castor Oil

A self-massage therapy offers more than just a soothing indulgence. It offers various therapeutic benefits when performed using castor oil. Owing to its anti-inflammatory properties, it is recognized as an effective Ayurvedic massage oil for body pain.

Castor oil is widely used in herbal formulations for treating arthritis and other bone conditions that cause pain, stiffness, and restricted mobility. Castor oil is denser than other massage oils. It isn’t readily absorbed, so you get ample time to massage the affected area before the oil disappears into the skin.

Why should you use castor oil?

  • It is used to treat dry, sunburnt skin prone to acne.
  • Castor oil can help heal minor wounds and bruises faster without causing a burning sensation.
  • Massaging your body with castor oil helps increase lymphocytes in the body, which is a positive contributor to the immune system.

Sesame Oil

Ancient Ayurveda texts describe sesame oil as one of the most potent herbal massage oils. Thanks to its powerful antioxidants, sesame oil is used as the base oil for various Ayurvedic skin treatments. Sesame oil can help reverse skin damage to some extent caused by free radicals and UV exposure.

Why should you use sesame oil?

  • UV is the leading cause of skin damage and concerns, like sunspots, fine lines, unwanted tanning, and hyperpigmentation. Sesame oil can help control skin damage and protect your skin from the adverse effects of sun exposure.
  • Sesame oil for body massage may help reduce inflammation in joints and muscles, relieving pain and restoring mobility.
  • Sesame oil is used as a base oil in various Ayurvedic massages, including Abhyanga and Jwalini.

Olive Oil

Olive oil in your cooking has many health benefits, but it can work wonders when used as a self-massage oil. Rubbing olive oil with repetitive motions helps moisturize the skin, and its anti-inflammatory properties help relieve joint aches and muscle knots. Olive oil is a staple in Mediterranean culture and is used worldwide for its myriad of health benefits.

Why should you use Olive oil?

  • Massaging with olive oil treats dry skin and acts as a shield against harmful UV rays and pollution.
  • It's moisturizing effect keeps the skin hydrated, supple, and glowing throughout the day.
  • Olive oil is also known to repair sun damage by minimizing oxidative stress.
  • Ayurveda practitioners highly recommend it for relieving muscle spasms, swelling, and general body aches.
  • Massaging with olive oil helps facilitate the movement of blood and other essential fluids that carry nutrients to organ tissues, improving energy levels and immunity.

Sunflower Oil

Sunflower oil is used in cooking in some regions across the globe, but what you might not know is that it’s an excellent massage oil with several skin benefits. Sunflower oil is readily available in the market across a broad price spectrum. Ensure you always go for the organic option that is free from chemicals.

Why should you use sunflower oil?

  • Sunflower oil contains a relatively high concentration of linoleic and oleic acids, which help enhance skin texture and restore the long-lost natural glow.
  • Massaging with sunflower oil helps maintain healthy skin moisture levels, stimulates cell regeneration, and reduces the signs of aging.

Neem Oil

Neem oil has exceptional antibacterial and antifungal properties, making it one of the top picks for self-massage. It is primarily used to target skin conditions like acne, fungal infections, moles, and warts. Since it’s a rich source of Vitamin E, it also helps eliminate free radicals and facilitate detoxification.

Although applying neem oil only to the affected areas is recommended, you can use it as massage oil after diluting it with a carrier oil, such as coconut or jojoba oil.

Specialized Herbal Massage Oils for Additional Benefits

Herbal Massage Oils

Regular massage oils are good, but there’s always more to explore. If you want a more immersive massage experience and enjoy many health benefits, here are a few Ayurvedic medicated oils you can incorporate into your routine.

Ksheerabala Thailam

The ingredients in Ksheerabala thailam promote restful sleep when used for doing Padabhyanga or foot massage. It helps relax the mind and relieve tension from muscles and ligaments.

Ksheerabala Thailam (Oil)
ksheerabala-thailam

Foot Massage Oil for Deep, Restful Sleep

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Dhanwantharam thailam

It’s a highly recommended Ayurvedic oil for a massage after delivery and during pregnancy; it is specifically formulated with safe ingredients for pregnant women and lactating mothers. Self-massaging with Dhanwantharam thailam helps ease muscle cramps and strengthens the pelvic muscles for childbirth. A gentle massage can do wonders to regain health and strength in new moms. Dhanwantharam Thailam is the perfect massage oil for expectant and new mothers to help ease stress and strengthen the uterus. This doesn't mean it only benefits mothers- it is a complete nourishing oil for men and women alike. Use this oil for your daily abhyanga for a rejuvenating and relaxing experience.

Balaswagandhadi thailam

If you are trying to recover from a debilitating illness, massaging your body with Balaswagandhadi thailam can help restore muscle strength and reduce fatigue. It is prepared following the secret recipe book - Sahasrayogam, to relieve stiff and achy muscles and joints post-illness for a faster return to your routine.

Pinda thailam

Pinda thailam has anti-inflammatory properties, known for relieving burning sensation in gout. It is also known to soothe the pain associated with the later stages of varicose veins.

Pinda Thailam (Oil)
pinda-thailam

Relieves Burning Sensation & Pain in Gout

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Sahacharadi thailam

If back pain impedes work and personal life, Sahacharadi thailam is the right pick for your morning rubbing routine. It has herbal ingredients that help ease back pain and sciatica. It strengthens muscles and ligaments of the upper and lower back and can soothe pain and stiffness in the back due to fatigue. Besides, it can treat early symptoms of varicose veins.

Mahanarayana thailam

Lifting heavy weights in the gym often leaves you with sore muscles and stiffness in joints. Using Mahanarayana thailam as a self-massage oil after workouts can help relax your muscles and prevent stiffness.

Mahamasha thailam

Do you experience prolonged numbness in your arms and legs? Do you feel an unusual tingling sensation in your legs from sitting for long hours? If so, massaging your arms and legs with Mahamasha thailam can help treat the condition by strengthening your nerves.

Mahamasha Thailam (Oil)
mahamasha-thailam

Relieves Numbness & Strengthens Nerves

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Overall Benefits of Ayurvedic Massage

Regardless of which oil you use to massage your body, you can enjoy the following abhyanga massage benefits:

Improved Metabolism

If you are struggling to lose weight because of poor metabolism, you only need a gentle touch of Ayurveda. Massaging your body with herbal oils may speed up your metabolism and give impressive results without side effects.

Also read: Tried and Tested Ayurvedic Herbs to Boost Metabolism

Detoxification

The build-up of toxins in the body can lead to various health concerns, especially when you don’t get sufficient exercise every day. However, massaging your body with warm, medicated oil stimulates the lymphatic system and enables your body to get rid of toxins naturally.

Better Sleep

Massaging relaxes stiff and tired muscles and promotes mental stimulation, which results in restful sleep. Many people have reported improved sleep patterns with self-massage therapy.

Stress Reduction

Massaging the body gently for 10-15 minutes helps bring cortisol down to healthy levels, allowing you to destress and sleep better. It also helps strengthen your nervous system.

Also read: Managing Stress Naturally: Remedies and Diet

Better skin texture

Massaging your face and body with Kumkumadi oil or Nalpamaradi Keram can help remove dead skin and restore a youthful glow.

Improved organ function and blood circulation

The pressure applied by massage strokes helps push blood throughout the body. As soon as the pressure is released, fresh blood flows in, resulting in better blood circulation and organ function.

Key Takeaways

  • Ancient Ayurveda texts prescribe a self-massage ritual right before taking a bath. The process involves gentle massage strokes using herbal oils or specific Ayurvedic formulations to target body pains and skin conditions.
  • Self-massage using medicated oils has several health benefits. It helps relieve stress, improve blood circulation, reduce joint pain and inflammation, detoxify, promote sleep and ensure overall wellness.
  • Some Ayurveda-recommended herbal oils are coconut oil, sesame oil, olive oil, castor oil, almond oil, and jojoba oil, to name a few. You can also try self-massage oils offered by Kerala Ayurveda for additional benefits and relaxing effects that last longer.



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