The fast-paced 21st-century lifestyle can make you feel fatigued. You may feel like you’re unable to cope up with the multifaceted needs of daily life and close to reaching a breaking point. To avoid that, you need to slow down and take out some time for yourself to relax, unwind, and be in harmony with your body and mind.
Ayurvedic massage is a great way to calm your mind and rejuvenate your body to meet the demanding needs of daily life. Ayurvedic massage oils are a befitting accompaniment to Ayurvedic massages and choosing the right oils can contribute immensely to your well-being.
Types of Ayurvedic Massages
An Ayurvedic massage is a type of massage done with warm oils following the guidelines as mentioned in Ayurveda. It not only helps in alleviating pain but also in increasing the blood circulation and cleansing the body.
There are several types of Ayurvedic massages:
Abhyanga - The term Abhyanga refers to a massage done in the direction of the body. In this type of massage, medicated oils are applied to the head and the body. Generally, sesame seed oil is used primarily in the winter and spring seasons for bodies with Vata and Kapha doshas while coconut oil is used in the summer and autumn seasons for bodies with Pitta dosha. The benefits of this type of massage are
Reduces body pain
Helping to overcome fatigue
Induces growth in small children
Improving the body’s natural immune system
Shiro Abhyanga - This type involves massaging the head, neck, and shoulders with Ayurvedic massage oils. It’s a combination of two Ayurvedic treatments - Shirodhara and Abhyanga. The benefits of this type of massage are:
Helps improve the functioning of the sensory organs
Helps in inducing sleep
It helps in improving conditions such as a dry and itchy scalp, migraine headaches, and sinusitis.
Marma Therapy - Marma refers to the essential energy points of the body. The human body comprises 107 anatomical structures comprising nerves, blood vessels, bones, and joints. These are extremely sensitive parts of the body and any internal or external impact on any of them can lead to serious injury. In this therapy, the body part which is facing the problem is identified and then trained masseurs work to reduce the problem in the body part. The benefits of Marma Chikitsa or Marma Therapy are:
Providing strength to the mind
Reducing any stiffness in the body
Strengthening the neuromuscular unit of the body
Helping in the smooth energy flow of the body without any obstacles
Shiro Dhara - This is a type of Ayurvedic massage where warm herbal oil is poured on the forehead in a fixed and continuous stream. The word Shiro refers to the head while Dhara refers to the stream. It’s a part of the Bahiparimarjana Chikitsa or external treatment in Ayurveda. Oils processed with Ayurveda herbs suitable for balancing Vata, Pitta & Kapha doshas are used to make Shirodhara. In addition, medicated milk, buttermilk & decoctions are also used in Siro-dhara depending upon the clinical condition. The benefits of this type of massage are:
Soothing the hypothalamus
Reducing the stress level
Improving blood circulation to the brain
Regulating the functioning of the pituitary gland
Shiro Vasti - This Ayurvedic massage is done after shaving a person’s hair and attaching a cylindrical cap to the head. A warm, medicated oil is then poured onto the scalp where the scalp absorbs the oil. This therapy is done mostly in the evening with the person receiving the massage in a sitting position. The benefits of this type of massage are:
Helping in treating paralysis, insomnia, and depression
Improving memory and vision
Reducing burning sensation in the head
Helping to reduce dryness of nostrils, mouth, and throat
Ayurvedic Massage Oil Ingredients
Ayurvedic massage oils are a set of herbal oils with a wide array of massage benefits. From helping manage hair fall to increasing flexibility and strength,body massage oils can help manage various health concerns. But what in these oils makes them so potent to improve health? Here’s a list of massage oil ingredients:
In most of the ayurvedic oils, the carrier oil is processed with various herbs to achieve well being or to combat various health issues.
Benefits of Ayurvedic Oils
The practice of body massage with Ayurvedic body massage oil (Abhyanga) has been mentioned in several Ayurvedic texts. In Ayurveda, Abhyanga is performed before Panchakarma, the five therapies for detoxification. The benefits of using massage oil during this process are many:
Helps in reducing hemiplegia and muscular dystrophy
Helps in reducing stress in pregnant women
Helps in reducing chronic migraine
Helps in reducing menopausal sleep disturbances
Helps in reducing dry, rough, and cracked heels
Helps in reducing stress, heart rate, and blood pressure
Helps in reducing burning sensations in diabetic neuropathy patients
Improvements in pulse and respiratory rate and systolic blood pressure and diastolic blood pressure
Improvements in children suffering from cerebral palsy
Helps in weight gain for babies with low body weight at birth
How to Choose the Right Ayurvedic Massage Oil
When it comes to choosing the right Ayurvedic Massage Oil, you should consider the three doshas - Vata, Pitta, and Kapha - and how they affect the following:
Your present balance (Vikriti) - Depending on which dosha is high, you should choose an oil that’ll help you pacify that dosha. For example, if anxiety is predominant and is making you feel cold and dry, then your Vikriti may be high in Vata, so you should choose a Vata-pacifying oil.
Your present constitution (Prakriti) - If you don’t find any imbalance in your doshas, then you can check for the dominant doshas in your constitution. For example, if your dominant dosha is Pitta and it’s summer, then you can choose a Pitta-pacifying oil.
Your present environment - The doshas change according to the seasons. While autumn to early winter is considered to be the season of Vata, late winter to spring is that of Kapha, and summer is believed to be the season of Pitta.
The Best Ayurvedic Massage Oils
Ayurveda has a natural cure for almost all diseases. There are Ayurvedic medicines for muscle and nerve pain and a host of other problems. Ayurvedic massage oils are one of the best medicines to maintain a balance of all doshas and ensure a healthy life.
Here are two of the best massage oils that you can use:
The Pitta skin is photosensitive and less tolerant of hot food. It’s generally rough and warm to touch. Moreover, they run a higher risk of freckles, moles and other sensitivities. Thus the Pitta skin requires a cool and pacifying nurturing. Using oils that are resistant to the sun is a good option. An ideal oil to take care of the Pitta skin is Tejas Oil.
It’s a light and aromatic oil that is prepared with sesame oil as the primary ingredient. All the ingredients are thoughtfully selected which can effectively help resolve any Pitta-related imbalances. The ingredients also provide a cooling effect and reduce any tension. They help improve your resistance to high temperatures and help pacify the Pitta dosha.
The ingredients used in this oil are:
Santhwanam Oil is an anti-inflammatory and pain-relief Ayurvedic medicine that can help in nourishing and moisturising your skin. It can be applied either through self-massage, as a part of a body massage, or even steam therapy.
This Ayurvedic massage oil can be used for varicose veins that help in treating several health conditions. Apart from relieving anxiety, it helps in improving blood circulation and strengthening body tissues.
The ingredients used in this oil are:
Reducing cramps, muscle, and joint pain
An ideal Ayurvedic medicine for knee pain
Helps in the treatment of sciatica
Helps in improving blood circulation and reducing swelling
Helps in providing relief from stress and anxiety
Helps in treating various skin problems such as itchy or dry skin, eczema, and skin pigmentation
Some of the ingredients used in this Ayurvedic massage oil are:
Helps in balancing all doshas
Helps improve blood circulation
Helps in rejuvenating tissues
Can help treat neuromuscular diseases
Helps in the treatment of facial paralysis and cervical spondylitis
Anti-inflammatory and can be used in the treatment of arthritis and muscle stiffness
This helps balance all doshas
Helps in treating skin diseases
Helps in the removal of toxins and amatoxins
Helps in treating gout, joint stiffness, and sciatica
Helps in detoxifying the blood and has a general cleansing effect
This rejuvenating herb can be used to treat varicose veins, eczema, and psoriasis
Helps in improving the functioning of the immune system
Contains blood-purifying and anti-oxidative properties
Helps in treating nerve diseases and paralysis
Anti-inflammatory and helps in reducing skin itching
Helps in reducing pain from arthritis and headaches
FAQs about Massage Oils
1. What oils are used for ayurvedic massage?
Here’s a list of ayurvedic massage oils that you can consider using for a wonderful massage experience:
2. What ayurvedic oil is best for body massage?
For body massage, you can consider using the following ayurvedic oils:
Sweet almond oil for a deeply nourished skin
Coconut oil for a youthful skin
Castor oil for pain relief
Sesame oil for detox and skin repair
Olive oil for relief from muscle spasms, pain and swelling
Should I wash off the massage oil?
While washing off the massage oil is recommended, it should not be done immediately. For best results, it’s best to spend some time in the sauna, letting your body consume the oils for around an hour. After that, you can shower and wash off the ayurvedic body massage oils.