So, what's all the hype about! Is Abhyanga, Ayurveda's Hot Oil Massage really all that?

Article last updated July 2, 2015

ABHYANGA - The Ayurvedic Daily Hot Oil Massage:

A Pleasant Prescription for Mind and Body Health, on any day of the week!

Learn how a ritual so luxuriously relaxing, so blissfully comforting as a full-body massage with the use of hot oil can energize your body and mind, gearing them up for optimal performance? There is a very good explanation for this seeming contradiction. Hot essential oils helps accumulated stress and toxins in the body dissolve during the daily massage. A daily full-body self-massage acts as a powerful energy builder and will re-vitalize the body.


--- The Ayurvedic hot oil massage ---is an important part of the daily routine recommended by this healing system for overall health and well-being. Traditional Ayurvedic texts speak frequently about the numerous benefits of hot oil massage. They say too --"give yourself a full body oil massage on a daily basis. It is nourishing, pacifies the doshas, relieves fatigue, enhances the skin complexion and luster, provides stamina, pleasure and perfect sleep, promotes longevity and nourishes all parts of the body". The heated oil provides the means for trans-dermal absorption and deep penetration into the skin, as well as a direct influence on the sense receptors of the skin. The essential oils stimulate the nervous system and intensify the overall relaxation response of the central nervous system.

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The healing qualities of essential oils used for this massage, help the skin, the largest organ in the body efficiently performs its natural functions. The natural functions of the skin are to release toxins from the body and to allow nutrients that support all of its functions to be absorbed into the body.   

Get Massage Smart extends their thanks to Ayurveda Mantra Healing and Wellness Center for its video presentation of the execution and benefits of hot oil massage. Get Massage Smart is not associated with the wellness center and receives no compensation for offering there video example of hot oil massage.

Benefits of Daily Abhyanga Hot Oil Massage

Here are some of the benefits traditionally associated with regular performance of this pleasant daily ritual.

  • Certain oils, as well as massage strokes will increase circulation
  • Essential oils stimulate the nervous system and enhance performance, when used appropriately (seek professional guidance)
  • The natural relaxation response of the body will increase the secretion of physiological lubrication of the joints
  • The ritual will help you learn how to turn off the body's stress response and increase mental alertness
  • Mechanical and chemical stimulation of the body's physiology will improve elimination of the byproducts of the body's metabolism
  • The effects will include softer and smoother skin

The end result will include greater endurance during the day and better and more restful sleep at night.  The Ayurvedic hot oil massage is traditionally performed in the morning before your bath or shower, to facilitate the release of toxins that may have accumulated during the previous night. You can use cured sesame seed oil, a herbalized oil, or an aroma massage oil.

Get Massage Smart extends their thanks to Banyan Botanicals for their professional video presentation of a self Abhyanga Hot Oil Massage. Get Massage Smart does not receive compensation from Banyan Botanicals for posting their video here.

How to Perform Self Hot Oil Massage At Home

If you choose sesame oil, look for cold-pressed and chemical-free organic sesame oil for best results. Sesame oil contains antioxidant properties, and is helpful in protecting the skin from free radical damage. It is considered to be highly nourishing for the bodies physiology and can help protect the skin from free radical damage.

To cure or "purify the sesame oil, heat the oil to 212 degrees Fahrenheit. Observe safety precautions and do not leave oil unattended. All oil is highly flammable. It is best to use a low heat for a longer period of time to reach 212 degrees, remove from heat and let cool and store for use. The Ayurvedic Abhyanga Oil treatment makes for a great self-massage and self-care treatment.

So--"How is the Ayurvedic abhyanga done?"

Use warm massage oil to your comfort level. Dip the tips of your fingers into the warm oil and apply lightly to the whole body. Allow the oil to penetrate the skin for 4-5 minutes. Then begin to massage your body with the hand using palms and fingers. It is favorable to use light pressure over any sensitive areas, especially the abdomen and heart. It can be more stimulative to the central nervous system is you use more oil and spend more time over the palms of the hand and soles of the feet. These areas have a higher concentration of nerve endings. Circular motions can be used over rounded joints, such as the elbow and knee cap. Long gliding strokes can be used along smooth, straight surfaces of the body, such as arms and legs. After you have covered your entire body with the warm oil, it is suggested that you relax for at least 10-15 minutes, letting the oil sink in.

The longer the oil stays on the surface of the skin, the deeper it penetrates as you perform hot oil massage. During this time you may decide to read something relaxing or uplifting. Simply allow yourself to go into meditation or rest may be more suitable to you personally. Some individuals enjoy shaving or cutting nails and getting ready for the day, with personal grooming.

You may want to remove excessive oil by dabbing it with a cloth or paper towel. To complete the treatment follow with a warm, relaxing bath or shower.

Abhyanga Hot Oil Scalp Massage within Ayurvedic Medicine

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