Ayurvedic Massage

Massage is a scientific manipulation of soft tissues of body with hands in order to produce effects on nervous, muscular and circulatory system and help to improve body functions. It is used to create energy and is a natural method of restoring injured part.

Massage is a scientific manipulation of soft tissues of body with hands in order to produce effects on nervous, muscular and circulatory system and help to improve body functions. It is used to create energy and is a natural method of restoring injured part.

In Ayurveda, the term abhyanga is used for massage where it is mentioned as a very good source of energy, nourishing the doshas and dhatus and keeps them in balance. It also deals with our emotions and mental state. Abhyang is done from face to neck, neck to shoulder and then  from groin area to toes. After that one should go for bath with warm water but  must not be practise after meals and not allow the massaged area to come in direct contact with air.


People having vataprakriti need much more abhaynga as compared to those  having pitta and kapha prakriti as they bear dry and cold skin and are psychologically weak.

For vataprakriti, direction of massage should be slow and opposite to the growth of body hair. Oil is used in ample quantity for massage. Commonly used oils are Dhanvantram Tail, Bala Tail, Mahanarayan Tail and Dashmool Tail.

For people having pitta prakriti, cold oils must be used as they have warm and oily skin. Hands should be in medium motion and to the opposite direction of the body hair. Oils used in pitta prakriti are Nariyal Tail, Chandan Tail, Jatyadi Tail.

Fast and deep massage should be given in the direction of body hair. Minimum quantity of oil is used as they have oily skin. Til tail is generally recommended.

Massage demands skilled use of hands and brain. One can also self massage to unwind after  work or school. Easy massage of  feet, hands, neck can be done while doing other tasks or relaxing. Doing massage provides the fine touch of healing. While going through the massage, the person must feel comfortable. He must be in hygiene and avoid wearing of jewellery . The place where massage  is done should be well heated and ventilated.
Number of massages are described in different ayurvedic texts which are done with herbal oils to nourish the body and get rejuvenating & relaxing effects. These are
The gentle flow of luke warm herbal oils, milk or decoction on forehead followed by massage to allow the oil penetrate inside body tissues. 
A traditional techinque of applying warm herb infused oil over the head to get relief from anxiety and chronic headache.
Lukewarm medicated oil is squeezed on the body from height and then massage is done to cure musculoskeleton disorders.

Pre term  and  full term infants
Massage helps increasing the weight of pre term babies and their early discharge from hospital. Studies show that massage therapy when performed twice daily for 2 weeks for 15 minutes per session causes weight gain, increase in height and head. Massage works as nutritional supplement due to triglycerides such as omega 3 fatty acids present in oils. Increasing number of massage to full term infants helps to resolve their sleep problems. In neonatal jaundice, bilirubin levels get decreased following four days of 20 minute massage given twice daily. Thus massage therapy can reduce need of physiotherapy in newborns.
Children with autism get benefit by massage when it is done for 20 minutes daily for 5 to 7 months. In studies, saliva was collected  to assay oxytocin before and after session during treatment and  oxytocin levels were found high during treatment which is positive effect of massage.
Burn scars
Massage therapy helps people with burn scar by reducing scar thickness and getting improvement in pain and pruritis.
Cervical pain
Good results are seen in neck pain and spasm with regular massage. When performed a few times a week for several weeks, it helps in strengthening the neck muscles.
Massage helps relieve muscle stiffness and pain associated with arthritis by improving circulation and reducing inflamation. It helps making joint more flexible.
This therapy helps relieve rigidity of muscles and irritation of nerves of head. It helps in improving blood flow and oxygen at cellular level and  relieving acute attacks of head pain.
Facial paralysis
In facial paralysis, massage warms up atonic face muscles to regain their strength and function.
Recent studies have shown that massage therapy helps reducing aging process as it aids in regeneration of new cells  and improving the complexion and tone of skin. Medicated oils used  go deeper to all layers of skin, improve its tone  and keep it hydrated.
There is lower production of the stress hormone cortisol and increased secretion of mood boosting hormone i.e serotonin, when massage is done. 
Postural stress
A very common problem in people working for long in standing or sitting posture which results in painful and weak back muscles and nerves. Getting regular massage can prevent this imbalance and make life comfortable.
In a nutshell, the massage therapy has been shown to have beneficial effects on many different groups and conditions.
When compared to other conservative treatments,  massage therapy has more positive effects. It involves stimulation of neurons  and suppression of  cortisol. It has grown significantly and is increasingly practised in traditional medical settings, highlighting the need for more rigorous studies. Based on evidences, massage therapy should be strongly recommended as pain management option.

Dr. Nivedita
Jalandhar (Pb.)