It’s normal to sense the desire for rest and renewal amidst the madness of our contemporary lives. One ancient practice that offers a calming holistic way to attain bliss is an Ayurvedic massage. Rooted in the ancient Indian rituals of Ayurveda, these massages have stood the test of time, offering a unique blend of therapeutic benefits and spiritual upliftment.

For the Ayurveda noobs, who’re curious to know more, we’ve created this lowdown on everything you need to know about Ayurvedic massages, what to wear during an Ayurvedic massage session, how to self perform an Ayurvedic massage and even how to make your own Ayurvedic body massage oil at home! Read on…

A woman getting a massage

What is Ayurvedic Massage?

An Ayurvedic massage is one of the main therapeutic methods of Ayurveda, which literally means ‘the science of life’ in Sanskrit. Indian traditional medicine has been using Ayurvedic massage, also known as ‘Abhyanga,’ for thousands of years for various treatments. In fact, nowadays, it’s widely popular all over the world. Ayurveda is a holistic wellness system that aims to align the body, mind, and spirit.

Fundamentally, the goal of an Ayurvedic massage is to encourage balance and harmony in the body. Ayurvedic beliefs state that every individual has a distinct constitution called their dosha. Vata, Pitta, and Kapha are the three doshas that correspond to different elemental attributes and energies in the body. Restoring these doshas to balance is the goal of Ayurvedic massage, which is said to improve general health and wellbeing.

Each dosha has a different elemental combination—ether and air for Vata, fire and water for Pitta, and water and earth for Kapha. These doshas always have a major impact on an individua’s physical, mental and emotional states.

Ayurvedic Massage

Vata is the element of movement and change and is in charge of the body’s processes including breathing, circulation, and creativity. Fire and water-ruled Pitta is responsible for digestion, metabolism, and intelligence; it affects traits like attention and ambition. Rooted in the soil and water elements, kapha governs nutrition, structure, and stability; it also influences qualities like patience and compassion.

A person’s general wellbeing depends on the harmony and balance of these doshas within them; imbalances can cause a number of health problems. The goal of Ayurveda is to preserve and restore health by understanding and managing the unique constitution of each person in relation to these doshas.

An Ayurvedic massage incorporates a variety of techniques, such as kneading, light pressure, and the application of particular oils and herbal concotions. It is possible for an individual’s dosha and particular health concerns to influence the choice of oils and massage techniques chosen by their massage therapist. In addition to promoting physical relaxation, Ayurvedic massage also aids immense mental and emotional rejuvination.

Hand Ayurvedic Massage

What to Wear During Ayurvedic Massage?

To be at ease and fully reap the benefits of an Ayurvedic massage, it’s important to wear the right clothes.The main objective is to make sure you’re comfortable throughout the session. Here are some tips on what to wear:

  1. Comfortable Clothing: You will usually be requested to undress down before the massage starts. It’s crucial to wear loose-fitting, comfy undergarments. Also, opt for cotton or linen ensemble so that when you slip back into it post the massage, you don’t feel too sticky in case you want to head home for shower instead of taking it at the spa. Silk and synthetic are a strict no-no!
  2. Disposable Undergarments: Most Ayurvedic spas and clinics offer disposable underwear for clients to wear during the massage. While some people prefer to wear their own, it’s a comfortable option for others.
  3. Modesty Towel: To maintain your comfort, therapists provide a small towel for you to stay generously covered down there. This ensures that you feel secure and relaxed throughout the session.
  4. Minimal Jewelry: It’s advisable to remove any jewelry, including necklaces, bracelets, rings, and even watches or fitness bands before the massage. This helps avoid any discomfort and ensures the therapist can work on your body more effectively.
  5. Hair Tie: To keep your long hair out of the way during the massage, it’s a good idea to tie it up or use a hairband.

Keep in mind that the primary objectives of an Ayurvedic massage are to facilitate healing and relaxation; thus, it is important to be in your comfort zone.

A girl getting an Ayurvedic massage

How to Perform Ayurvedic Massage?

Although receiving an Ayurvedic massage from a qualified therapist is ideal, self-care at home can also involve giving yourself a simpler version of the treatment. Here is a detailed tutorial on how to accomplish it all by yourself (or you can get your partner to do it!):

Step 1: Choose the Right Oil – Choose an Ayurvedic massage oil based on your dosha or needs. Typically, Vata types should use sesame oil, Pitta types should use coconut oil, and Kapha types should use mustard oil. Sometimes various blends also weave magic. Put the container in a bowl of boiling water to warm the oil without heating it too much.

Step 2: Create a Relaxing Atmosphere – Dim the lights, turn on some calming music, and make sure the space is cosy to create a relaxing atmosphere. Place yourself on a cushioned surface, like a massage table or yoga mat.

Step 3: Begin with Self-Massage (Abhyanga) – Apply a tiny bit of heated oil to your palms, then begin by gently rubbing your scalp in circular motions. Work your way down to your shoulders, neck, and face gradually. Proceed to massage your arms and legs with long, sweeping strokes, being sure to constantly move in the direction of your heart.

Step 4: Focus on the Joints – Your joints need specific treatment because they are prone to tense up. Apply circular movements to your knees and elbows, and soft, back-and-forth movements to your ankles and wrists.

Step 5: Abdominal Massage – The abdomen is seen as a vital spot for overall wellness in Ayurveda. Apply light circular pressure on your abdomen in a clockwise manner. Stress reduction and better digestion are two benefits of this movement.

Step 6: Chest and Heart Area – Carefully massage your chest and heart region with upward strokes. This may encourage emotional equilibrium and a sense of relaxation.

Step 7: End with the Feet – Show some love to your feet as you conclude your self Ayurvedic massage. On the soles and in between the toes, use circular motions. It is believed that the feet are related to different energy centres throughout the body. So it’s always wise to take good care of them.

Step 8: Rest and Rejuvenate – Give the oil time to absorb into your skin—at least 20 to 30 minutes—after the massage is over. After taking a warm bath or shower to get rid of extra oil, gently pat dry your skin with a gentle cloth.

Regularly incorporating Ayurvedic self-massage into your self-care regimen can be a great way to balance your doshas and enhance your general wellbeing.

How to make Ayurvedic massage oil at home?

How to Make Ayurvedic Body Massage Oil at Home?

A quick and affordable approach to customise your massage is to make your own Ayurvedic body massage oil at home. Here is a simple recipe to get you going:

Ingredients:

  • Base Oil: Select a carrier oil, like sesame, coconut, or almond oil, based on your skin type and dosha.
  • Herbs and Spices: Choose spices and herbs that balance your dosha or treat particular issues. For instance, cooling herbs like mint and coriander may help Pitta types, while warming herbs like ginger and cinnamon can help Vata types. Herbs like cloves and basil are stimulating for Kapha types.
  • Essential Oils (Optional): Consider adding a few drops of essential oils to your massage oil to improve its aroma and therapeutic properties. Eucalyptus, rosemary, and lavender are well-liked options for rest and renewal.

Instructions:

  1. Prepare the Herbs and Spices: To release their aromatic and medicinal qualities, crush or grind the selected herbs and spices. For this, use a grinder or a mortar and pestle.
  2. Infuse the Oil: Crushed herbs and spices should be combined with the carrier oil in a sanitised glass container. You can experiment with different proportions of herbs to oil, but a typical starting point is one tablespoon of herbs for every cup of oil. Make sure the oil completely submerges the herbs.
  3. Heat the Oil: For several days, place the glass jar with the oil and herbs in a warm, sunny spot of your home to allow the spices and herbs to infuse the oil with their healthful qualities. The warmth and sunlight aid in the infusion process, allowing the essence of the herbs to infuse into the oil and enrich it.
  4. Strain the Oil: To get rid of the solid herb particles, filter the oil using cheesecloth or a fine-mesh strainer after a few days. You will be left with an oil that is fragrant and silky.
  5. Add Essential Oils (Optional): As mentioned above, if preferred, you may add a few drops of essential oils to the massage oil to improve its scent and therapeutic properties. Select essential oils that balance your dosha or offer the particular advantages you want. Essential oils with relaxing and revitalising properties, such as lavender, rosemary, and sandalwood, are frequently preferred.
  6. Store the Oil: To keep the strained oil safe from light and air, pour it into a glass bottle that is clean and dark. Put a tight stopper on the bottle and write the ingredients and preparation date on it.
  7. Enjoy Your Ayurvedic Massage Oil: It’s now time to use your homemade Ayurvedic body massage oil. Warm a tiny bit of oil before each massage by either gently heating the bottle in your hands or by submerging it in warm water. Use the previously discussed procedures to apply the oil for a wonderfully restorative and nourishing experience.

You can personalise the mixture to fit your dosha, needs, and tastes by making your own Ayurvedic body massage oil at home. A personalised and holistic approach to self-care is provided by the carefully chosen blend of herbs, essential oils, and carrier oils, which enables you to set out on a journey of balance, renewal, and relaxation.

Based on the age-old knowledge of Ayurveda, Ayurvedic massages provide a profound way to balance the body, mind, and soul. An authentic form of self-care, Ayurvedic massages, whether administered by a qualified professional or done at home, promote a feeling of peace and wellness that comes from the inside out. Hope you find nirvana during your Ayurvedic massages!