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Abhyanga is an ancient Ayurvedic detox and rejuvenation technique that’s become very popular in recent years. It’s a whole body massage with warm oil, usually pre-medicated with herbs for specific conditions. Traditionally, practitioners use sesame oil. However, for people with sensititivity to heat, olive or coconut oil are good choices.
Ayurvedic clinics around the world offer this wonderful detoxification and rejuvenation technique. However, you can do this massage yourself before bathing in the morning. If you don’t have time for a full body massage, then a good substitute is to focus on your head, hands and feet. (Massaging your feet at night before bed can also help promote more sound sleep.)
Because Abhyanga is purifying, nourishing and relaxing, many benefits are traditionally associated with regular performance of this pleasant daily ritual. Here’s a few:
- Softer, smoother skin
- Increased levels of stamina throughout the day
- Increased circulation
- Calming for the nerves
- Lubrication of the joints
- Increased mental alertness
To perform Abhyanga yourself, start with the head and then work towards the feet. Use circular strokes on the joints and long strokes on the long bones. To demonstrate, you can learn the step-by-step technique for self Abhyanga in this video.
In a professional setting, two Ayurvedic technicians choreograph Abhyanga (four hands with six positions) when they perform panchakarma, an Ayurvedic purification treatment. This choreography creates coordination between the two hemispheres of the brain and over all balance due to the body’s bilateral symmetry. Here is a brief list of Ayurvedic spas or clinics we approve of: Great Britain, Switzerland, Germany, India, and United States. For a more extensive listing of countries, check out the International (IMAVF) page.
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