What relaxes you, makes you high on delicious oil and nourishes your skin?

The Abhyanga massage of course! It sure is a unique and quite surprising experience for the first-timer, as it differs from conventional forms of massage in several ways. Here I will tell you about my first contact with the Abhyanga massage in India…


My Abhyanga massage session starts with the therapists (two!!) asking me in poor English to kindly take all my abhyanga-massage-prone-position-legclothes off. A bit uneasily I do what I am told, and next I am escorted to the massage table. The table is a typical Ayurvedic massage table called Droni, that is used for treatments where a lot of oil is used. Lying in supine position, facing up, the two women start applying hot oil all over my body. My first thought is:” Wow!!!what a deliciously smelling oil!”. The scent of the Dashmool oil totally hypnotizes me and I feel quite in a daze. The type of oil that is used differs between every recipient, as the Ayurvedic doctor recommends the most appropriate oil for each person according to their basic constitution and the imbalance that ought to be pacified. Simply put, the purpose of the application of vast amounts of specific oil during the Abhyanga massage session is to balance the body, mind and spirit and to create harmony within ourselves, as the state of balance equals health in Ayurveda.


After marveling the scent and feel of the oil, I turn my (more-or-less-conscious) attention to how the massage actually feels like. It is truly amazing how synchronized the movements of the two therapists are, and I catch myself wondering how many times they must have practiced and performed the Abhyanga before. Even if the massage is relaxing to its nature, some of the strokes are quite vigorous and work on deeper levels. All of the body except my head and face are massaged, and I notice that the therapists spot tension in my neck area and work on it a bit longer, trying to open it up.


When the Abhyanga massage session, unfortunately, is coming to an end I am escorted to a small “steam booth”. I sit inside the booth on a chair, my body inside it and my head outside, as according to the Ayurveda the head should never be exposed to too much heat. I feel so relaxed and cared for that I almost doze off. The steam bath ends the Abhyanga session and the therapists help me to wipe off the extra oil from my body. I am not offered to take a shower as this would stop the positive effects that the oil has on me on so many levels. To my surprise I am left feeling quite clean and dry, and above all, relaxed and nourished!

The Abhyanga massage forms a part of the purifying Ayrvedic Panchakarma treatments and is the most common massage in India. Traditionally it has been used simply for applying oil on the body, but nowadays it often combines the benefits of the oils with massage strokes.

Hope you enjoyed this post, see you again soon!


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