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Ayurvedic massage is known as abhyanga. The word ‘abhyanga’ is composed of two Sanskrit words, abhi and anga. Abhi means ‘towards’ and anga, in one of its meanings, refers to ‘movement’.

Oil massage should be resorted to daily. It wards of old age, exertion and aggravation of vata. It bestows good vision, nourishment to the body, long life, good sleep, and good and strong healthy skin. It should be done to the feet, head, ears and palm.

Abhyanga may be done using oil, herbal powder, herbal pastes or ghee. It is a part of the dinacharya or the daily routine suggested by Ayurveda. It is used for relief of pain, stiffness and tiredness. It also forms an important part of snehana or oleation which is an indispensable prelude to panchakarma treatments, the five Ayurvedic detoxification therapies.

The scientific reason for abhyanga may be to increase the blood flow towards the most distal parts of the body and avoid overwhelming the heart through increased venous return if the massage is done towards the heart, or in other words, in the direction opposite to that of the body hair.

Abhyanga is considered an important treatment modality for balancing the doshas. The choice of oils should preferably be made according to your dosha and the area to be massaged. For the head, generally oils with cooling properties are used.
For Vata constitution, use sesame, olive or castor oil.
For Pitta constitution, use coconut, sunflower oil or ghee.
For Kapha constitution, use mustard, sesame, corn or olive oil.

In Ayurvedic pharmacy there are several herb-infused oils available for different purposes and can be selected following the advice of an Ayurvedic Practitioner for example Mahnarayan oil to relieve Joint pain in Arthritis.

What to expect from your Ayurvedic Massage Treatment

At Ayurveda heaven, your Ayurvedic massage treatment will begin with a consultation with me (Dr.Kanchan Sharma, Ayurveda consultant). I will go through your health and lifestyle check-up to establish your needs and expectations and choose suitable oil for you. This is completely confidential and will take around 15 minutes. Depending on your need and prescribed treatment, the massage can last anywhere from 30 minutes to 90 minutes. The oil,especially mixed for your condition, is heated and applied directly to your skin.

Please bear in mind that you may feel very relaxed after the treatment, so it's suggested not to plan any strenuous activities following the treatment to match this feeling. Make sure you stay warm after your massage.

Benefits of Massage

  • Reduction in Stress, Heart Rate and Blood Pressure
  • Reduction Of Burning Sensations In Diabetic Neuropathy Patients
  • Reduction In Heal Cracking, Roughness And Dryness Reduction in     Knee Pain In Osteoarthritis Patients
  • Lower Levels Of Anxiety And Depressed Mood
  • Newborns who receive massage from their mothers also tend to cry     less, and are more active, alert, and sociable
  • Reduction in Atopic dermatitis/eczema
  • Reduction in Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Useful for many musculoskeletal problems, such as low back pain,     osteoarthritis, fibromyalgia, and sprains and strains.
  • Massage may also relieve depression
  • Increases your chance of sleeping better

When to avoid massage

Ayurvedic massage should not be done in the following conditions according to Ayurveda.

  • Fever
  • Indigestion
  • Kapha aggravation
  • In ‘ama’ conditions which includes an acute swelling
  • Immediately after Ayurvedic detox therapies like Vamana (induced     vomiting) and Virechana (induced purgation)
  • During chemotherapy. If you have DVT (Deep vein thrombosis)

How to do self massage

  • Begin by heating a quarter cup of massage oil suggested for your body type. It should be slightly warmer than body temperature.
  • Massage the oil into your entire body,beginning at the feet and working up the legs toward the middle of the body and then take up your arms.
  • Use long stokes along the limbs and circular strokes on the joints.
  • Use moderate to light pressure particularly on the heart area. Use a very gentle circular motion over the abdomen, moving clockwise, in the     direction of the large intestine.
  • Massage the face and outer part of the ears, using the fingers. Massage the outer ear using your little or index finger.
  • Put a small amount of oil on the crown.Give gentle dabbing strokes using your palm.. The stroke should be circular, describing small circles.
  • Massage the front and back of the neck, and the upper part of the back using firm and long strokes along the direction of muscles fibers.
  • Massage the back, spine and sides as far as your hands can reach using firm and long strokes.
  • The ideal length of a daily full body massage is 15 to 30 minutes, but even a quick massage for 5 minutes could be very beneficial. In these short     massages make the priorities the head and feet.

Finishing Up Your Ayurvedic Massage

  • Take a warm shower 20 minutes after your massage. Do not use soap on the body. For taking oil out of the hair an herbal shampoo can be used.     Dab the body dry with a towel. It is better to keep separate towels for the massage routine as ultimately they get oily and need to be changed.
  • Caution: Never put oily towels in a dryer or hot vehicle as oil and heat can start a fire.

Symptoms of Arthiritis

  • Body ache
  • Tastelessness
  • Excessive thirst
  • Lethargy

Symptoms of Arthiritis

  • Heaviness in body
  • Feverishness
  • Morning stiffness in the joints
  • Pain in the joints

Causes Of Arthritis

  • Diet - increased vata
  • Malnutrition
  • Wrong Lifestyle
  • Injury or infection


Along with a well structured approach to diet, Ayurvedic arthritis home remedies can also be very helpful, especially if the condition is not chronic or severe.

  • Massage joints with camphor oil before going to bed
  • Castor oil - 1 tsp taken before bed with ginger tea
  • Fenugreek - ½ tsp of powder in warm water before breakfast
  • Turmeric - 1 tsp twice daily
  • Mix a tablespoon of castor oil into a glass of milk and take it at bed time..

Camphor Oil Recipe

A cure for Rheumatism and other aches:

  • Warm 2 tbsp sesame seed oil or coconut oil.
  • Remove from heat and mix in 10 drops of camphor essential oil. You can use crushed Camphor in same proportion as oil and then mix it well .Store in airtight container.
  • Apply this to the affected area and massage gently to stimulate blood flow and ease pain.
  • Wash off with slightly hot water for better relief.

Herbal Remedies

  • Dry grind a mixture of 6 teaspoons of dried ginger.
  • 6 teaspoons of caraway seed powder
  • 3 teaspoons of black pepper powder.

Take half a teaspoon of this mixture along with water, thrice daily.

It is advisable to consult an Ayurvedic consultant before taking any herbal preparation.

In Ayurvedic pharmacy there are several herb-infused oils available for different purposes and can be selected following the advice of an Ayurvedic Practitioner for example Mahnarayan oil to relieve Joint pain in Arthritis.

The ayurvedic procedure of instilling medicated oils in the ears is called Karna Purana. It is beneficial in ear diseases including hearing loss, tinnitus, Meniere’s disease (characterized by mainly vertigo), swimmer’s ear and other diseases related to the ears.

Indications of Karna Purana

  • Earache
  • Earwax blockage
  • Wax removal or excess wax
  • Ear congestion
  • Tinnitus
  • Meniere’s disease
  • Hearing loss
  • Swimmer’s ear
  • Headache
  • Jet-lag and ears popping/crackling in airplanes

Symptoms of Arthiritis

  • Migraine
  • Neck pain
  • Jaw pain
  • Pain disorders
  • Acoustic nerve weakness
  • Vertigo
  • General body aches
  • Depression
  • Body balance disorder
  • Anxiety or worry
  • Insomnia

Other benefits

  • Loosens ear wax
  • Strengthens the bones in the ear
  • Prevents neck stiffness


It’s best to use a herbalized oil that is significantly more moisturizing than a plain vegetable oil.

2 to 15 drops of medicated oils are instilled in the ears during karna purana therapy.

How it's performed

  • Do head massage of the patient for 15 to 30 minutes before the procedure.The brahmi oil can be used for head massage.
  • Warm some sesame oil or ghee and put in shallow bowl
  • Use a cotton ball to soak up the oil
  • Lay on one side and squeeze the oil out of the cotton ball into your ear ( it will tickle)
  • Massage your ear lobe and bones gently for a couple minutes
  • Lay for 20 minutes (even 10 minutes does some good), bonus points if you so hum
  • Put a towel over your ear, tilt your head so the oil drizzles out
  • Repeat other side
    • The procedure should be followed continuously for a week for better and desired results. If patient has not got the desired results, then repeat the Karna Purna procedure after a month.

Benefits of Karna Purana

Karna Purana has many benefits in ear disorders. It helps to treat the incurable diseases such as tinnitus. It improves hearing quality, helps in hearing loss and reduces frequent ear infections. Other benefits of Karna Purana are given below:

  • Medicated oils are used in Karna Purana. These oils have strengthening properties for ear structures. These oils nourish all parts of the ears including external ear, middle ear, inner ear and eardrum.
  • It is very helpful for Balance Disorders. Balance disorders are characterized by vertigo, dizziness and loss of balance.
  • If you are suffering from frequent earaches, then it is the good therapy for your ears. The ayurvedic oils used in the therapy of Karna Poorna are beneficial for reducing inflammation and pain of the ears.
  • Karna Purna also improves hearing capacity and quality. It nourishes the acoustic nerve and improves signal quality to the brain. It also enhances better interpretations of sounds by the hearing center in the brain.
  • The mind disturbs due to many reasons such as depression, sleeplessness, emotional trauma etc. The karna purna helps to calm the brain and mind as well.
  • It increases sense of sound by enhancing ear functions
  • If karana purana taken regularly in interval of six months, it helps to prevent frequent ear infections.
  • Karna purana helps in headache and migraine that are associated with body balance problems.

Contraindication of Karna Purana

Karna purana therapy is contraindicated in following cases:

  • Eardrum rupture
  • Ear injury
  • Cuts in the skin of ears
  • Ear wounds
  • Burns that affects ears

Side Effects of Karna Purana:

There are very rare side effects with Karna purana. These are:

  • Ear infections if the medicated oil is not preserved properly or infected with microbes.
  • Some people may experience some discomfort in the ears after the procedure, but it will be only for a little time.

Nasya' is an Ayurvedic practice that encourages nasal administration of medicinal herbs, decoctions and oils. Commonly such treatments are known to clear sinus congestion, help clear accumulated toxins from head and neck region.

In Ayurveda Nasya is considered one of the most important holistic self-care that encourages internal detoxification. Many Vaidya’s consider Nasya as a part of Ayurvedic Daily Routine and conducts in every day by putting 3-5 drops of warm ghee or sesame seed oil into each nostril in the morning.

Nasya helps to lubricate the nasal passage, clean out mucus and sinuses, improves voice, mental clarity,smell and vision.

Nasya Oils for Different Doshas:

In Ayurveda various substances are used to do Nasya. The most common Nasya oil is herbal infused oil which is both nurturing and nourishing, and alleviating numerous discomforts. Following are some dosha specific Nasya Oil formulas.

Vata Dosha: Sesame oil, ghee, or vacha (calamus) oil. Pitta Dosha: Brahmi ghee, sunflower or coconut oil. Kapha Dosha: Vacha (calamus root) oil. Other nasya oils available in the market are balancing formula for all three doshas.

Anu Taila

Anu Taila: Is a classical Ayurvedic formula for Nasya that was described in Asthanga Hrdaya. It treats sinus problems, clears nasal passages, strengthens head, ears, eyes, throat, tongueand shoulders. Prepared in a base of sesame seed oil it contains 30 herbs and goat’s milk.

Herbs such as jivanti, devadaru, twak, gopi, musta, shatavari, lotus, vidanga, cardamom, cinnamon and vitex are used in Anu Taila. Anu Taila positively effects Tridosha and has no known side effect if administered correctly.

How to do Nasya Treatment: Self-administration of Nasya at Home

  • Comfortably lie down on your back and tilting your head back. Use a pillow under the neck only and tilt the head down (backwards – looking up on the ceiling). Or if you are lying on a bed, you may hang your head off the edge of the bed.
  • Place 3-5 drops of either Dosha specific Nasya oil or Anu Taila or Tridoshic Nasya oil in each nostril. Apply or administer drop by drop in order to absorb the oil through the nostril better. Massage in circular motion the outside perimeter of the nostril to ensure drops go down the nasal passage.
  • Breath in with light force and then rest for two minutes allowing the oil to penetrate. Nasya will not block air or breathing, or disturb sleep on the contrary it will clear the nasal passage and make one feel more energetic. Do not overdo Nasya.

Benefits of Nasya:

Apart from the above mentioned benefits Nasya as a Daily Routine can relieve you from

  • Hoarseness of voice and stuttering or slurred speech
  • Stiffness in the head, neck, throat, teeth and jaw area (TMJ)
  • Headaches and migraines
  • Earaches and any pain in nose and throat
  • Known to improve conditions such as Rhinitis (runny nose)
  • Relieve mental and emotional stress, anxiety, fear and negativity
  • Positively impact higher cerebral and sensory organs (eyes, nose, ears, skin and tongue)
  • Neuro muscular conditions
  • Prevents facial paralysis, goiter, tonsillitis, convulsion and motor disorder.
  • Prevents loose teeth, gingivitis and diseases of the oral cavity.
    • Nasya also nourishes the body by

      • Strengthening the hair as well as prevent white/grey hair
      • Firming veins, joints, tendons, and ligaments of the neck
      • Reduces the chances of eye disorders due to old age

Contraindication of Nasya:

Do not apply Nasya oil under following circumstances

  • When bleeding
  • Suffering from acute health conditions, infectious disease, and fever
  • Immediately before or right after food or drinking
  • During any attacks – heart attacks, asthma attacks, or any pain condition
  • Avoid administrating Nasya oil during pregnancy, and menstruation

Massage of the body with some extra pressure in a reverse way i.e. from toes towards head is called Udvartan. There are two types: Snigdha Udvartan and Ruksha Udvartan Dry herbal powders or herbal paste prepared with medicated oils is used in this herbal powder massage.

When to do Udvartan

  • Obesity – highly beneficial for fat reduction
  • Cellulite breakdown
  • Preventing loosening of skin under weight loss program
  • After childbirth, if you are get some extra weight
  • Muscular weakness
  • Diabetic neuropathy
  • Decrease mobility to joints due to excess KAPHA, AMA or rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Removing dead cells from the skin and increasing glow of the skin
  • Paralysis
  • Sclerosis of blood vessels
  • Sciatica of KAPHA origin

Benefits of Udvartan:

  • It liquefies the subcutaneous fat, makes body tough, rejuvenates the skin and brings glow to it.
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis- it can be the best therapy for reducing symptoms and inflammation of the joints.
  • It removes Toxins: It is one of the detoxification ayurvedic therapies, which cleanses the body and discharges bad body odor.

Snigadh Udvartan - Is powder massage done with herbal paste prepared mixing herbs’ powder with medicated oils. This herbal paste is rubbed over the skin. Ruksha Udvartan - In Ruksha Udvartan, dry powders of herbs are used for rubbing. It is beneficial for diabetic people with insulin resistance. Ruksha Udvartana is useful in obese people.

Udvaratn Ingredients - For Weight Loss

  • Triphala powder
  • Soap Nut – Reetha
  • Pushkarmool
  • Black Pepper
  • Long pepper
  • Barley – Yava churna
  • Nagarmotha
  • Valerian- Tagar

Udvaratn Ingredients - For glowing skin

  • Amalaki (Amla or Indian Gooseberry)
  • Licorice or Yashtimadhu
  • Rose petals
  • Sariva
  • Neem
  • Red Sandalwood
  • White Sandalwood
  • Turmeric

Medical Oils used in Udvartana:

For Weight Loss

  • Triphala Oil
  • Dhanwantaram oil
  • Kottamchukkadi oil

For Glowing Skin

  • Chandanadi oil
  • Kumkumadi Oil
  • Sandalwood Massage Oil

How to prepare sandalwood massage oil:

  • Take 100 ml olive oil or sesame oil.
  • Heat the oil and add a pinch of turmeric powder in the hot oil
  • Let it cool down and then strain the oil in a separate glass jar.
  • Now, add 5 ml sandalwood oil.
  • Mix both ingredients and use this oil for massage.

Udvartan Self-Massage Technique:

  • Do full body massage with warm sesame oil or olive oil.
  • Rub herbal powder with maximum tolerable pressure and movement.
  • If your skin is sensitive, you can mix the oil with warm sesame oil or olive oil for making its paste.
  • You need to move your hands from the feet to thigh, hands to shoulders.
  • The movements of your hands should be opposite direction as compared to regular oil massage.
  • Steam bath or warm water bath after this massage is always needed.

However, the maximum benefits can be achieved when ayurvedic massage therapist does Udvartana

Udvartana should not be performed under these circumstances:

  • Dry skin (Ruksha Udvartan is contraindicated)
  • Wounds, cuts and burns
  • Eczema, Psoriasis
  • Pregnancy
  • Children under age 10

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