Ayurvedic massage is an element of Ayurvedic therapy, but what is an Ayurvedic massage exactly?.
This form of massage pays attention to the whole body through touch and massage techniques. Using oils is an important part of Ayurvedic massage, and the therapeutic benefits are physically, emotionally and mentally beneficial.
The oils used by a therapist practicing Ayurvedic techniques will be selected to suit the client’s dosha. A wide range of massage techniques is used during therapy, including effleurage, petrissage, and tapotement stokes.
What Does Dosha Mean?
You will have noticed I mentioned the word dosha in this article. Not everyone is aware of what this means. Dosha in the context of Ayurvedic medicine refers to the body’s three energies that are believed to circulate in us all and tie in with our physiological presence.
Everyone has different levels of energy and a persons physical and mental well-being plays a large part in how these energies circulate. Through Ayurvedic therapy, a therapist will work to restore and stimulate the clients energy.
Studying someone’s dosha is a powerful tool for accessing the persons health. Studies have shown that Ayurveda has been used to study individuals and their level of risk with certain health conditions or diseases. Finding a link between the state of their dosha and their level of risk.
Therapeutic Benefits of an Ayurvedic Massage
Ayurvedic massage promotes all-around good health. Not just physically, but mentally, spiritually and emotionally as well. Here are some of the therapeutic benefits:
- Helps with fatigue and tiredness
- Strengthens the nervous system
- Improves eyesight
- Improves concentration and focus
- Stimulates the body’s natural healing process
- Helps to resolve sleeping issues
The use of massage oils gives this type of massage an extra healing angle. There are countless different essential oils, and each one has its own healing properties. You can discuss your requirements with your therapist before a massage and use an oil that will offer you some beneficial healing properties.
Good quality massage oils permeate the dermis of the skin in a matter of minutes, this is part of the therapeutic effect of the whole process. Essential oils possess antioxidants and anti-carcinogenic propertie and are made with natural products.
Our bodies are complex and we are not able to see or feel all of the tightness we are harboring. An Ayurvedic therapist is able to read the ‘body map’ of an individual. Not just locating the knots, aches and pains, but understanding the cause and how to resolve these issues.
Choosing the Right Massage Oil for an Ayurvedic Massage
Everyone will experience a different reaction to oils, but there are some that will be incredibly beneficial in some circumstances. Rose for example is a soft fragrance that usually stirs up happy memories and a feeling of relaxation. However, rose is often used at funerals to soften the mood of mourners, and can provoke painful memories for some.
Another example is sandalwood and jasmine scents. These oils have soothing properties that help the skin to feel soft and rejuvenated. They are irritable for some however, and can have the opposite effect.
You should always discuss you need with your therapist and try different oils to find what works best for you. This is an incredibly important part of the overall therapy.
Health Benefits of an Ayurvedic Massage
Regular Ayurvedic massage offers the following health benefits:
- Detoxing waste from the body
- Boosts the immune system
- Helps relieve stress and anxiety
- Increases awareness of own body and feelings
- Helps promote deep relaxation
- Improves circulation in the body
Studies over several months of regular massage have shown patients to have an improved and strengthened immune system, Increased blood flow, and a decrease in the toxins being stored in the body.
There is a lot of evidence to show the positive effects on the neuromuscular, lymphatic, skeletal and circulatory systems. All forms of massage therapy offer a range of positive benefits, you will leave the table feeling very relaxed and improved after a session.
What Is an Ayurvedic Massage and What to Expect
If you are wondering what to expect from this form of massage therapy I can give you a rough guide to what would typically happen.
The therapist will start by applying some oil and using soft massage techniques to warm up the body and get into a rhythm. Then they will use techniques tailored to the clients needs.
There are three primary types of movement that are used.
Active – This involves strong and hard strokes where necessary.
Passive – This is the delicate stroking techniques.
Persuasive – This involves kneading and pinching the tissue, kind of like a pecking motion.
With a origin rooted deep in Indian culture, a traditional practitioner may say a prayer before the therapy. They will also be a lot more invested than a typical massage therapist. Synchronizing their breathing and rhythm with the strokes they are using.
It really is more than just a massage as a lot of people are used to. It’s a lifestyle and a spiritual awakening where it’s practiced in India, and this is where the spiritual and emotional enters the process.
Ayurveda as a Lifestyle
Ayurveda is intended to be a way of life, not just a 60 minute massage a few times a year. There are diet changes, detoxification, meditation and daily rituals to practice if you want to go all-in with the principles of how to live a spiritual life.
It’s intended to help the practitioner live a happy and healthy life. Not to combat disease or illness, rather to prevent illness though healthy living. Maintaining a healthy balance of the body’s own energy, and combining this with positive external forces is the best approach to do this.
I’m not suggesting this is a replacement for modern medicine and treatments, rather a way to compliment healthy living in the best way that you can. That’s what an Ayurvedic massage is.