In simple terms, Ayurveda is known as the science of life. This science has been the basis of good health and lifestyle for a long time in India and surrounding Oriental nations.
This ancient tradition was based on the dual concepts of Ayur which meant life and Veda which meant science. Together they offered a holistic solution to myriad health problems and were responsible for curing and saving lives for a long time.
The advent of modern day medical science had, in a way, turned human attention from these natural therapies.
In the last few decades however, there has been a renewed awareness and demand for holistic approaches like Ayurveda.
Fear of unwanted side effects have paved the way for alternative treatments which promise to bring back ancient healing powers through various treatment modes like Ayurvedic therapies and Ayurvedic massage.
Like any other form of massage, the key focus of Ayurvedic massage is also stress relief. But Ayurveda does not stop at just stress reduction but leads to comprehensive healing from within.
The massage aims to break down the toxins in the body and slowly ease them out of the system so that at the end of the session one feels rejuvenated, both mentally as well as physically.
The toxins or Amaas they were called in ancient times are believed to be unwanted fats and putrefied food matter which gets stuck in the system in grease like form.
If they are not flushed out in time they become more deeply embedded in the body leading to various ailments and diseases. Regular massage can help one to keep these at bay and enjoy vibrant good health for a long time to come.
The practice of Ayurveda is based on the concept of life forms or dosha”. These life forms are in turn based on mix different kinds of energies called “vata”, “pitta”, “kapha” and their combinations.
To enable a free flow of positive energies and ensure that every individual “dosha” receives it proper healthy nurturing, Ayurveda presents a combination of detoxification and diet, yoga and meditation, natural and herbal medications along with Ayurvedic massage therapy.
Together these various forms of therapy work to eliminate the toxins from the body, purify the blood, rejuvenate the cells and strengthen the muscle tones. The body automatically feels fresher, more relaxed, healthier and eventually more energetic.
Different types of Ayurvedic massage
– Ayurvedic hot stone massage traditionally called ShilaAbhyanga.
– Ayurvedic polarity therapy.
– Invigorating and energizingfacial traditionally called Marma Massage which uses herbal mask and specially prepared oils for desired effect.
– Ayurvedic acupressure or ayurvedaenergy point therapy traditionally called MarmaChikitsa.
– Localized steam for pain relief traditionally called NadiSwedana.
– Ayurvedic energy work traditionally called Prana Therapy.
– A deep muscular herbal oil massage traditionally called Vishesh.
– Deep massage slimming treatment using herbal powders traditionally called Udwarthanam.
– A warm oil massage usually adminsitered by two therapists with herbal elements traditionally called Pizzichili
– Ayurvedic warm herbal oil massage traditionally called Abhyanga. This is one of the most important therapies and is broken down into many forms like:
– Shiro-Abhyanga-Nasyawhich includes facial, shoulder, deep neck, head and forehead, and aromatic steam.
– Abhyanga-Garshanameans dry lymphatic skin brushing along with herbal oil massage.
Applying massage therapy to relieve the patient of stress, pain and other ailments is not a new concept for restricted to only the Oriental cultures.
It has been an intrinsic part of ancient healing system in the western world as well. But while its importance was much lessened in the occidental cultures, it remained a constant companion for comfort and cure in the east especially in South East Asian countries.
Each has their own brand of massage that they are famous for and in India it has been Ayurvedic massage all along. Today, this therapeutic form of treatment is known the world over.
Resurrection of natural and holistic therapies has paved the way for renewed enthusiasm for Ayurveda and all its related forms of treatment, including massage.
Ayurvedic massage leads to immense psychological and physiological benefits which rejuvenate and relax the overall system.
There are special techniques applied for this hard body massage procedure. It is administered not just using hands but also forearms, feet, elbows as well as well-oiled balls.
The application process involves kneading, tapping and squeezing along with the traditional massage strokes using essential Ayurvedic oils.
The therapist or the masseur needs to focus on the “marma points” of the patient which works the same way as focus given on pressure points in acupuncture and acupressure as well as reflexology.
The massage style and pressure is set differently for each individual as the ultimate balance would depend on the individual doshas so that it can bring about overall wellbeing and healthierstate of mind.
A closer look into the Ayurvedic massage technique
Ayurvedic massage can be an independent form of therapy as well as part of a comprehensive Ayurvedic treatment.
Typically, the protocol dictates correct dietetics, specially made herbal formulas and medicines, yoga and massage therapy along with proper life style management.
The treatment is designed and further customized to suit individual health and other idiosyncrasies, and this is true of singular massage therapies as well.
The specially concocted warm Dosha oil is administered through continuous strokes and related techniques like herbal scrubbing and washing and full-body steam application.
To experience this dynamic and intense form of therapy one has to first go through a hot shower which will help open the pores on the skin as well as loosen the stubborn toxins that needs to be softened and eventually flushed out of the system.
After the shower the specially prepared Dosha oil is warmed and then applied all on the body. The hot oil makes it easier for the body to absorb the herbs and the goodness of the oil itself so that the process of detoxification is achieved faster and better.
The oil is transferred onto the body with the special striking and massaging techniques which generate additional heat and soften the muscles helping one relax.
The massage session typically lasts for an hour. It is conducted in a cool and dimly lit room so that patients can relax easily and give in to the exquisite feelings that the massage begins to induce.
Masseurs and therapists play a soothing music which lilts in the backgrounds and helps one to feel the subtle effects of the massage better.
After this one would go through either a steam bath and then a hot shower, or both depending on what the individual Doshas suggest and advice.
The steam bath carries on for about 15 minutes but can be adjusted if one feels too tired, suffocated. Once the steam is turned off it is important that one sits and waits for a while before going in for the invigorating shower.
This shower is accompanied first by a thorough body scrub so that all lingering traces of herbs and oils can be easily washed away. The scrub needs to be kept on for 10 minutes.
Rich in vitamins A and C it works as a blood purifier, exfoliator and source of excellent skin nourishment. Then a final plunge into the shower is required to wash off all remnants of the massage and then emerge engulfed in a fluffy towel.
The massage as well as the steam bath results in lotdehydration therefore one needs to have lots of water post the Ayurvedic massage session. Keep having water in intervals even when you have left the spa and reached home.
It is important that you rest and relax for at least two to three hours after the massage since the internal energies or Doshas need to settle down and balance in the system slowly.
It is natural to feel tired and sleepy at this time so it’s better to give in to the impulses and rest instead to plunging into strenuous activities right away.
Key benefits of Ayurvedic massage
– The therapeutic massage relaxes and rejuvenates the muscle tissues
– It effectively increases metabolism
– Improves blood circulation and cardiac functions
– Improves and cleanses lymphatic functions
– Helps improve the immunity and leads to faster healing from injuries and recovery from illnesses
– Massage nourishes the skin and oxygenates the cells
– Relieves fatigue and stress, calms the mind
– Helps in faster removal of metabolic wastes
– Works like magic to relieve pain, general as well as from rheumatism and arthritis
– It helps alleviate the pain and discomfort felt after injuries and whiplash
– Lessens spasms and muscle cramps
The therapeutic powers of Ayurvedic massage works amazingly well for all kinds of traumatic injuries, as well as excruciatingly painful conditions like sciatica, neuralgia as well as restless leg syndrome.
Today more and more doctors and therapists are suggesting regular sessions of Ayurvedic massage to help patients recover from these conditions faster and better.
The best thing about holistic therapies like massage is that there are no artificial elements involved in them, only natural ingredients and comprehensive techniques applied to transfer them to the body and help in healing.
Unlike other modern treatment methods there are no side effects involved in massage therapies. One can use them to complement existing treatment methods or simply stick to these holistic approaches to lead a healthier life for a longer time.