Daily massage with oil is an important part of any Ayurvedic routine, and it is thought to be best to use oils and techniques that correspond to your Dosha type.
Self-massage is obviously much less expensive than a daily, or even weekly visit to a therapist or spa so it is well worth spending some time finding out the best way to perform this routine for you.
Caring for yourself, both physically and spiritually, send a very powerful message to your brain and psyche. Incorporating massage into your daily self-care regimen tells your soul that you love yourself, that you are worth looking after and nurturing. This can boost both your immune system and your sense of self-worth enormously.
For dry skin (Vata) use a heavy, warm oil such as sesame or avocado.
Benefits of Abhyanga for Vata Dosha
If you are a Vata type, you will probably already know that the qualities of this Dosha are cool, heavy, slow, smooth, soft, and static. According to Ayurveda, like increases like, so you need to look for massage oils, including essential oils, which have warming, invigorating properties, such as black pepper, calamus, and rosemary.
The benefits you can expect to receive from a regular massage with any of these oils include:
- Moisturisation of dry skin.
- An increase in the suppleness and softness of skin.
- More lustrous hair growth.
- An improvement in dryness of the scalp.
- Increased efficiency of the lymphatic drainage system.
- Invigoration of the circulatory system.
- Warmer extremities, fingers, nose, and toes.
- More energy throughout the day.
- Increased motivation to move about or engage in physical activities.
Techniques of Abhyanga for Vata Dosha
Aim to spend about 15 minutes on your self-massage routine, either in the morning for an invigorating day, or at bedtime for a more restful sleep.
Make sure that the room is warm and either sit or stand on a towel kept specifically for this purpose. Your massage oil should also be slightly warm, but not hot. The easiest way to warm it is to place the bottle in a bowl or basin of hot water for a few minutes.
Firstly, cover your body with oil. Abhyanga is all about the oil, so be generous with the amount you use. Unlike many other forms of massage, the goal is not to rub all of them all into the skin.
Vatas need to use moderate pressure and fairly brisk speed when massaging.
- Begin at the extremities and work your way towards the middle of your body using circular motions on your joints and long, smooth strokes on your limbs.
- On the abdomen, follow the path of your large intestine by moving up the right side, across the middle and down the left. Use broad, sweeping, circular stokes over the chest and tummy regions.
- Spend at least 10 minutes giving attention to your limbs and torso. Massage with love and patience and enjoy the feeling of the pressure of your hands on areas where your hold tension.
- Use less pressure on the abdomen than on the larger muscles of legs and arms.
- Now spend a further 5 -10 minutes giving your face, ears, and scalp a massage with lighter pressure. If you do not wish to massage oil into your hair every day wash your hands first to remove most of the oil and simply use the residue that is left on your fingertips to massage the whole head. Stroke your ears, following the contours from the outside rim to the earlobes and then gently press just inside the ear.
- When you have finished, allow yourself to rest for a few minutes, preferably lying down in a warm environment.
- hower or bathe in warm water with a little gentle soap and pat your dry skin dry gently. There is no need to “scrub” with the towel as any oil left on your skin will either be absorbed or will wipe off on the towel.
Abhyanga Tips/Instructions for Vata Dosha
When Vata is out of balance it can manifest as constipation, anxiety, arthritis, lack of appetite, and over-thinking.
Regular massage with the recommended oils should help you to keep Vata in check and bring relief from these, and many more conditions. Abhyanga is an excellent way to calm the busy Vata mind, reduce stress levels, and promote relaxation. Vatas often need regular grounding, so try to focus on the here and now as you perform the massage routine. Breathe deeply as you stroke in the oil with rhythmical motions and take your hands right down to the soles of your feet. Hold the intention of sending roots into the earth from all parts of your body as you massage. This will help enormously if you suffer from anxiety or “busy brain” as well as promoting a sense of calm and stability that will last for several hours.