Your Quick Guide to Abhyanga Self-Massage

By Indus Valley Ayurvedic Centre (IVAC)

Ayurveda’s Abhyanga

Need of Today - The Ancient Wisdom of Ayurveda.

Abhyanga forms part of one’s Dinacharya (daily routine) and is a form of Ayurvedic self-care that involves massaging the body with dosha-specific warm selected oils that can be infused with fresh herbs or a few drops of essential oils. Speak to an Ayurvedic Doctor



No other healing tradition practices a massage that compares with the Abhyanga technique.  As a treatment, it connects all levels accessible through touch, from the most subtle spiritual to the most intensely physical one.

The Abhyanga massage is representative of the compassionate four-armed God of Health, Lord Dhanvantari, the Hindu Lord of Ayurvedic medicine.  When the massage is given by therapists as opposed to a self-massage, it always involves two therapists performing a synchronous full body treatment.

Warm sesame oil is suggested for dominant Vata doshas, while warm coconut oil is advised for Pitta doshas, and for Kapha doshas, it’s recommended to use warm mustard oil.

Thick Brush Stroke

The oils used can vary according to the season and the individual's constitution. Place about 1⁄4-1⁄2 cup of oil into a heatproof bowl, and place the bowl of oil in a pan of hot water until the oil is pleasantly warm to the touch; never heat the oil directly.


Drizzle the warmed oil over your entire body.  Rub some of the oil over your head too. A gentle, daily oil massage of the scalp helps prevent headaches, hair loss, premature greying, and a receding hairline.

Massage the oil into your body, beginning at the extremities and working toward the middle of your body. Use long strokes on the limbs and circular strokes on the joints. Massage the chest in broad, clockwise, circular motions.

When you reach the abdomen, follow the path of the large intestine; moving up on the right side of the stomach, then across, then down on the left side. Additionally oiling your feet will help induce sound sleep and help to keep the skin soft.

A thorough Abhyanga massage should take up to 10 to 15 minutes, but shouldn't be a trial and the technique should be practised with awareness, patience and love.  Once a week devote a little extra time and attention to massaging the oil into your scalp, ears, and feet.

Once you have finished your Abhyanga, enjoy a warm bath or shower, ensuring you don't remove the oil from your skin altogether. There should be a thin film of oil remaining on your skin once you have showered or bathed, which your skin will then absorb.

Authored by Indus Valley Ayurvedic Centre

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