‘Abhyanga’ means oil application over the body and usually called a herbal oil application. This application is done on the skin which is the largest sense organ of the body.
INDICATION AND BENEFITS
The herbal oil application is recommended in daily practice to maintain good health and prevent diseases and a therapeutic to cure many diseases. The herbal application done on a daily basis is an herbal application done by oneself and promotes long life, energy, improves eyesight, complexion and is very good for the skin.
As a therapy Abhyanga is practiced worldwide in the prevention of disease and as relief from mental and physical stress. It is usually widely used in musculoskeletal disorders like Cervical Spondylitis, Lumbar Spondylitis, sports injuries, and arthritis. It is very beneficial in diseases like stroke, Parkinson’s, and muscle, joint, and nerve-related disorders.
It also helps in improving circulation in the body and helps in inducing sleep and promotes longevity.
It is also recommended to the newborn for at least a month after birth to nourish the muscles.
It should not be done in conditions of fever, diarrhea, and indigestion condition and in excessive obese individuals.
The therapeutic herbal oil massage should be done under the guidance of a knowledgeable Practitioner and trained masseurs. To have a synchronized effect of the herbal therapeutic Abhyanga it should be done by two or four individuals/ masseurs by using massage techniques and special strokes. In herbal therapeutic Abhyanga head, palms, soles, and ears and given importance and massed very carefully.
Ayur Healthcare offers Classical Ayurvedic Massages in Parramatta, Sydney including Abhyanga, Shirodhara, Udwarthana, Pindasweda, Basti treatments, Thalapothichil, and all other Panchakarma Therapies.
Abhyanga is done on a specialized wooden table called Droni. The oil is selected by the Ayurvedic Practitioner for Abhyanga based on the type of ailment and type of disease. The massage begins in seven different postures.
Abhyanga should be done for around 5 minutes in each position and the change in positions should be done gradually as the table becomes slippery during the procedure. After the procedure, he is asked to take a rest for around 5 minutes and followed by which next procedure can be done.
i) Smearing the oil – Masseur poured the oil on his own handheld just over the head of the patient. Spread the oil all over the head including the neck and the ear pinna with the palmar surface of the hands. Moving the palm is enough to smear the oil on the head if the scalp has short trimmed hairs. If the patient has long hairs, fingers have to be poked between the hairs.
i) Massage from front to backward – After smearing the oil masseur then massage the whole head, moving the palmar surface of the hand from front to backward by applying gentle as well as firm pressure. It includes the vertex, temporal, occipital portion of the head.
iii) Picking strokes – Fingers of both hands are moved as if picking up tufts of hairs.
iv) Flat palm stokes – Gentle strokes are placed with the palmar surface of hands on the scalp either simultaneously or alternatively.
v) Rocking strokes – Gentle stokes on the head by rapid rocking movements of both the palms simultaneously.
vi) Finger strokes – Gentle strokes on the head by making rocking movements of both the palms with its finger stretched.
vii) First strokes – Gentle strokes are placed on all areas of the head with closed fists simultaneously and alternatively.
viii) Squeeze strokes – Grasping tuft of hairs with hands followed by the gentle squeeze.
ix) Pressing – Palm is placed on the patient’s head and is molded into the shape of the scalp followed by gentle and firm pressure on the head.
x) Ear massage – Ear pinna is grasped between the thumb anteriorly and the other finger posteriorly. Then the pinna is rubbed between the finger after that thumb is firmly moved from above to downward anteriorly
i) Massaging the cervical spine – Masseur places his palms on the two sides of the patient neck and thumbs are approximated at the midline on the supine. Then thumbs are simultaneously moved upward by applying adequate pressure.
ii) Lateral sides of the neck– Masseur places his palm on the sides of the patient’s head on either side. Then by applying firm pressure move the palm down towards the shoulder on respective sides.
iii) Strokes – Strokes are placed on the neck of the patients with both hands simultaneously or alternatively by using the outer border of the palm.
i) Masseur standing at the head end of the table smear the oil all over the face
ii) Linear massage on the forehead – Masseur places both thumbs at the center of the patient’s forehead, approximating each other on their outer side. Then he glides his thumbs towards the lateral aspects of the forehead applying firm as well as gentle pressure.
iii) Linear message on eyebrows– Masseur places both thumbs at the medial end of the eyebrow in such a way that their tips facing each other. Then he glides his thumbs towards the lateral side by applying firm pressure.
iv) Linear massage on the nasal bridge- One thumb is placed on the base of the nasal bridge. By applying gentle pressure the thumb is then moved to the tip of the nose. A similar movement is done with the other thumb. In this way, the nasal bridge is massaged alternatively with the right and left thumb.
v) Linear massage on sides of the nose– Both the thumbs are placed on either side of the base of the nose and then are guided towards the nostrils applying gentle and firm pressure. Movement of thumbs may be done simultaneously or alternatively one after the other.
vi) Linear massage on the upper lip – Both thumbs are placed on the skin portion of the upper lip just below the nostrils in such a way that their tips touch each other. Then by applying adequate pressure the thumbs are moved away simultaneously towards the lateral side covering the whole length of the upper lip.
vii) Maxillary massage– Thumbs are placed on either side of the nose and then are moved laterally over the maxillary bone and reaching up the temporal region. This covers the upper portion. For the lower portion thumbs are placed on either side of the nose and move laterally, downward towards the mandible.
viii) Cheek massage – Cheek massage is done with the thenar eminences of the hand. thenar eminences of both the hands are placed on either cheek of the patient. The palms are moved to the chin area applying adequate pressure.
ix) Chin massage – Thumbs are placed on the center of the chin of the patients approximating each other on their outer surface. By applying firm pressure thumbs are then moved laterally over the mandible.
x) Linear massage on mandible – Masseur places his fingers of both hands on the patient’s mandible with the tip of right and left thumb approximated on the middle of the chin and tip of the remaining fingers approximated on the undersurface of the mandible in the midline. Then by applying a firm grip on the mandible massage is done by moving the finger outwards towards the lateral side.
xi) Massage on the temporal region – Lateral part of the hands is placed on either temporal region of the patient. The masseur then moves his hands in a circular fashion, rubbing the temporal portion of the patient.
xii) Ear massage – Ear pinna is grasped between the thumb anteriorly and the other finger posteriorly. Then the pinna is rubbed between the fingers after that the thumb is firmly moved above to downward anteriorly.
xiii) Linear massage on anterior neck – Flat of the right palm is placed on the lower aspect of the neck and with gentle pressure is moved towards the chin area. Then the left palm is placed on the base of the neck and is moved towards the chin. In this way alternatively with right and left-hand massage is continued.
i) Circular movement at shoulders – Masseur places his one palm on the shoulder of the patients and moves in a circular fashion in a clockwise and anticlockwise direction. This is performed in a supine lateral and prone position of the patients.
ii) Linear massage of arms: With one hand masseur should grasp the wrist of the patient to stabilize the arms during the massage. The patient’s arm is massaged by moving the other palm in a linear fashion from shoulder to elbow region. This has to be performed in the supine, lateral and prone position of the patients.
iii) Circular massage at the elbow- Patients hand is grasped at the wrist with one hand and the masseur should massage the elbow in a circular fashion with the palm of the other hands. This procedure is performed in the supine, lateral and prone position of the patients.
iv) Linear massage of forearms: Patient’s wrist grasped by one hand and massage is done by moving the other palm in a linear fashion from elbow to wrist by applying adequate pressure. This procedure is repeated in the supine, lateral and prone position of the patients.
v) Circular massage at wrist- Wrist is grasped with one hand in its posterior surface when the patient is placed in the supine position and the anterior surface is massaged in a circular fashion with the other palm. Similarly in the prone position of the patients, the anterior surface of the wrist is grasped with the hand and circular massage is done with the other palm to the posterior surface of the wrist.
vi) Linear massage at metacarpals– This massage is done to the dorsal surface of the hand when the patient is placed in a prone position. The hand is grasped at the wrist with one hand and with the other hand, the masseur holds the patient’s hands between his fingers and thumb. Also, the thumb is placed in the soft space between the bones of the hands. Then the masseur moves his thumb distally towards the finger of the patients by applying firm pressure. Each soft space between the metacarpals bone of the patient’s hand is treated in this fashion.
vii) Linear and circular massage of the finger– Patient hands are held firmly at the wrist with one hand and then each finger is separately massaged with the other hands. For this patient’s finger is grasped between the thumb and index finger and the finger is then massaged by applying firm pressure in a linear fashion. On the joints, massage is done in a circular fashion.
viii) Simultaneously massage of fingers– Patients hand is held at the wrist with one hand and then fingers are simultaneously massaged with the other hand. For this masseur introduces his fingers between the fingers of the patients and locks with firm pressure. This is followed by unlocking the fingers by milking out the fingers of the patients.
ix) Circular massage of the thenar eminences and distal palm- Masseur places both the thumbs approximating each other on the center of the patient’s palm. And then the eminences and distal palms are massaged in a circular fashion with the pulp of the thumb.
x) Poking massage on the palms- Masseur using both hands grasped the patient’s hand to be massaged with his finger and thumb, with the thumb on the palmar surface.
i) Linear massage- masseur places both palms on the right or left portion of the abdomen with the finger pointing towards the midline of the abdomen. Simultaneously both the palms are then moved by applying firm pressure from below to upward up to the medial part of the arm of the same side through the chest.
ii) Circular massage- Circular massage is performed separately on the chest as well as abdomen with the flat of the head. If two Masseurs are there, one will perform abdominal abhyanga and the other perform abhyanga on the chest simultaneously.
i) Linear massage – Flat of the palm is placed on the sacral region then by applying pressure the palm is moved from below to upward up to the shoulder region. Elbow tip massage – Masseur places his elbow tip right on the spine of the patients and then moves the elbow in a circular fashion along the spine.
ii) Thumb massage- Masseur places his both thumb approximating its tips and longitudinally along the spine. Then both the thumbs are moved in half-circle around each other. This is done to the whole spine.
i) In the lateral position arm in touch with the table is flexed at the elbow and is placed beneath the patient’s head. Masseur with one hand holds the other free arm of the patient at the wrist. Then he places his other palm on the lateral side of the waist and moves the palm from below to upward up to the medial aspect of the elbow passing through the chest by applying firm pressure.
i) Circular movement on the hip– Flat of the palm is placed on the hip and then the palm is moved in a circular fashion. This is performed in the supine, prone and lateral position of the patients.
ii) Circular movement on the buttock- Masseur places both the palms on the buttock with the fingers facing the opposite buttock and then moves the palms over the buttock in a circular fashion by applying firm pressure. This is done in a prone position of the patients.
iii) Linear massage on the thigh– Masseur places both the palm on the proximal part of the thigh and then the palm is moved in a downward direction over the thigh by applying firm pressure up to the knee followed by taking back the palm from the digital thigh towards the hip. This procedure is done in a supine, prone, and lateral position of the patients.
iv) Circular movement on the knee- When the patient is in a supine position, the masseur places one hand beneath the knee, firmly holding the knee. Another palm massage is done by moving the palm in a circular fashion over the anterior surface of the knee. Similarly in the prone position of the patients, one palm is placed beneath the knee for holding the knee and then with another palm do massage on the posterior part of the knee in a circular fashion. This procedure is performed in a supine and prone position of the patients.
v) Circular movement on the ankle- Masseur places his palm on either side of the ankle and then moves his palm in a circular fashion on both sides of the ankle. This procedure is performed in a supine and prone position of the patients.
vi) Linear massage on the leg- Masseur places both the palm on the proximal parts of the leg at the knee. Then he slides his palm towards the distal part up to the ankle by applying firm pressure and then this palm is taken back to the knee. This is done in a supine prone and lateral position of the patients.
vii) Hand strokes- Strokes are placed alternatively with right and left hand on all areas of the lower limb with the lateral aspect of the little finger of both palms in all the positions of the patients.
i) Circular massage at ankle- Ankle is grasped with one hand just above the ankle joint and is massaged from the palm of another hand in a circular motion.
ii) Linear massage at the dorsal surface – This massage is done to the dorsal surface of the foot when the patient is placed in the supine position. Linear motions are given from both hands. Also, the thumb is placed in the soft space between the bones of the feet. Then the masseur moves his thumb distally towards the finger of the foot by applying firm pressure.
iii) Linear massage at the plantar surface – This massage is done to the plantar surface of the hand when the patient is placed in a prone position. Linear motions are given from both the palms of the hands. And the pressure is given from the thumb at the selected points.
vi) Linear and circular massage of a finger– Patient foot each finger is separately massaged with hands. For this patient’s finger is grasped between the thumb and index finger and the finger is then massaged by applying firm pressure in a linear fashion. On the joints, massage is done in a circular fashion.
The morning before the bath is the ideal time to do Abhyanga. As it can be done in Vata time, in absence of time in the morning it can also be practiced in the evening but should be followed by fomentation to avoid coldness and stiffness. With relation to food, it should be done before or after 1 hour of the meal.
According to Ayurveda, the herbal oil contains medicinal principles which get absorbed by the skin. The medicinal principle enters into the skin pores and gets absorbed into the blood through blood vessels, through blood vessels it reaches the target organ and performs the action. Cell membranes consist of lipoproteins, oil being a lipid easily passes through the skin and gets absorbed.