Most Ayurvedic practitioners use oils as a way of administering medicine and treating disease. Typically used during the process of ayurvedic massage, these oils are absorbed into the skin and benefit the body and mind. In particular, people suffering from vata dosha disorders are frequently treated with disease-specific oils.
The Three Base Ayurvedic Oils
The oils that form the base of most Ayurvedic oils include sesame oil, mustard oil, and castor oil, with sesame oil being the most widely used.
Sesame oil infused with the right kinds of herbs can be hugely beneficial to the health. Sesame oil massaged on the scalp is used to treat everything from hair loss to lice, along with dandruff, scalp boils, and hair volume. Massaging sesame oil into the body is said to rejuvenate the skin, strengthen muscles, alleviate joint pain, and even cure insomnia.
Mustard oil and castor oil have fewer applications. Mustard oil is used mostly to treat skin disease, especially fungal infections and itching on the skin surface.
Castor oil is also used to treat skin diseases, but it is also applied to virtually any kind of vata dosha disorder.
Ayurvedic Massage – Simple Home Techniques
The most common way of applying an oil is through massage. Massage is more thorough when practiced by a skilled massage therapist, but even self-massage using Ayurvedic oils is very helpful. Generally, Ayurvedic medicine recommends performing the massage in the morning, before a shower, in order to facilitate the release of toxins that have accumulated. Another good time is at the end of the day, still before a shower, to facilitate a healthy sleep.
You can start your massage by warming the oil in a bowl of boiled water. Using your palm, rather than your finger tips, massage your entire body with the oil. You should apply moderate pressure over most of your body, but light pressure over the abdomen and chest.
Begin at the top of your head, pouring a small amount of oil on your hands and working it into your scalp, then your face, ears, and the rest of your head. Gradually work your way down your body until you have massaged oil into even the soles of your feet. Let the oil absorb for about twenty minutes before taking a warm bath or shower.
Ayurvedic massage is a special type of muscle and joint manipulation which has been practiced in India for centuries and still plays an important role in their culture, but the benefits of Ayurvedic massage are being recognized all over the world. Through the use of special techniques and oils which are designed for individual doshas, or body types, and marmas, established pressure points, Ayurvedic massage practitioners can keep the body in a balanced state of homeostasis. This allows the immune system to function properly and is therapeutic for the entire body.
Also Read: We make Healthy Joints with Ayurveda
Ayurvedic massage techniques are intended to bring about the following results:
- Provide stress relief
- Return flexibility to joints
- Reduce muscle stiffness
- Release harmful toxins
- Enhance blood circulation
- Decrease inflammation
Those who practice Ayurvedic massage are trained to manipulate certain pressure points which trigger the release of toxins. Some of the procedures used in Ayurvedic massage have been developed especially for healing individual diseases or painful conditions, but these are only performed by the most knowledgeable of the Ayurvedic doctors.
The following shows areas massaged to alleviate individual health problems:
- The jawline and chin area are massaged for infection in the mouth or teeth.
- Rubbing the area above the eyes and in the center of the forehead gives relief from stomach disorders.
- Massaging the area just in front of the ear could prevent cataracts from developing.
- Massage to the back of the head may aid with bladder or kidney infections.
- Massaging the base of the neck can provide relief for generalized pain.
A big difference between Ayurvedic massage and other forms of massage therapy is the use of oils developed for use on each dosha. These oils make the therapy soothing, eliminate friction, and do not aggravate the gases within the body. They fill the different needs experienced by those with vata, pitta, and kapha doshas.
The oils most commonly used for each are listed below:
- Kapha should use olive oil or mustard.
- Pitta should use coconut oil.
- Vata responds well to sesame seed oil.
Of course, other ingredients may be added for relief from individual ailments. For example, Coriander oil may be used in Ayurvedic massage to reduce fever or for severe sweating, and Chamomile oil can bring relief for sore muscles. Consistent Ayurvedic massage could be the key to keeping the body functioning efficiently.