Abhyanga Therapy

Abhyanga therapy is a traditional Ayurvedic practice that involves the application of warm herbal oil all over the body in a rhythmic and systematic way. It is considered to be one of the most important self-care practices in Ayurveda, the ancient Indian system of medicine.

Abhyanga therapy is believed to have numerous benefits for the body and mind. It can help to improve circulation, enhance lymphatic drainage, increase flexibility, reduce stress, promote relaxation, improve sleep quality, and support the immune system. In addition, the warm herbal oil used in abhyanga therapy can nourish and rejuvenate the skin, leaving it soft, smooth, and glowing.

The practice of abhyanga therapy typically begins with the selection of an appropriate herbal oil based on an individual's constitution or dosha type. The oil is then heated to a comfortable temperature and applied to the entire body using gentle, rhythmic strokes. The massage is typically done in a quiet, peaceful environment to promote relaxation and reduce stress.

The essential element of this method is the oil. It is said to enhance general health and wellness when used in conjunction with massage strokes. A massage therapist typically performs abhyanga.

Benefits of Abhyanga

Abhyanga has been used for thousands of years, despite the scarcity of study on it. Numerous users of this therapy continue to report therapeutic successes.

The beneficial advantages of general massage are supported by research. This probably contributes to the anecdotal advantages of abhyanga.

  • Helps Reduce Stress

The autonomic nervous system is adversely affected by stress, which lowers heart rate variability. High heart rate variability denotes calm, while low variability suggests higher levels of stress.

According to the study, rhythmical massage stimulated long-term heart rate variability, an indication of relaxation. The aromatic oil was also helpful, but its impact was very fleeting. This implies that abhyanga, which also includes massage and oils, may be able to provide similar advantages.

  • Helps Lower Blood Pressure

Researchers in 2011 measured the participants' blood pressure as well. In individuals with prehypertension, blood pressure dropped after abhyanga.

This may be connected to the circulatory system's response to massage. Traditional massage causes the blood vessels to enlarge. This increases blood flow and lessens artery resistance, which lowers blood pressure. To fully understand how abhyanga particularly impacts blood pressure, more research is still required.

  • Improves Skin Health

Practitioners of abhyanga claim that one major advantage of massage is good skin. The oil is applied to the skin to nourish it, thereby enhancing its overall appearance. The rubbing motions are thought to:

  • Increase skin blood flow
  • Minimize the appearance of cellulite, wrinkles, and scars
  • Increase the suppleness and smoothness of skin
  • Diminution of hyperpigmentation

These claims have some validity. For instance, in 2018 it was found that using rollers for face massage increases skin blood flow. A second 2018 discovered that massage scars can lessen their thickness and look.

  • Reduces Muscle Stiffness

A further alleged advantage of abhyanga is increased flexibility. It is believed that by releasing shortened, tight muscles, stiffness is reduced and mobility is increased.

For example, in 2017 it was discovered that ankle massage increases the flexibility of the ankle joint. Similarly, to this, researchers found in 2019 that self-massage before stretching increases the range of motion in the lower thighs. Abhyanga, a type of massage, might offer comparable advantages. To fully understand how abhyanga affects flexibility, more research is required.

  • Promotes Lymphatic Drainage

Any sort of massage has a proven advantage in lymphatic drainage. Although abhyanga and lymph flow have not been specifically studied by scientists, supporters assert a good impact.

Your lymphatic system eliminates waste from your body. The fluid in your lymphatic system can build up as a result of surgery or a medical condition and result in swelling, or lymphedema. The stimulation of lymphatic drainage by massage can reduce lymphedema. The physical pressure causes lymphatic vessels to enlarge and flow more freely.

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