How can a ritual so luxuriously relaxing, so blissfully comforting as a full-body warm oil massage rev up your body and mind, gearing them up for peak performance? There is an explanation for the seeming contradiction. Accumulated stress and toxins in the mind and body dissolve during the daily massage. A daily full-body warm oil massage therefore acts as a powerful recharger and rejuvenator of mind and body.
“Abhyanga” — the ayurvedic oil massage — is an integral part of the daily routine recommended by this healing system for overall health and well-being. Traditional ayurvedic texts wax eloquent on the benefits. Here’s what one says — “Give yourself a full body oil massage on a daily basis. It is nourishing, pacifies the doshas, relieves fatigue, provides stamina, pleasure and perfect sleep, enhances the complexion and the luster of the skin, promotes longevity and nourishes all parts of the body”.
Here are some of the benefits traditionally associated with regular performance of this pleasant daily ritual:
Increased circulation, especially to nerve endings
Toning of the muscles and the whole physiology
Calming for the nerves
Lubrication of the joints
Increased mental alertness
Improved elimination of impurities from the body
Softer, smoother skin
Increased levels of stamina through the day
Better, deeper sleep at night
Abhyanga provides the means for trans-dermal absorption of the healing qualities of the material used in the massage, and it helps the skin, which is the largest organ in the body, perform its diverse functions efficiently, whether it is allowing toxins to be released from the body or nourishment to be absorbed by the tissues. It is like oiling the engine of your car — if you do it regularly, your engine will be in peak condition, and give you years and years of trouble-free performance.
The ayurvedic massage is traditionally performed in the morning, before your bath or shower, to facilitate the release of toxins that may have accumulated during the previous night. You can use cured sesame oil, an herbalized massage oil, or an aroma massage oil. Maharishi Ayurveda offers them all.
If you choose sesame oil, look for cold-pressed, chemical-free organic sesame oil for the best results from your massage therapy, such as the Organic Sesame Oil offered by Maharishi Ayurveda. Sesame oil contains antioxidant properties, and is helpful in protecting the skin from free radical damage. It is considered highly nourishing for the physiology. To “cure” or purify the sesame oil, heat the oil to 212 degrees Fahrenheit. Remove from heat once this temperature is reached, cool and store for use as needed. Up to a quart of oil can be cured at a time. Of course, you should observe safety precautions when curing oil. All oils are highly flammable. Use low heat, and don’t leave the oil on heat unattended. Maharishi Ayurveda also offers pre-cured Sesame Oil for your convenience.
Herbalized massage oils contain a blend of carefully chosen herbs known for their ability to strengthen the physiology and balance the mind. So the daily massage with an herbalized massage oil has twice the beneficial power — the benefits from the performance of the actual massage and the added healing wisdom of the herbs. Country Mallow, Winter Cherry and Sensitive Plant are some Ayurvedic herbs you’ll find in herbalized massage oils. Country Mallow is renowned for its nourishing effect on the physiology. Winter Cherry, a powerful adaptogenic, aids the body’s natural ability to withstand stress, and helps balance the mind and emotions. Sensitive Plant helps nerve regeneration. The Maharishi Ayurveda Moisturizing, Soothing and Stimulating Massage Oils are carefully blended to correct Vata, Pitta and Kapha imbalances respectively.