Ayurvedic massage with essential oils is a form of self-massage that is healing, enjoyable and is said to slow the aging process.
Terri & I were recently invited to an Essential Oil Winter Blending Workshop at Shine Yoga by our friend, Julie Melton (Yoga Instructor RYT 500) .
Obviously, we thought this would be a great opportunity to get a peek inside the yoga world.
Ayurvedic Massage Using Essential Oils
Julie and her friend Stacy Mallow (500hr E-RYT, Ayuryoga instructor with Complete Yoga & Ayurveda) taught this special class.
What is Ayurveda?
Firstly, they included the basics of Ayurveda (the sister science of yoga) and the techniques for protecting skin in the winter season, including abhyanga.
The Wikipedia definition of Ayurveda is this: “a system of medicine with historical roots in the Indian subcontinent.
Globalized and modernized practices derived from Ayurvedic traditions are a type of complementary or alternative medicine.”
What is Abhyanga – Ayurvedic Massage?
Then Julie & Stacy described how Abhyanga is an Ayurvedic massage style.
This style of massage helps:
- to soothe the nervous system
- promote better circulation during the colder months
- rejuvenate and restore the skin
- provide relief from symptoms like soreness, tension, or common aches and pains.
Here is Wikipedia’s definition of Abhyanga: “a form of Ayurvedic medicine that involves massage of the body with large amounts of warm oil.”
“Oils used can vary depending on the season and the individuals constitution (prakrti) but commonly used oils include sesame, coconut, sunflower, mustard and almond.
In addition to the oil abhyanga massage differs from many Western massage techniques in that it is not very deep.“
“Abhyanga is a healing and enjoyable Ayurvedic practice that activates the body’s inner pharmacy and slows the aging process.
It is an anointing of the body with warm oil often infused with healing herbs and balancing essential oils.
This regular self-massage and loving touch detoxifies the body’s tissues, increases circulation, calms the mind, and enhances immune function.”
Abhyanga – Ayurvedic Massage Step By Step Instructions
Most importantly, here are step-by-step Abhyanga instructions:
- Abhyanga (Ayurvedic massage) is best performed daily before bathing or showering.
- First, place a towel on the floor of a warm room.
- Then, begin by running some hot water over the bottle to gently warm the oil.
- Vigorously massage your arms, using a circular motion at the shoulders and elbows.
- Also, use back-and-forth motions on the upper arms and forearms.
- When massaging your chest and stomach, use a gentle circular motion.
- Use a straight up-and-down motion over the breastbone.
- After applying a bit of oil to both hands, gently reach around to the back and spine.
- Then massage them as well as you can without straining.
- Vigorously massage your legs as you did your arms.
- Use circular motions at the ankles and knees & back-and-forth motions on the long parts.
- After massaging your legs, spend extra time on your feet.
- Using the open part of your hand, massage vigorously back and forth over the soles of the feet.
- Be careful not to slip!
- After the warm oil is massaged into the skin, it is best to sit for 15 to 20 minutes in a warm room.
- This allows the oil to penetrate deep into the tissues.
- After letting the oil soak in, shower or bathe with gentle soap.
- Keeping a thin, almost imperceptible film of oil on the body is considered very beneficial.
- It tones the skin and warms the muscles throughout the day.
How to Custom Blend Essential Oils for Abhyanga
After hearing the steps of the Abhyanga practice, each class participant had the opportunity to custom blend a base oil with some yummy essential oils.
Most importantly, these essential oils were carefully chosen for their various qualities.
Above all, it is very important to blend the oils using the below formula.
This will prevent any type of toxicity from the oils.
Carrier, Top Note, Middle Note, & Base Note Essential Oil recipes
- 1/4 cup carrier oil – Sesame oil is considered the ‘king of oils’ and is inherently warming
- We used Banyan Organic Refined Sesame Oil – a favorite of the instructors
- 2 drops of the ‘top note’ oils –
- Lemongrass (supports healthy digestion, purifies and tones skin and nails, repels insects)
- Eucalyptus (revitalizes skin, promotes, vitality, soothes tired, sore muscles, cleanses surfaces)
- We used Majestic Pure Therapeutic Grade Lemongrass & Eucalyptus Essential Oils
- 10 drops of the ‘middle note’ oils –
- Lavender (calming, relaxing, soothes occasional skin irritations, eases feelings of tension)
- Rosemary (supports healthy digestion, supports healthy respiratory function, helps reduce occasional fatigue)
- We used Majestic Pure Therapeutic Grade Lavender Essential Oil & Radha Rosemary Oil
- 1 drop of the ‘base note’ oils –
- Peppermint (promotes healthy respiratory function & clear breathing, alleviates stomach upset, used for oral health)
- We used Majestic Pure Therapeutic Grade Peppermint Essential Oil
Remember to go light rather than heavy with the essential oil blending.
Certainly, in this situation, less is more!
You want to use the least amount to encourage your body to use its own resources to promote healing and health.
Choose Top Notes & Middle Notes Based On Your Scent Preferences
The fun part was getting our jars and adding our oils.
In addition, we could choose our top notes and middle notes based on our scent preferences.
We each were able to blend two jars of oils to bring home with us.
Blended oils are good for:
- slowing the aging process
- detoxifying your body’s tissues
- increasing your circulation
- calming your mind
- enhancing your immune function
- using as a substitute for your everyday lotion.
Ayurvedic massage, specifically Abhyanga is a practice that, for me, takes some time to absorb.
BUT the idea of using something natural and clean to rid your body of ailments and to enhance your well-being is very alluring.
End with a Meditation
Lastly, Julie ended our class with a meditation.
In her words, “Choose a word describing the energetic quality of the oil you blended; Like uplifting, peaceful, calming, balanced, happy.
Rub oil into your palms and hold them in a prayer pose in front of your heart to breathe in the aroma of the oil.
Inhale represents the phrase “I am”.
Exhale becomes your quality.
The aroma of the oil is a tangible reminder to allow that quality to flow in and through you.”
To get more information about Ayurveda, Abhyanga or anything yoga related, email Julie Melton at [email protected] or Stacy Mallow at Complete Yoga & Ayurveda.
Do you practice Ayurveda and Abhyanga?
If so, tell us in the comments how it has changed your life.
See our posts on: