Ayurveda massage, like the other components of the ayurvedic tradition of India, strives to harmonize your body's rhythms with nature.
One aspect of ayurveda looks at the body in terms of three energies called doshas: vata, pitta, and kapha. Each person has a dominant dosha, although any of the three could be out of balance, creating health problems.
This article discusses abhyanga and marma point massage. Another part of the ayurvedic tradition is Indian head massage.
Abhyanga is ayurvedic massage that involves anointing the body with oil. If you receive abhyanga from a massage therapist, expect the use of a generous amount of oil, with the type of oil chosen based on your dominant dosha or on the dosha that's out of balance. Commonly used oils include:
A complete abhyanga may include elements such as:
Ayurveda encourages daily self-abhyanga done in the morning, before your bath or shower, to help release toxins that may have built up during the night.
Make a massage oil, choosing an appropriate oil for
your dosha and adding essential oils if desired. Store your massage oil
in a plastic flip-top bottle. To do a self-abhy:
In ayurveda massage, a marma point is a physical location on your body where two or more types of tissue meet. However, ayurveda also sees these points as intersections of prana (breath) and vital life force that house the doshas.
Dosha imbalances block the flow of energy in the body, and the purpose of massaging marma points is to unblock the energy. (Marma massage is part of abhyanga but may also be a separate massage.)
Marma point massage is a light stimulation of marma points using massage oil and essential oils chosen based on your dosha imbalances. Unlike acupoints in Traditional Chinese Medicine, marma points are large, from one to six inches in diameter. Ayurveda believes that these points are a bridge between the physical and energetic bodies.