Abhyanga / Oil massage in Ayurveda

by Dr. Prasanna Venkatesh

For understanding purpose, Abhyanga can be taken as oil massage.

Procedure :

  • Here for a common man / for a healthy person, pure sesame oil can be used.
  • It should be made warmth & then to be applied all over the body.
  • To be applied over head, ears, foot with special attention.
  • Generally ANULOMA GATI is advised to apply the oil, i.e, in the direction in which the hair follicles run. At joints, it should be applied in circular manner.
  • Pressure should be moderate.
  • In case of any ill health, any suitable medicated oil like Ksheerabala talila, Mahanarayana taila, Dhanwantara taila etc can be used by consulting an Ayurveda physician. (Because the qualities and actions of these oils are different & very specific.)
  • After oil application, should leave it for apprx. 20 min. In the mean time applying gentle pressure over the body parts is also advised. Later hot water bath is suggested.
  • It is indicated that Abhyanga should be done daily.

Benefits of Abhyanga

By regular Abhyanga,

  • Aging process can be delayed.
  • Physical exertion will be lost.
  • Impaired Vata will be controlled well.
  • Improves the vision.
  • Improves the quality of life.
  • Improves the quality of sleep.
  • Improves the quality of skin.

These are some of the important benefits.

Contra – indications of Abhyanga

Abhyanga is contra – indicated for a person

  • who is suffering from Kapha aggravation / Kapha related disorders.
  • who has undergone purificatory procedures / PANCHAKARMA. (will be explained in future)
  • Who is suffering from indigestion

Useful tips about Abhyanga / Oil massage

  • Mixing many (medicated) oils is not advisable. Selecting oil according to condition is preferable.
  • While applying the oil, stomach should be empty. Even liquid items (like milk) also should not be taken.
  • Morning empty stomach is ideal for Abhyanga.
  • Therapeutically moderate / mild pressure is mostly advised. High pressure is not advised. (only in very few selected conditions, more pressure might be advised.)
  • Application of oil over the body (either whole body or any selected area) for 20 min is the basic requirement and will give the maximum benefit. More than that time is not required many a times.








Author is Chief Physician, Sriranga Ayurveda Chikitsa Mandira, Prakruthi Ayurveda Pratistana ®, Mysore

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