We’ve talked about Ayurvedic wellness trends before—from dry brushing to oil pulling—but now, there’s another ancient health and beauty-oriented practice gaining attention on the health scene: abhyanga.
For the uninitiated, abhyanga (pronounced ab-hee-un-ga) is a type of daily self-massage. It’s not only considered an effective anti-aging technique but is also believed to improve circulation and promote detoxification—and along with that, provide a bunch of other health benefits.
Abhyanga is also believed to relieve fatigue, increase stamina, encourage a better night’s sleep, and calm your nervous system, all of which can be helpful for anyone experiencing burnout (or adrenal fatigue). Ayurveda insiders believe that the power of massage and touch can relieve stress, support the nervous system, and in that way also fight the signs of ageing.
To try this style of self-massage you will need a bottle of organic, cold-pressed, unrefined oil. Jojoba oil is a safe bet for just about everyone. You will also need a few towels that you’re not worried about being stained. It’s best to perform the massage in the morning so you can start the day after releasing any toxins that have built up while you were sleeping.
Warm the oil and test it by dropping a little on your inner wrist—it should be comfortably warm, and not too hot. You can do this by pouring a few tablespoons into a glass or BPA-free container, sealing it, and then plunging the bottle into hot water for a few minutes.
Sit on a towel near the shower, apply the warmed oil to your hands, and massage using circular motions across your feet and scalp and long, straight strokes on your limbs, for about 10 minutes. Be careful of more sensitive areas like your torso, breasts, and heart by using a lighter touch.
When it comes to massaging your belly area, Ayurveda teaches that you can support the digestive system by starting on the right side and, using a circular motion, moving up, across, and then down the left side of your midsection. Don’t forget to massage your scalp and feet—proponents believe these are two of the most important areas to address through touch.
Now that you’re finished, use a clean towel to rub off the oil before hopping in the shower. If you can wait a few minutes to allow the oil to absorb before showering, do, otherwise just hop straight in and make sure the water is hot to encourage oil penetration.