According to direction of massage and materials used for massage treatment there are two types of ayurvedics massages. first one is known as Abhyangam (oil massage) and second one is known as udvartanam (powder massage).
Ayurvedic massage for restoration of energy flow
According to ayurveda physical body is a constantly changing or moving form. Inside of human body there are many circles or circuits, working in specific directions to keep body functions. They are also known as Chakra. These energy currents maintains human life cycle. They are working independently, but at same moment they are interconnected and has synchronization action with each other. You can use an example of clock functions that work on rack- wheels to understand this concept chakra. The energy that is produced by one wheel of clock, helps to carry own normal function, but also passed energy to adjacent wheel. This helps to keep flow of energy cycle.
To maintain the correct free flowing state of body energies in correct direction is main objective of ayurvedic massage treatment. Ayurveda state that any kind of obstruction in the flow of energy is always resulting into development of disease or functional disturbances within body.
The traditional Abhyangam done with medicated oils in which massage movements are given from above downwards in a direction body hair (which points downward).
Udvartanam or powder massage is massage in which, mainly herbal powders are used for massage and massage movements are given in an upward direction opposite to the direction of body hairs.
The benefits of ayurvedic udvartanam massage are:
- Rejuvenates the skin and brings freshness in it
- Alleviates foul smell or body odor with cleaning micro pours of skin
- Alleviates heaviness of the body
- Removes drowsiness, brings freshness, gives glamour
- Opens up the blocked body channels
- Stabilizes and normalizes the Agni to provides good shine and complexion
- Cleanses the body
Indications for udvartanam ayurveda massage treatment:
- Over weight
- High cholesterol and triglycerides
- Diabetic neuropathy
- Metabolic syndrome
- Lethargy and laziness
- Excessive drowsiness
- Excessive sleep
- Lack of freshness or lethargy
Contraindications of udvartanam:
- High Pitta condition or pitta related disorders having high inflammation, redness, rise in local temperature, burning sensation etc
- Diseases with severe pain – degenerative arthritis (osteo-arthritis), colic etc
- Presence of wounds, cuts and burns
- Too dry skin (typical vata constitution)
- Old age– person above 80 years.
- Kids and infants– due to sensitive skin, it is not good to do udvartanam for kids and infants.
- Pregnant women
- Oozing skin conditions like wet eczema etc.
The benefits of Abhyangam ayurvedic massage:
- helps in restoring skin health and glow
- helps to tone up the skin and muscle
- Provides stability to body parts
- Abhyangam also has similar benefits like udvartanam.
Indications for Abhyangam
- Where the patient has dry skin
- When the patient is of Vata Prakriti (constitution) or having Vata Vikriti (diseases caused by morbid Vata) like Amavata (Rheumatoid arthritis), Sciatica
- In the Purvakarma (pre-treatment procedures) of Virechana (therapeutic purgation) and Vamana (therapeutic emesis)
- Nervous disorders, Motor neuron diseases, Parkinsonism
- Neuro-muscular disorders
- Muscular weakness, muscular dystrophy
- Poly cystic ovarian disease.
- To tone up the abdomen after delivery and to remove the marks
Ayurveda massages intended to bring about dilatation of channels and orifices of the body, removing the blockages and thus enabling free transportation of nutrients.
- Method for ayurveda massage
Preparation of the patient
- The patient is thoroughly examined – The Prakriti (basic constitution) and Vikriti are checked in detail.
- It is confirmed if the patient is fit to undergo Udwarthanam treatment or for Abhyangam.
- According to treatment line-up, materials and medicines which need to be used are enlisted.
Preparation for the treatment for Abhyangam (massage with herbal oil)
Oils used for Abhyangam are mainly:
- Kshirabala thailam
- Mahamasha thailam
- Narayana thailam
- Balaswagandhadi Tailam
- Dhanwantharam Tailam
- Sahacharadi thailam
Steam procedure should be done after Abhyangam as a part of post treatment procedure. For this the steam chamber should be used. Herbal decoctions like Dashamula Kashayam should be prepared and kept ready for Swedana.
For Udvartanam (massage with medicated powder), powders used are:
- triphala churnam
- Kolkulathadi churnam
It is important that the ayurveda massage be simultaneously and synchronously done on both side of the body to maintain uniformity. By doing so, the whole body will be attended at a time. Two well trained masseurs are needed to carry out this procedure in an effective way. It is always better that both therapists should conduct the treatment with the patient lying in supine (face upward) and prone (face downward) positions. For the other 5 positions in some cases only one masseur can manage doing the procedure.
Udwarthanam is done in the same chronology of doing Abhyangam. It is done covering all the 7 postures.
- Position 1 – Patient sitting on the massage table with lower limbs extended
- Position 2 – Patient lying on his back (supine)
- Position 3 – Patient lying on one side, turning towards left (left lateral)
- Position 4 – Patient lying on his belly, face downwards (prone)
- Position 5 – Patient lying on other side, turning towards right (right lateral)
- Position 6 – Repeat position 2, patient lying on his back, facing upwards (supine)
- Position 7 – Repeat position 1, patient sitting with legs extended
Duration of ayurveda massage treatment is specified from ayurvedic doctors as per patients’ personal need. It can be from 25 to 90 minutes.