Lupus and Health Benefits of Abhyanga Massage
Have you ever heard of Abhyanga?
Ayurveda is getting more and more attention, and Abhyanga massage is now available in many spas and hotels.
But why is it so special and getting so much attention these days?
“Ayurveda uses massage therapy as a foundation for virtually all conditions, not just musculoskeletal disorders,” per KP Khalsa. Depending on the specifics of the treatment, a specific type of oil, often with infused medicinal herbs, is used.
First, the Ayurvedic practitioner uses a much larger quantity of oil than Western styles when massaging the entire body – with strokes from the soles of the feet to the head.
The aromatic, medicated oil varies by doshas. At the same time, food and medicine, the oils balance and heal your body by using the largest organ in our body – our skin.
While not everyone can go to a spa and get a massage, anyone can do an abhyanga self-massage. This practice has many benefits; besides, we need to show love to our body, which works so hard every day!
Benefits of Abhyanga
Deepak Chopra calls out 15 Abhyanga Self-Massage Benefits:
- Nourishes the entire body—decreases the effects of aging
- Imparts muscle tone and vigor to the dhatus (tissues) of the body
- Imparts a firmness to the limbs
- Lubricates the joints
- Increases circulation
- Stimulates the internal organs of the body
- Assists in the elimination of impurities from the body
- Moves the lymph, aiding in detoxification
- Increases stamina
- Calms the nerves
- Benefits of sleep—better, deeper sleep
- Enhances vision
- Makes hair (scalp) grow luxuriantly, thick, soft, and glossy
- Softens and smoothens skin; wrinkles are reduced and disappear
- Pacifies Vata and Pitta and stimulates Kapha
Reduce Stress and Lower Blood Pressure
We know massages can help reduce stress. In the case of Abhyanga, a study done in 2011 shows promising results in stress and HR reduction due to the use of aromatic, medicated oil.
Improve Skin Health
The medicated oil nourishes the skin, making it lush and healthy. While many of us have dry, cracking, or skin inflammation, this oleation can be a great tool to nourish and calm down any inflammation, the appearance of wrinkles, scars, or cellulite besides softening the skin.
Joint and Body Health
In my case, Abhyanga is mainly great to help with body pain, including joint inflammation due to lupus and RA. The medicated oil helps mitigate stiffness and relax my muscles.
Lymphatic drainage is essential for anyone with swollen limbs, as it is responsible for removing all body waste. Many days, I can see my face all puffed up without reason – that’s a call out for Abhyanga time!
How to Perform an Abhyanga self-massage?
With my kids at school and leaving early, it’s hard to start my day with Abhyanga. I like to do my daily self-massage at night before going to bed because that’s when my day is calmer. That’s when I can pay more attention to myself and what works best for my schedule; I suggest you do the same.
For Abhyanga, wear minimal clothing, as you want the strokes to cover your entire body.
- I like to mix organic 1/4 of Castor Oil with 3/4 of Banyan Botanicals massage oil. Put the oil in a container with a lid or a bottle and immerse it in a pot of hot water until the oil is warm. You can add a few drops of Lavender oil if you like the aroma.
- Apply the oil to your whole body, including the top of your face and head. If you are OKAY messing up your hair, massage your scalp.
- Massage your legs and feet, including the soles and toes, moving from the extremity to the waist 10 times. Move in circular motions on your joints.
- Massage your hands and arms, moving from the extremity to the shoulder, 10 times. Move in circular motions on your joints.
- Move clockwise and anti-clockwise circular strokes – 25 times each way in your chest and abdomen, then massage inward along your ribs.
- Wait for 10 minutes, so your skin can absorb the benefits of the oil.
- Take a warm bath or shower to remove the excess oil if you need to. I prefer to take the excess oil with a towel.
Ideally, Ayurveda recommends this massage before exercising, as it helps to lubricate our joints and tissues. With that, the morning before starting the day is ideal.
In my case, I like to do my self-massage before my shower and after dry brushing. My skin (VATA) is dehydrated, and I notice an incredible difference when I do my routine correctly.
Cover the floor with an old mat or towel so you don’t fall, not stain the floor.
Make sure the oil is not too hot. Test and rub in your hands before spreading it on your body.
Don’t rush. Maybe play some nice, calming music. Be present! Use this time to nourish your body and mind as you plan or wrap up your day.
Clean yourself with the towel before showering, and be careful when walking so you don’t slip.
Major Massage Oils
If you read my previous blogs, you saw each one of us has a different dosha. The best abhyanga oil depends on your “dosha,” or body type. The health benefits of Abhyanga Massage for Lupus patients are real, and I can vouch for it.
Your dosha will determine which oil you need to balance your body. I listed a few options.
- Vata (dry skin). Base oils include almond, sesame, castor olive, wheat germ, and avocado.
- Pitta (sensitive, inflamed or overheated skin). Note coconut oil’s energy is very cold. So you may mix it with other types for Abhyanga. Almond, calendula, coconut, sunflower, pumpkin seed, and sandalwood.
- Kapha (oily skin). Use a lighter oil, such as almond, mustard, jojoba, sesame, and olive.
You can find a Tridoshic massage oil at Banyan Botanicals, among others specific to your dosha. Use the code 15ANNA for a 15% discount on your first order.
Talk to an Ayurvedic doctor if you want to try an abhyanga self-massage. They can help you find the best options for your condition.
Love yourself! Be well!