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An image of a person receiving an Ayurvedic oil massage in a relaxing setting

Ayurvedic Oil Massage: A Complete Guide

Ayurveda balances the body’s three doshas (Vata, Pitta, and Kapha). Ayurveda offers various therapies and treatments to promote health and well-being, including Ayurvedic oil massage.

In this article, we will explain what Ayurvedic oil massage is, its benefits, what types of oils are used, how to prepare for it, how to perform it, and what to do after the massage. By the end of this article, you will have a comprehensive understanding of Ayurvedic oil massage and how it can help you achieve a harmonious state of mind, body, and spirit.

Understanding Ayurvedic Oil Massage

An understanding of Ayurvedic oil massage

An Ayurvedic oil massage, or Abhyanga, is a massage in which warm oil is applied to the entire body in a specific sequence and manner. The oil is usually infused with herbs and essential oils suitable for the individual’s dosha and health condition. Massages are performed using gentle strokes, circular motions, and pressure points to stimulate blood circulation, lymphatic drainage, and nerve endings.

What is Ayurvedic Oil Massage?

Ayurvedic oil massage is more than just a physical therapy. It is a spiritual practice that balances the body’s energy flow and connects the mind and the senses. According to Ayurveda, oil massage nourishes the skin, muscles, bones, joints, and organs, calms the nervous system, reduces stress, and enhances mental clarity. Ayurvedic oil massage is also a preventive measure that helps to prevent diseases, aging, and degeneration by strengthening the immune system and removing toxins from the body.

Benefits of Ayurvedic Oil Massage

Massage with Ayurvedic oil has many benefits

Ayurvedic oil massages have many benefits, some of which are:

  • It improves the skin texture, complexion, and elasticity by moisturizing, cleansing, and rejuvenating the skin cells.
  • It relieves pain, stiffness, and inflammation in the joints and muscles by improving blood flow and oxygen supply to the tissues.
  • It boosts metabolism and digestion by stimulating the digestive fire and eliminating waste products from the body.
  • It enhances sleep quality and quantity by relaxing the mind and body and inducing a state of deep rest.
  • It increases vitality and energy levels by invigorating the vital organs and balancing the hormones.
  • It promotes emotional and mental well-being by releasing negative emotions, enhancing mood, and improving concentration and memory.

Different Types of Ayurvedic Oils Used

Many oils can be used for Ayurvedic massage, depending on the individual’s dosha, health condition, season, and preference. Some of the common oils are:

  • Sesame oil: This is the most widely used oil for Ayurvedic oil massage, as it is suitable for all doshas and has a warming, nourishing, and penetrating quality. The oil is high in antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and fatty acids and has anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and antifungal properties. Sesame oil is especially beneficial for Vata dosha, as it helps to reduce dryness, coldness, and stiffness in the body.
  • Coconut oil: This is a cooling, soothing, and moisturizing oil ideal for Pitta due to its ability to reduce heat, inflammation, and irritation. Additionally, coconut oil contains linoleic acid, which has antiviral, antibacterial, and antifungal properties. Coconut oil is also good for the hair and scalp, preventing dandruff, split ends, and hair loss.
  • Mustard oil: This is a heating, stimulating, and detoxifying oil that is suitable for Kapha dosha, as it helps to break down the excess mucus, fat, and water in the body. Mustard oil is also high in omega-3 fatty acids, which have anti-inflammatory, anti-atherosclerotic, and anti-cancer effects. Mustard oil also benefits the respiratory system, clearing congestion, cough, and asthma.
  • Almond oil: This is a sweet, mild, and nourishing oil that is good for all doshas, but especially for Vata and Pitta doshas, as it helps to balance the dryness and heat in the body. Vitamin E, another powerful antioxidant in almond oil, prevents skin damage and aging. Almond oil also benefits the nervous system, calming the mind and enhancing cognitive functions.

Ayurvedic Oil Massage: How to Prepare?

What is the best way to prepare for Ayurvedic oil massage?

Before you start your Ayurvedic oil massage, there are some steps that you need to take to prepare yourself and the space for the massage. Here are some tips on how to prepare for Ayurvedic oil massage:

Find a Qualified Ayurvedic Practitioner

Suppose you are new to Ayurvedic oil massage or have any specific health issues. In that case, you should seek the advice of an Ayurvedic practitioner to determine the best type of oil, massage technique, and duration for your needs. A qualified Ayurvedic practitioner can also diagnose your dosha and prescribe any herbal remedies or dietary changes that may be required to enhance the effects of the massage.

Understand Your Dosha

As mentioned earlier, Ayurveda focuses on balancing the body’s three doshas. Each dosha has its characteristics, strengths, and weaknesses and influences a person’s physical, mental, and emotional aspects. By understanding your dosha, you can choose the best oil, massage technique, and timing for your Ayurvedic oil massage. To determine your dosha, you can take an online quiz or consult an Ayurvedic practitioner for a more accurate assessment.

Preparing the Space for the Massage

Preparing the Massage Space in Ayurveda

To make the most of your Ayurvedic oil massage, you need to create a comfortable and relaxing space for the massage. Here are some suggestions on how to prepare the space for the massage:

  • Choose a quiet, clean, and well-ventilated room free from distractions like noise, phones, TVs, or pets.
  • Set the room temperature to a comfortable level, neither hot nor cold. You can also use a heater or a fan to adjust the temperature.
  • Arrange a soft and firm surface for the massage, such as a massage table, a bed, or a mat on the floor. You can also use a towel, a sheet, or a blanket to cover the surface and protect it from oil stains.
  • Gather all the items you need for the massage, such as the oil, a bowl, a spoon, a towel, a robe, and some tissues. You can also use a candle, incense, or a diffuser to create a pleasant aroma.
  • Play soothing music during the massage, such as classical, instrumental, or ambient sounds. You can also use a timer or an alarm to keep track of the time and duration of the massage.

Steps to Perform an Ayurvedic Oil Massage

The steps for performing an Ayurvedic oil massage

Once you have prepared yourself and your massage space, you can start your Ayurvedic oil massage. Here are the steps on how to give an Ayurvedic oil massage:

Setting the Intention and Creating a Relaxing Atmosphere

Before you begin the massage, it is important to set a positive intention and create a relaxing atmosphere for the massage. You can do this by:

  • Taking a few deep breaths and relaxing your body and mind.
  • A prayer, a mantra, or an affirmation invokes the healing energy and expresses your gratitude for the massage.
  • Smiling and greeting yourself or your partner if you massage with someone else.
  • Asking for permission and consent if you are doing the massage with someone else.

Choosing the Appropriate Oil and Warming it Up

The next step is to choose the appropriate oil and warm it up for the massage. You can do this by:

  • Select the oil suitable for your doshas, health conditions, seasons, and preferences. A few herbs or essential oils can be added to the base oil to enhance the benefits and aroma of the oil.
  • Pour some oil into a bowl and place it in hot water to warm it up. You can also use a microwave or a stove to heat the oil, but be careful not to overheat or burn the oil.
  • Testing the temperature of the oil by applying a drop on your wrist or elbow. The oil should be warm, but not hot, to avoid scalding the skin.

Applying the Oil in Specific Body Parts

The next step is to apply the oil to specific body parts sequentially. You can do this by:

  • From the head and moving down to the feet, apply the oil in the following order: scalp, face, ears, neck, shoulders, arms, hands, chest, abdomen, back, hips, legs, and feet.
  • Apply the oil to the skin by gently massaging it into the skin using smooth strokes and circular movements. Depending on the body part and the desired effect, you can also use different techniques, such as kneading, tapping, rubbing, squeezing, and twisting.
  • Spending more time on the more tense, sore, or sensitive areas, such as the neck, shoulders, back, and joints.
  • Applying more pressure on the areas that are more dense, such as the muscles and bones, and less pressure on the areas that

Massage Techniques and Movements

Movements and techniques used in Ayurvedic massage

The next step is to use different massage techniques and movements to intensify the effect of the oil and the massage. You can do this by:

  • Long strokes along the length of the limbs and circular motions around the joints, such as the elbows, knees, and ankles, are used.
  • Using clockwise motions around the abdomen and chest, following the direction of the digestive tract and the heart.
  • Using upward strokes on the back, from the lower back to the upper back, and downward strokes on the chest, from the collarbone to the sternum.
  • Using gentle pressure on the face, ears, and scalp, using the fingertips, palms, or knuckles.
  • Using different speeds, rhythms, and intensities for different body parts. You can also vary the pressure, from light to firm, depending on the sensitivity and tolerance of the skin.

Post Massage Care and Benefits

The final step is to take care of yourself and enjoy the benefits of the Ayurvedic oil massage. You can do this by:

  • Rest and relax after the massage, preferably lying down or sitting comfortably. You can also cover yourself with a blanket or a robe to keep yourself warm and cozy.
  • Make sure you drink plenty of water or herbal tea to hydrate yourself and flush out the toxins from the body. You can also eat light and nourishing food, such as fruits, vegetables, soups, or salads, to replenish your energy and nutrients.
  • Avoid strenuous activities, such as exercise, work, or driving, for at least an hour after the massage. You can also avoid taking a shower or a bath after a massage to allow the oil to absorb into the skin and the body.
  • Practicing some self-care practices to enhance the benefits of the massage, such as meditation, yoga, breathing exercises, or journaling. You can also express gratitude for the massage and healing it brought you.

Long-Term Benefits of Regular Ayurvedic Oil Massage

Regular Ayurvedic oil massage has long-term benefits

Ayurvedic oil massage is not a one-time therapy but a regular practice that can benefit your health and well-being long-term. Some of the benefits of regular treatment with Ayurvedic oil are:

  • It improves immunity and disease resistance by strengthening the body’s natural defense mechanisms.
  • It prevents and delays the signs and symptoms of aging by rejuvenating the cells and tissues and enhancing collagen and elastin production.
  • It balances the hormones and menstrual cycle by regulating the endocrine and reproductive organs.
  • It improves sexual performance and pleasure by increasing genital blood flow and sensitivity as well as the erogenous zones.
  • It enhances spiritual awareness and connection by opening the chakras and the energy channels and aligning the body, mind, and soul.


Ayurvedic oil massage is a holistic therapy that can benefit you in many ways, physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. This article’s tips and steps will help you perform an Ayurvedic oil massage for yourself or your partner and enjoy its healing and relaxing effects. You can also consult a qualified Ayurvedic practitioner for more guidance and advice on how to customize your Ayurvedic oil massage according to your needs and preferences. Thank you so much for reading this article, and we wish you a healthy and happy Ayurvedic oil massage!

Picture of Dr. Kavi Arya

Dr. Kavi Arya



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