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Ayurvedic Massage: What Is It and Should You Get One?

by Ben Pages on May 5, 2022

Ayurvedic massages restore health and balance. They are more personal and in-depth than other massage techniques.

In this post, you'll learn what they are and how they compare to other types of massages. We'll also give you helpful tips to prepare for your first Ayurvedic massage experience.

Let's dive in.

ayurvedic back massage

What Is an Ayurvedic Massage?

Ayurveda is a 5000-year-old holistic healing system. It uses natural therapies like massage, herbs, and yoga to restore balance in the body.

Ayurveda believes a body in balance is a body that's healthy and free from disease.

Massage is one way Ayurveda restores and nurtures that balance. Yoga and diet would are other methods it uses.

When Ayurveda speaks of balance, it refers to the three doshas: Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. Dosha is a Sanskrit word that translates to "defect" and refers to the body's energy centers:

  • Vata represents the energy of movement
  • Pitta represents the energy of transformation
  • Kapha represents the energy of structure and stability
ayurvedic massage oil
Most ayurvedic massages use oil

Ayurvedic Massage vs Regular Massage

An ayurvedic massage is different from other types of massage.

It caters to the individual's ayurvedic constitution.

When you go for your first ayurvedic massage, you will have to fill out a questionnaire about your habits and health. The therapist may also ask you follow-up questions before starting the therapy.

The therapist will then choose techniques and essential oils that are beneficial for your dosha.

Information gathering is an important part of the ayurvedic massage process. It allows the therapist to better understand your ayurvedic constitution and needs.

You don't get this level of detail and attention when going for a regular massage.

A Swedish masseur, for example, may ask you if your body hurts and if you'd like them to focus on a specific area. Then he gets to work.

The Ayurveda therapist will ask about your diet, sleep, bowels, and emotions. And only then will they decide how to massage you.

ayurvedic body massage

Different Types of Ayurvedic Massages

There are a variety of ayurvedic massages, each with its own unique benefits.

  • Abhyanga is the most popular Ayurvedic massage. It is an oil massage known for its ability to improve circulation and lymphatic drainage.
  • Shirodhara focuses on the head, neck, and shoulders. It uses a steady stream of warm oil to relax the mind and relieve stress.
  • Sukha is a dry massage. The therapist applies powders or herbs to the skin and does not use any oils.

Ayurvedic massage comes in many forms: oil-based body massages, dry massages, and specialized massages that focus on certain parts of the body (such as the feet).

ayurveda self massage
Ayurvedic self-massage

The Health Benefits of Ayurvedic Massage

Many people turn to ayurvedic massage for its soothing and relaxing effects.

Ayurvedic massages can also help to:

  • relieve stress
  • improve circulation
  • boost the immune system
  • detoxify the body
  • improve digestion
  • reduce inflammation
  • ease pain and stiffness

While there is some scientific evidence to support the benefits of ayurvedic massage, more research is needed to confirm all claims.

Tips for the Best Ayurvedic Massage

How to choose a therapist?

It is important to work with a qualified massage practitioner to ensure you get the most benefits from the massage.

Look for a therapist certified in both massage and Ayurveda. This ensures they will be able to adjust the treatment to your specific needs.

What to wear during the massage?

Because most ayurvedic massages use oil, they can't be performed over clothing. Some people choose to keep their bottom underwear, while others get fully naked.

Either way, you will get a towel to wrap around your waist and cover your private parts during the massage.

Should you shower after an Ayurvedic massage?

Take a warm shower after your massage to remove excess oil. Otherwise, you'll risk staining your clothes.

Do not use soap, shampoo, or any other chemical products to enhance the benefits of your massage.

How often should you go?

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. The frequency of massage depends on your individual needs, lifestyle, and budget.

Most people find that 1 to 2 massages per month are effective for general relaxation and stress relief. If you are under significant stress or have a more active lifestyle, you may need to increase the frequency to 3-4 times per month.

When should you avoid getting an Ayurvedic massage?

Avoid getting a massage if you are experiencing digestion problems, during periods, and if you are sick or pregnant.

meditation is another ayurvedic practice

Ayurveda Principles to Live By

Massage is one of many ways Ayurveda helps us live a healthy and balanced life.

Here are other strategies you can incorporate into your daily routine to balance your doshas and improve your health.

1. Eat Fresh Foods

Seasonal fruits and vegetables are a key part of Ayurveda.

The philosophy behind Ayurveda is that you must eat fresh, seasonal foods to stay healthy. The body is in balance when it's getting the right nutrients from the right foods at the right time.

Oily-junk food is bad for you because it is heavy and difficult to digest.

2. Move

Besides eating fresh, seasonal foods, Ayurveda also recommends staying active.

This can be as simple as taking a walk instead of getting in the car or doing some light stretching or yoga.

Being active promotes circulation and helps keep your body balanced and healthy.

3. Meditate

Ayurveda is a philosophy that believes in the importance of taking care of our body, mind, soul, and spirit. This includes regular meditation. Meditation is an easy way to connect with our inner selves and promote balance and well-being.

Start with 10 minutes of guided meditation per day. Increase the duration over time.

4. Drink Warm Water

Before you eat your morning breakfast, drink a glass of warm water. This will help to stimulate your digestive system and get your metabolism going for the day.

Warm water also helps to flush out toxins and improve circulation.

Drink at least eight glasses of water per day for optimal health.

5. Watch Your Poo

Ayurveda has a strong belief in the importance of healthy elimination.

The body is in balance when it's getting the right nutrients from the right foods at the right time. Regular bowel movements support these mechanics.

Ayurveda believes that healthy elimination occurs one to two times daily. The first bowel movement of the day should happen shortly after waking.

By following these five principles, you can live a more balanced and healthy life. You can begin to experience all the benefits of Ayurveda today. Even before getting your first Ayurvedic massage.