The body of one who uses oil massage regularly does not become affected much even if subjected to accidental injuries, or strenuous work. By using oil massage daily, a person is endowed with pleasant touch, trimmed body parts and becomes strong, charming and least affected by old age.
Charaka Samhita Vol. 1, V: 88-89
Abhyangais the anointing of the body with oil. Often medicated and usually warm, the oil is massaged into the entire body before bathing. For thousands of years people have used abhyanga to maintain health, benefit sleep patterns, increase longevity. It has also been used as a medicine for certain disorders. Abhyangacan be incorporated into a routine appropriate for almost anyone.
The Sanskrit word sneha can be translated as both âoilâ and âloveâ. It is believed that the effects of abhyanga are similar to those received when one is saturated with love. Like the experience of being loved, abhyanga can give a deep feeling of stability and warmth. Sneha is subtle; this allows the oil/love to pass through minute channels in the body and penetrate deep layers of tissue.
In Ayurveda, it is believed that there are seven layers of tissue in the body (called dhatus). Each successive layer is more concentrated and life-giving. For sneha to reach the deepest layer, it is believed that it must be massaged into the body for 800 matras, roughly five minutes. To give this kind of attention to your entire body, you may need about fifteen-minutes. Considering the benefits that have been gained by people for thousands of years, fifteen-minutes per day is a minimal amount of time.
Benefits of Abhyanga (applying oil to the body)
(Outlined in: Charaka Samhita, Sushruta Samhita and Ashtanga Hrdayam)
Benefits of applying oil to the body (Abhyanga):
- Produces softness, strength and color to the body
- Decreases the effects of aging
- Bestows good vision
- Nourishes the body
- Increases longevity
- Benefits sleep patterns
- Benefits skin
- Strengthens the bodyâs tolerance
- Imparts a firmness to the limbs
- Imparts tone and vigor to the dhatus (tissues) of the body
- Stimulates the internal organs of the body, including circulation
- Pacifies Vata and Pitta and Harmonizes Pitta
Benefits of applying oil to the scalp (Murdha taila):
- Makes hair grow luxuriantly, thick, soft and glossy
- Soothes and invigorates the sense organs
- Removes facial wrinkles
Benefits of applying oil to the ears (Karna purna):
- Benefits disorders in the ear which are due to increased Vata
- Benefits stiff neck
- Benefits stiffness in the jaw