In Ayurveda massage is highly praised and recommended as a daily practice. As people follow the daily practice of eating and sleeping, so should they receive massage and discharge waste materials.
Ayurveda believes that aches and pains are caused by obstruction of the flow of vayu (wind) through vayu carrying vessels or siras. Rubbing which makes the bodily airs expand and move generates heat. Circulation of vayu in the siras removes tension and reduces pain. Massage also promotes a deeper and more natural breathing pattern.
Regular massage relaxes the muscles, nerves, bones and the whole body. It aids the digestive system by maintaining the proper balance and circulation of the body gases. It induces deep sleep, increases the appetite and generally makes life more joyful.
In therapeutic massage the type of massage administered and the oil used depend on the condition present. According to Vagbhata, the author of the famous treatise on Ayurveda called the ‘Ashtanga Hridayam’ those who wish to have health and happiness should massage the body and use oils according to the season. Fragrant and health giving organic oils are best.
According to another key scripture on Ayurveda, the Susruta Samhita, oil, ghee or other lubricants depending on the body type the atmosphere and the season should be used for massage. For those suffering from wind (vata) disorder massage is the only remedy. Generally, massage of especially tense areas should not be done without proper lubricant. Areas that are painful should be massaged until some relief is obtained.
1. Removes old age (Jarahar).
In Ayurveda, massage is described as Jarahar, the removal of old age because it provides nourishment to the seven tissue of the body.
1. Rasa (Plasma).
2. Rakta (Blood).
3. Mamsa (Muscle).
4. Medas (Fat)
5. Asthi (Bone).
6. Majja (Marrow).
7. Shukra (Semen).
2. Removes fatigue (Shram Har).
Physical or mental strain or both cause fatigue. It can also come from overworking a particular muscle or muscle group. Or doing work one does not normally do. The massage prescribed depends on the type of fatigue present.
3. Removes excess wind (Vata Har).
4. Improves eyesight (Dristhi Prasad Kar).
5. Strengthens the body (Pusthi Kar).
Rubbing with massage oil and pressing with or without oil is beneficial for the body. It increases circulation and movement of the vital life fluids while at the same time helping to enhance and circulate pranic energy. By kneading and pressing the muscles, accumulated toxins are encouraged to leave the body. In exchange the cells fill with nutrient material and prana. The body and the immune system become strong and stamina and vitality increase.
6. Increase’s longevity (Ayus Kar).
Massage creates an electrochemical balance in the body. When the body’s immune system becomes strong and toxins are eliminated, longevity is naturally increased. Since an increase in acidity reduces life span our blood chemistry should always be more alkaline than acidic. Anxiety and stress wear out the body and increase acidity. Balancing the three doshas increases our life span. The use of rejuvenating oils prepared with herbs and spices enhances the life force in the body. These oils are absorbed by the skin and digested into the body.
7. Induces sleep and dreams (Swapna kar).
Massage in general, and head massage in particular is an effective way for inducing sleep. Gentle rubbing, tapping and pressing of the body, especially the feet help soothe the wandering mind. Massage is also recommended for people suffering from insomnia or disturbed sleep.
8. Strengthens the skin (Twak Dridh Kar).
Massage with oil makes the skin feel smooth and gives it a glow. Regular application strengthens the skin and removes dryness, the first sign of disturbed vata in the body. Individuals whose prakruti or constitutional type is vata have dry, rough skin, for them oil massage is necessary. Dryness of the skin can also be caused by meditation, mental work, anxiety and worry. Once the oil has been applied the practitioner can then massage in the direction of the body hair. The skin of vata people absorbs more oil than that of pitta or kapha types.
9. Aids resistance to disharmony and disease (Klesh Sahattwa).
Rubbing the body with bearable pressure helps make it more resistant to disease. Massage stimulates the production of antibodies and strengthens the seven tissues (dhatus). The strength that comes from the dhatus gives the power of tolerance, forbearance and patience. These qualities can save one from sorrow, agony, adversity and anxiety. Antibodies strengthen the immune system and oil massage strengthens the nerves.
10. Soothes ailments caused by wind and mucous (Vata-Kapha Nirodhak).
According to Ayurveda, the massage with oil is the only effective remedy for soothing diseases caused by aggravated vata. It also proves effective in diseases caused by kapha.
11. Improves the texture of the skin (Mrija Varn Bal Prad).
Rubbing oil into the skin improves the texture of the skin and gives a healthy glow and makes it strong. According to Ayurveda massage is a mans best friend. It nourishes all the seven dhatus in the body, the three doshas, cures diseases caused by aggravation or imbalance in the doshas, rejuvenates the system, provides strength and vitality, removes stress and strain. In Ayurveda emphasis is on the correct use of oils in massage. They should be used according to the seasons and the requirements of the particular body in question as determined by pulse diagnoses.
Ayurvedic Massage Techniques.
The four types of massage strokes that should be used in Ayurvedic massage are tapping, kneading, rubbing and squeezing.
Tapping awakens the body. It increases blood flow and excites the capillaries under the skin, making the muscles strong. It also serves to activate the nervous system. Tapping alerts the body’s natural defences that the massage has begun. Tapping should be done with cupped palms. One minute of tapping equalises the temperature of the hands of the practitioner and the area of the body being massaged.
While tapping increases the flow of life force (prana) into a particular area, kneading relaxes and removes the stress that has accumulated in the muscles, joints and ligaments during the activities of daily life. Kneading creates activity inside the cell walls, increasing the circulation of the life giving chemicals that help develop and rejuvenate the body. After kneading the practitioner should grasp the muscle and shake it to see if the loosening process has made it smooth. If the musculature does not become relaxed and loose enough the nutritional oil will not be properly absorbed and assimilated. Once the muscles are sufficiently soft, the next step of rubbing can begin.
Rubbing provides exercise for the skin and excites the circulation of blood and lymph and increases the heat in the area being massaged. This stimulation permits nutrients present in the circulatory system to reach the joints and thus strengthen the bones. Dry rubbing also alleviates stiff muscles and removes fatigue. While rubbing the dry skin with a rough towel after a bath does provide benefits, it can disturb the gases in the body by means of increasing vayu the wind element. For this reason a rough towel should only be used after a bath and only under therapeutic advice.
Some Hindu and Jain sadhus rub ashes on their bodies; this creates a kind of immunity in them to the sense of touch that helps them protect themselves against seasonal changes. The ashes become their clothes.
Oil rubbing with an oil suitable for the season and the aggravated dosha is generally recommended by Ayurveda if pain swelling or rash occurs then an oil suitable for these conditions should be used.
Properly used oil can be very beneficial. In addition to not exiting the vayu elements, it lubricates the fingers, facilitates the rubbing and distributes the body temperature evenly. If the oil is fragrant it also generates a pleasant aroma and so creates a pleasant environment for the massage. (For oil with no fragrance a few drops of essential oil may be added.)
Rubbing the top, sides and bottom of a joint helps its articulation and movement. Because the lymph nodes are situated around the joints to keep them lubricated and protected from friction, these are stimulated and release lymphatic fluid. Depending on how its done rubbing serves different purposes. Gentle rubbing helps the recipient to relax, while hard rubbing produces the benefits of exercise. The practitioner should start rubbing gently applying the oil to the area that is to be massaged. After the oil has been applied the rubbing can be done harder to create heat and allow the oil to be absorbed by the body. The speed at which the practitioner works should complement the touch, when the massage is gentle the cadence should be slow; when it becomes more rigorous the speed should increase somewhat. After the rubbing the practitioner should make a circular movement on the marma.
The fourth and final massage technique, squeezing is done only to the limb’s fingers and toes. After the oil used in rubbing has been absorbed squeeze the body part by making a criss-cross movement with both hands. Squeezing should start at the thighs and move downward to the tips of the toes, and then begin again at the armpit and end at the fingertips. Squeezing the fingers and toes is like milking a cow except that the squeezing movement runs criss-cross while the milking movement is straight downward. By gently twisting the bones of the toes and fingers at the joint to either side, the secretions of growth hormones will be stimulated.
Squeezing stimulates the fine network of nerves and blood capillaries lying underneath the skin and forces the flow of nutrient material toward the extremities. Done with bearable pressure this movement balances the pressure of blood and other fluids inside the cell walls. By creating an even distribution of energy squeezing helps to balance the musculature. Through squeezing tension and pain in the arms and legs are released through the fingers and toes.
After the limbs have been squeezed and the recipient is relaxing, the practitioner should apply a drop of oil to each of the recipient’s fingertips. Oil is then carefully placed around the tip of each toenail, filling the area between the flesh and the nail itself. Repeat until all toenails have been oiled, this removes dryness and makes the pads of the toes, which become hard and cracked smooth again. It also smoothes and strengthens the nails.
Ayurvedic Full body rejuvenating Marma Massage with steam bath 120 minutes – £130.00
Ayurvedic head massage 60 minutes – £40.00