Experience Blissful Rejuvenation: A Guide to Abhyanga - traditional Indian self-massages

Posted by Empress Naturals on

Everything about Abhyanga massage

Is massage something solely reserved for vacations, birthdays, or special occasions?

Well that's what we thought till we stumbled upon the Ayurvedic self-massage practice of abhyanga. Abhyanga is an oil massage recommended daily in Ayurveda to be performed on yourself using the right combination of oils. 

Oil massage may appear to be a messy and laborious technique better left to the professionals, but once you've mastered the fundamentals, self-massage with oil becomes second nature and so worth the effort.

If you want to learn more about this incredible self-massage technique and all its history, advantages, what kinds of oils to use, and how to personalize your self-massage practice to balance each dosha, you’re in the right place. 

What is Abhyanga? Where does it come from? 

Abhyanga - traditional Indian way to self-massage

Abhyanga is an old Ayurvedic practice that includes applying heated oil to the body and then massaging your body.

The term "abhyanga" means "oil massage" in Sanskrit. In Ayurveda, Abhyanga is one of the most essential self-care practices. It has enhanced health and well-being for thousands of years.

Charak Samhita, a 2000-year old Ayurvedic classic, has the first mentions of Abhyanga practice. Since ancient India, people of all ages and backgrounds used this practice as a kind of self-care.

Abhyanga self massage
According to the scripture, abhyanga is a regular practice that can aid enhance circulation, immunity, and general wellness.

Abhyanga became an important aspect of Ayurvedic therapy over time, and it was utilized to address a variety of health problems. It was also utilized as a type of preventive medicine, with individuals frequently doing abhyanga to keep their health and avoid disease.

Abhyanga is still a popular self-care practice in India and now frequently suggested as part of any holistic wellness practise throughout the world.

Why is Abhyanga so popular? 

Abhyanga Improves Circulation

It increases lymphatic flow and blood circulation throughout the entire body, which can aid in the removal of toxins and promote better healing.

Abhyanga Relieves Stress and Anxiety

It's rhythmic, repeated motions can assist to quiet the mind and alleviate tension and anxiety. The heated oil used in the massage is very relaxing to the nervous system.

Abhyanga Nourishes Skin

Abhyanga can assist to moisturize and nourish the skin, enhancing its texture and tone. The massage oil can also assist to minimize signs of aging by boosting cell regeneration and collagen formation.

Identify your Dosha 

Abhyanga balances the doshas. Doshas are the three basic energies or humor that regulate the physical and mental activities of the body. Vata, pitta, and kapha are the three doshas, and each has its distinct features and attributes.

Vata Dosha

This dosha governs mobility and creativity. It is composed of the elements air and ether and has characteristics such as dryness, lightness, and cool.

Vata-dominant people are slim, active, and creative, but they may also suffer from anxiety, sleeplessness, and stomach disorders.

Pitta Dosha

Pitta governs metabolism and metamorphosis. It is composed of the elements fire and water and is distinguished by characteristics such as warmth, sharpness, and intensity.

People with a pitta-dominant temperament are often of moderate build, are ambitious, and passionate, but may also suffer from rage, body inflammation, and skin irritations.

Kapha Dosha

Kapha is the dosha associated with structure and stability. It is composed of the elements earth and water and is distinguished by characteristics such as weight, coldness, and moisture.

People with a kapha-dominant temperament are bigger in stature, peaceful, and loving, but they may also suffer from weight gain, tiredness, and congestion. 

Picking the Right Oils for your Abhyanga Self-Massage

Ayurveda oils for self-massage

Picking the right oil for you based on your dosha is important to bring balance between your mind and soul. 

Oils for Vata dosha

Vata dosha is related to air and space, and it is in charge of mobility in the body. When Vata is out of balance, it can lead to dry skin, anxiety, sleeplessness, and other health problems.

Warm, dense oils like sesame seed oil, almond oil, or even avocado oil help balance Vata. Warming and nourishing, these oils assist to anchor the body and quiet the mind.

Sesame oil, which is warming and nourishing, is one of the greatest oils for balancing Vata dosha. It aids in the lubrication of joints, the improvement of circulation, and the relaxation of the neural system.

Another excellent choice is almond oil, because of its high vitamin E concentration that helps to nourish and moisturize the skin. Avocado oil is also a fantastic option since it contains an abundance of healthy fats that nourish and preserve the skin.

A DIY massage oil recipe for Vata Dosha 


  • 1/2 cup of organic sesame oil
  • 10 drops of lavender essential oil
  • 10 drops of sweet orange essential oil
  • 5 drops of frankincense essential oil

Mix ingredients in a small jar before use. 

Oils for Pitta Dosha

Pitta dosha is related to fire and water and is in charge of digestion, metabolism, and change in the body.

Pitta imbalance can lead to acidity, inflammation and other ailments. Cooling, calming oils such as sunflower oil, coconut oil, or jojoba oil help balance Pitta. 

Coconut oil is one of the greatest oils for Pitta dosha balance since it is cooling and calming. It nourishes and moisturizes the skin while also having anti-inflammatory effects that assist to decrease redness and inflammation.

Sunflower oil - excellent for self-massage

Sunflower oil is another excellent choice since it contains linoleic acid, a fatty acid which helps to enhance the skin's barrier function and decrease irritation. Jojoba oil is also a wonderful option because it is non-comedogenic and aids in the regulation of oil .

A DIY massage oil recipe for Pitta Dosha: 


  • 1/2 cup of organic coconut oil
  • 10 drops of rose essential oil
  • 5 drops of sandalwood essential oil
  • 5 drops of peppermint essential oil

Mix ingredients in a small jar before use. 

Oils for Kapha dosha

Kapha dosha relates to earth and water, and is in charge of the body's construction and stability.

When Kapha is out of equilibrium, it can lead to fatigue, congestion, and other similar health problems. Warming oils such as ginger oil, mustard oil, or eucalyptus oil help balance Kapha.

These oils are stimulating and energetic, and they aid in circulation and cleansing in the body.

Mustard oil, which is hot and invigorating, is one of the greatest oils for balancing Kapha dosha. It aids in the improvement of circulation, digestion, and the removal of toxins from the body.

Ginger oil is another excellent choice since it is both warming and revitalizing. It aids in the improvement of circulation, reducing inflammation, and detoxification of the body.

Eucalyptus oil is also invigorating and energizing. It aids in the removal of congestion, the improvement of respiratory function, and the promotion of mental clarity.

A DIY massage oil recipe for Kapha Dosha


  • 1/2 cup of organic almond oil
  • 10 drops of eucalyptus essential oil
  • 5 drops of ginger essential oil
  • 5 drops of cinnamon essential oil

Mix ingredients in a small jar before use. 

How to do Abhyanga self-massage

  • Place the oil in a vessel of warm water to heat it up.
  • Massage the oil to your entire body, beginning with the crown of your head and then working downward to your feet. Use long strokes on the limbs and circular movements on the joints . 
  • Massage your body lightly, focusing on areas that are dry, stiff, or congested.
  • Allow the oil to soak into your skin for 15-30 minutes before rinsing with a cool shower or bath.


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