Learning To Do An Ayurveda Abhyanga Self Massage!

Self-care is one of the greatest things you can do for your whole life. After all, self-love and revitalization does wonders for your mood, your wellness and your overall vitality.

While I think certain cultures have stripped rituals of self care down to “speeding out the door” makeup routines and the absolute fastest ways to look your best, in traditions like Ayurveda — much more on this coming this year– self care is an essential part of wellness.

From breathing to yoga, special foods and tonics to skincare indulgences… all of Ayurveda is focused on creating balance in your whole life on every level.

Several times a week- depending on your Ayurveda dosha (I’ll explain soon!)- you can indulge in a self-care ritual that is luxurious, detoxifying, beautifying and gratifying- a self-massage known as Abhyanga.

“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
(One of the Great ancient texts of Ayurveda)

What is Abhyanga?

Abhyanga is a form of self-care and restores self-balance and grounding.

This is a form of Ayurvedic medicine that is self-massage for your body with specific warm oils that help you, with the different conditions you are dealing with, such as the inability to sleep, agitation, constipation, excess stomach acid and circulation – just to name a few.

According to Banyan Botanicals, some of the benefits of Abhyanga self massage:

  • Imparts 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 body’s 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, increasing circulation

In Ayurveda, there are three main body types or doshas- Pitta, Kapha & Vata- and they each have different needs for creating balance.  Also, for our purposes here, they’ll each benefit more from a different massage oil.


HERE you will find questionnaires to determine which type you are in Ayurveda. I’m Vata-Kapha, a blend between two doshas.

There are many types of oil to use to personalize your self- massage and maximize the benefits, because certain oils will be more beneficial to your body. You can buy blends that are filled with herbs and essences, or simply choose an oil for your dosha based on this list from Shannon Sexton on the Yoga International website:

For dry skin (vata): Use a warm, heavy oil such as sesame, almond, avocado, or bhringaraj.

For sensitive or overheated skin (pitta): Use a cooling or neutral oil such as olive, sunflower, coconut, castor, or ghee (clarified butter).

For oily skin (kapha): Use a stimulating oil like mustard, or a light oil such as flaxseed, corn, canola, or safflower.

Here is how to do the massage itself. It’s the most relaxing and luscious routine. Find a warm room, get yourself settled and warm your oil to get started:

You can watch the technique a few times through until you feel comfortable with the basics, then make yourself a cheat sheet on a piece of scrap paper to walk through the steps with your first batch of warm oil.

I can’t say enough about self care, and practicing these rituals like self-massage. You’ll start the day grounded, more balanced, moisturized and with so many energy systems activated!


xoxo Dana


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