Ayurvedic massage : Practice

The massage is performed by slow and regular pressure on different Marma points through which the prana (energy) moves.

These techniques stimulate blood and lymphatic circulation accelerating the elimination of Ama (waste).

Only vegetable oils are used, according to the type of dosha* of each individual or according to the essential oils necessary for the needs of the body.

Depending on the needs of the body, the use of essential oils in combination with touch is effective to act on the body and mind.

Aromatherapy and holistic science also use these oils to relieve many diseases and emotional disorders; they play a role of prevention or cure. Essential oils are essences obtained by distillation, and the water vapor from the different parts of plants: root, bark, leaf, bud, flower, etc.

The aromatic molecules of these oils are so small that they penetrate through the pores of the skin, acting on blood flow and organ function. Once they have completed their role, they are eliminated from the body through the respiratory tract, urinary or digestive systems.

Depending on the species and the part of the plant, one is able to produce a product with specific qualities delivering a series of physiological or psychological actions: antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, anti-stress, relaxation, etc.

But beware, the essential oil should always be diluted through vegetable oils, usually through sweet almond oil, to pass the skin barrier and avoid allergenic skin reactions.

There are four main movements in the massage:
• A tapping gesture - that must never be violent - is used on the important muscles, such as the thighs, buttocks.
• Kneading releases muscle tension, activates blood circulation, and removes organic waste.
• Friction with the essential oils stimulates the lymphatic circulation and can help to deflate edema.
• Pressure, motion and light crossing of the thumbs, run across the points of muscles to release tension.

The main types of massage:

The Snehana embeds the essential oils while massaging to improve the elimination of toxins. The use of these oils is effective against stress, anxiety, insomnia and any circulatory problems. By massaging the scalp, the body is provided with additional benefits, particularly for those who experience depression, insomnia and memory loss.

Shirodhara, involves application of a warm sesame oil net, with a frontwards movement. This promotes "cranial breathing" and acts on the nerve centers. It is ideal as a treatment of insomnia and to fight against the effects of stress.

Abhyanga, 'loving hands massage': the patient is massaged by two therapists at the same time; its calming and relaxing effect on the body and mind brings a new and positive energy to those who are stressed. It regulates the lymphatic system, eliminates toxins, stimulates the immune system and softens the skin.

The Mukabhynga, is a massage on the head, face and neckline, providing a deep relaxation of the muscles. It eliminates toxins and tension, improves skin tone, shapes facial contours, and activates energy centers for a rejuvenating effect and revitalization.

The Padabhynga, is performed on the foot and leg, and uses reflexology technique. It regulates and relaxes all body organs.

Kansu is also a foot massage with the distinction of being carried out with a bowl made of five metals. It targets the negative aspects that are: stress, tension, discomfort.

The Samvahana is the most comprehensive and longest (90 minutes) massage. This ritual begins with a careful and gentle body scrub. To do this, a glove and bristle brushes for energy work with rare species oils are used. The massage continues with synchronized movements that combine reflexology. It helps to prevent and better manage stress, and is also effective in cases of fatigue, insomnia, and depression.

The Pizzichil is recommended in cases of paralysis and rheumatism. Using essential oils that flows continuously, fabrics are placed on the body of the patient. It is practiced, usually by four people: two to apply oil and two to massage.

The Chavutti Thirumal is the most acrobatic and is practiced by two practitioners. The first, on the ceiling, ground with his feet while the second pours oil on the patient. It is effective in cases of joint and muscle pain and chronic fatigue.

*The doshas are three vital energies or "humors" combining one or more of the "five elements" (water, air, fire, earth, akasha) and are responsible for the physiological and psychological processes.