I was first introduced to Abhyanga in India as the Ayurvedic ritual of self-massage. The ritual suggests massaging your entire body, beginning at the crown of your head and working your way to your feet. While performing, you should massage up along your arms and legs (moving toward your heart), massage in an upward circular motion around face and joints, and massage in a clockwise motion around your stomach and chest.
The benefits of abhyhanga include:
· Increased circulation (specifically at nerve endings)
· Lubrication of the joints,
· Elimination of toxins from the body
· Makes deep tissues soft and supple, helping to remove stress and nourish the nervous system
· Helps reduce cases of pain, debility, and stiffness
· Helps reduces fatigue
· Increased energy levels
· Soft and healthy skin.
As one who is vata dominant (prone to: dry skin, achy joints, poor circulation, and insomnia), I took the ritual home with me and made it a part of my routine.
I’ve now been practicing abhyanga for several years and have undoubtedly seen its benefits. That being said, there are definitely evenings when I wished it wasn’t a self-massage, but me receiving a massage.
Ask and you shall receive
A few months ago, a magical wellness center, by the name of Natural Rhythms Integrative Health, opened their doors to serve those seeking alternative or holistic health care, and sure enough they offer Abhyanga!
Without skipping a bit, I made an appointment with the lovely Afrin Sopariwala, and here’s what happened…
I arrived feeling a bit sweat, hungry, and frantic, as it had just been one of those days. I was greeted and offered water or tea while Afrin finished preparing the room. When we made our way to the treatment room, Dr. Anup Mulakaluri joined us for my pre-treatment consult. My consult included some general health intake questions, but also questions that checked in with my recent mental and emotional state of being. Both Dr. Anup and Afrin took their time talking to me and truly seemed interested in helping me find the happy and healthy Angela that got lost somewhere in the business of life.
Lastly, Dr. Anup performed an Ayurvedic pulse reading , an amazing experience on it’s own, and gave me some self-care homework before sending me off into pure bliss!
When I finally made my way onto the table, I was treated to a full-body application of warm, medicated oil, used to pacify the doshas. Afrin began the massage at the crown of my head and then made her way down to the soles of my feet. Extra care was taken on the soles of the feet because that’s where important marma points lie. Marma points are the pathways that lead to the inner body and signal it to produce exactly what it needs to heal. Healing is exactly what I experienced during this Abhyanga session, physically, mentally, and emotionally. I felt amazing through the entire massage and like a ball of mush when I got off the table.
If you’re in need of some self self-care and nourishment with practitioners that care, look no further.
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