In Ayurveda, it is believed that there are 3 doshas (Vata, Pitta, and Kapha) or energies that govern our physical, mental and spiritual selves. A dosha imbalance happens when there’s an excess or aggravation of dosha. This imbalance results in fatigue, ailments, diseases, depression, anxiety, and many other negative energies.
At its core, Ayurveda works by restoring the dosha balance so that we may be free from ailments and have a healthier mind, body, and spirit. In this article, we’ll go through the different Ayurvedic massages and treatments you should give a try and why they are good for you. So, let’s go ahead and learn more about this ancient alternative medicine.
What’s An Ayurvedic Massage?
An Ayurvedic massage restores the dosha balance to help our bodies learn to heal from ailments and promote overall wellness. The traditional form of Ayurvedic massage is the abhyanga, a full-body massage using medicated oils. It reduces stress and slows down heart rate, and blood pressure, keeping you calm. Abhyanga leads to many health benefits for your mind, body, and spirit.
However, there are many other types of Ayurvedic massages, depending on your dosha needs. There are those focused on the foot (Padabhyanga), head (Shirodhara), bones, joints, and muscles (Elakizhi), and even weight loss (Udwarthanam).
The techniques for Ayurvedic massage are also unique and have been used for thousands of years by ancient Indian healers. Some massages use warm herbal pouches, medicated milk, and many others. But all of these Ayurvedic treatments point to one goal: to ensure the balance between mind, body, and energy. We’ll discuss these powerful healing massages in detail below.
What Makes Ayurvedic Treatment Special?
Ayurveda is an Indian traditional discipline that means “science of life.” Many individuals prefer Ayurvedic treatment for its ancient holistic approach to treatment and wellness. The focus on using herbs and oils to unblock energy distinguishes Ayurvedic medicine from other types of therapies.
Ayurvedic treatments emphasize the potency of herbs and oils when addressing your body’s needs and dosha. While most massages focus solely on physiology, Ayurveda takes it a step further by focusing on vital energy points and utilizing the power of herbs to treat diseases and maintain wellness.
It employs techniques that clear the energy channels, removes toxins, and balance the doshas. Furthermore, many people prefer Ayurveda because it has no side effects compared to western medicine.
In addition, part of the Ayurvedic discipline is a better understanding of your well-being and role in the universe. This greater sense of consciousness has helped many individuals understand their beings and their bodies’ needs more. The more we understand our bodies’ needs, the better we can care for them.
Ayurveda’s holistic approach is intended to alleviate and treat illness and serve as a preventative therapy to cleanse and revitalize the body. So, if you’re looking for a holistic medicine that aims to harmonize the body, mind, and spirit, Ayurvedic treatments are great for you.
10 Ayurvedic Massages You Should Try
We listed below 10 Ayurvedic treatments and massages you should give a try.
- Shirodhara Treatment
- Abhyanga Massage
- Padabhyanga Massage
- Udwarthanam Massage
- Elakizhi Massage
- Navarakizhi Massage
- Pizhichil Treatment
- Ksheeradhara Treatment
- Lepanam Treatment
- Kateevasthy Treatment
1. Shirodhara Treatment
Shirodhara is a relaxing treatment where warm herbal oil is gently poured over the forehead, in between your eyebrows. In Ayurveda, this is the location of your “Third Eye,” considered the energetic center of intuition or consciousness. This is also the location of your pituitary gland, considered the “Master Gland” because it is responsible for many bodily functions.
This treatment aims to calm the nervous system and is associated with many health benefits, such as alleviating stress and anxiety, recovering from trauma, and more. To learn about Shirodhara treatment, feel free to read our post: the 9 Amazing Health Benefits of Shirodhara Treatment.
2. Abhyanga Massage
Abhyanga is the traditional Ayurvedic full-body massage. This massage applies medicinal oils all over your body, depending on your dosha needs. Abhyanga is often called the “oil massage” because it places high importance on choosing the right oil specifications and temperature suitable for you. An Ayurvedic practitioner can do Abhyanga for you, or you can do it daily on your own.
Abhyanga clears the mind and restores your focus. It also keeps your body in tip-top shape. To better understand the benefits of Abhyanga massage, you can read our post: 10 Awesome Health Benefits of Abhyanga Massage.
3. Padabhyanga Massage
Padabhyanga is an Ayurvedic foot massage considered the “mother of all therapies.” In Ayurveda, it is believed that the feet are the center of all energies. It’s also where thousands of vital nerve endings meet. Padabhyanga uses medicated oils and massage techniques on the feet to treat various ailments and improve your health.
Padabhyanga can improve your eyesight, treat insomnia, and offer many other health benefits. To learn more about this ancient foot massage, feel free to read our post: the 10 Amazing Health Benefits of Padabhyanga Massage.
4. Udwarthanam Massage
Udwarthanam is a dry powder massage with a reputation for promoting weight loss. It employs fast upward strokes called Pratiloma gati, meaning moving opposite to your body’s hair growth. This motion is believed to be effective against Vata dosha aggravation.
This massage has two types: Snigadh (oily) and Ruksha (dry). Snigadh Udwarthanam uses a dry herbal powder with medicated oil for the body. Meanwhile, the Ruksha uses dry herbal powder directly on the skin. The techniques and warm herbal powder have many health benefits, including weight loss. To learn more, you can read our detailed post: Udwarthanam Massage Therapy.
5. Elakizhi Massage
Elakizhi is an Ayurvedic treatment that uses fresh leaves wrapped in potli, poultices, or small bags. The potli is warmed and dipped in oil before being pressed towards the body. This treatment induces sweating to help detoxify the body. The warm potli is used to treat illnesses of the bones, joints, and muscles such as arthritis, frozen shoulders, sports injuries, etc.
Elakizhi is beneficial to alleviate Vata dosha aggravation and restore your body’s energy flow. To learn more about Elakizhi, we have a more comprehensive post you can read: Elakizhi Treatment.
6. Navarakizhi Massage
Like the Elakizhi, the Navarakizhi also uses potli, but instead of fresh leaves, it uses medicated rice called Navara rice. This special rice is cooked with milk and herbs such as Sida rectusa, placed in a potli, and pressed against the body. Navarakizhi can help rejuvenate dry skin, lubricate painful joints, ease sore muscles, and improve blood circulation.
In Ayurveda, Navara rice is a potent treatment against body aches and pains. It can ease backaches, arthritis, osteoporosis, and even paralysis.1
7. Pizhichil Treatment
Pizhichil is a traditional Ayurvedic treatment involving gentle massage and streams of warm herbal oils into the whole body. The constant pouring of warm, medicated oil soothes nerves, repairs joint issues, and improves blood circulation.
Pizhichil combines two therapies: Snehana (oil massage) and Swedhana (inducing sweat). It’s beneficial for individuals with spine and vertebral problems, degenerative joint diseases, and nervous system disorders.
8. Ksheeradhara Treatment
Ksheeradhara treatment uses medicated milk instead of herbal oils on the head and the rest of the body. The medicated milk has cooling and hydrating effects on the skin, relaxing you.
The medicated milk is poured into the body as a moisturizer against dry and dull skin. It’s also a medication to treat skin diseases. The warm milk also relieves stress and anxiety and promotes better mental health. Milk is also known to give you better sleep, treat insomnia, and alleviate migraines.
9. Lepanam Treatment
Lepanam is an Ayurvedic treatment that uses a green-colored herbal paste on an affected area to soothe and treat inflammatory conditions. It begins with the local application of the herbal paste on the body, followed by a gentle massage.
The herbal paste consists of herbs selected according to your body’s needs. The herbs are added to water, ghee, or any medicinal oil and applied to the affected area until it dries. Lepan improves blood circulation in swollen body parts. It’s also shown to treat facial skin conditions such as acne, blemishes, and others.2
10. Kateevasthy Treatment
Kateevasthy or Kativasthi treatment is a unique treatment that creates a dam of herbal dough on the affected area. Medicated oil is then poured onto the dam and left to rest. A gentle massage then follows it. The warm oil builds heat in the affected area and relieves it from chronic pain, stiffness, and other aches.
The Ayurvedic oil and the herbs are chosen depending on your body and dosha needs. Kateevasthy is beneficial for people who live a sedentary life or work sitting down throughout the day. These daily activities often lead to bad posture, resulting in backaches.
There you go! I hope you were able to appreciate Ayurveda therapy by learning about these 10 amazing treatments. These massages and treatments are designed to give you a holistic approach to treatment and wellness.
Many of these treatments are truly unique and one-of-a-kind experiences you don’t want to miss. These ancient treatments use techniques that incorporate the power of herbs, oils, and touch to restore the dosha balance and help the body heal itself.
Furthermore, Ayurveda develops a better understanding of our beings and bodies. The more we learn about our place in the universe, the more sensitive we become to our bodies’ needs. This awareness helps us take care of our bodies physically, mentally, and spiritually. Don’t miss out on these incredible Ayurvedic treatments when you get the chance!