What is Ayurvedic Massage?

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  • Written By: Sara Schmidt
  • Edited By: Andrew Jones
  • Last Modified Date: 08 October 2019
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Several different types of massage techniques are available for people seeking stress relief, pain relief, and balance in their lives. Ayurvedic massage is a type of hard body massage from ancient India. It utilizes pressure points, oils, and Ayurvedic philosophy to provide a relaxing, healthful experience.

A person can expect to be coated with a generous amount of oils during an Ayurvedic massage treatment. Touch during this type of massage is not light but vigorous, with a strong focus on pressure points, or marmas. This is done to help stimulate organ systems within the body per the Ayurvedic philosophy. Enhancing prana, or the life force, is the focus of an Ayurvedic massage.

As a hard, or vigorous, massage, it may include the use of hands, hard oiled massage balls, elbows, feet, or forearms on the body. If feet are utilized, the massage therapist may hang from a rope to maintain his or her balance and ensure the safety of both participants. Dipping feet into a bowl of warm Ayurvedic massage oil to create a slippery, resistance-free surface, he or she will slide feet up and down the body.

The digestive system is often heavily focused on during an Ayurvedic massage. Its stimulation is a focal point in Ayurveda. During a massage treatment, many of the pressure points a masseuse will work on are likely intended to help foster healthful elimination and digestion.


Other body needs that are specific to the person receiving treatment may also be treated during the session. The lungs, liver, heart, kidneys, and spleen are other areas that often receive attention. An Ayurvedic head massage may be provided to help relieve stress, tension, and headaches. In Ayurveda, this area is known as the third eye, and treating it is said to help the patient maintain concentration and focus.

In ancient times, Ayurvedic massage was only provided to kings and queens. Ayurvedic body massage was also thought to help increase stamina on the war field at the time. Considered a luxurious experience, it has been used to create energy, relaxation, flexibility, and a youthful appearance. It can also help strengthen muscle tone.

Memory retention may be addressed through a massage at the base of the spine and head. Different oils, such as sesame, olive, or mustard, may be used for various complaints or needs as well. These oil bases typically have added herbs and aromas to a heightened spiritual, relaxing experience.

Another intention behind Ayurvedic massage is the elimination of toxins. This is said to purify the body. Because of the liberal amounts of oil used in the treatment, it is also a good way to alleviate dry skin.


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