Most of us experience soreness of some level every day. Whether you’re living a very active lifestyle or spending most of the day at a desk, stiffness has a way of creeping up on you. The only natural solution (meaning without risky painkillers) is a good massage, but who can afford to get one as often as we feel we need them?

Sometimes we try to get around this by “trading” massage duties with friends. This can work very well sometimes, but it can also be exhausting. You tire out the muscles in your own hand giving someone else a massage, which isn’t particularly helpful when you’re trying to find a way to help your muscles relax.

The ideal is self-massage, but again we come across a problem. Traditional western massage technique depends almost entirely on intense kneading with the hands, and it can be exhausting for the person giving the massage. That’s why ayurvedic massage, called abhayanga, is so well-suited to self-massage. Abhyanga relies on warm oil and water, and its physical strokes are soft and relaxing without requiring so much strength and muscle on the part of the massage-giver (and in this case, get-er!)

To learn how to give yourself a massage using the ayurvedic technique of abhyanga, check out this article by Chopra:

The Benefits of Ayurveda Self-Massage “Abhyanga”

 

  • Warm the oil (pour approximately ¼ cup into a mug and warm using a coffee-cup warmer.) Test the temperature by putting a drop on your inner wrist, oil should be comfortably warm and not hot

  • Sit or stand comfortably in a warm room

  • Apply oil first to the crown of your head (adhipati marma) and work slowly out from there in circular strokes—spend a couple of minutes massaging your entire scalp (home to many other important marma points—points of concentrated vital energy)

  • Face: Massage in circular motion on your forehead, temples, cheeks, and jaws (always moving in a upward movement). Be sure to massage your ears, especially your ear-lobes—home to essential marma points and nerve endings

  • Use long strokes on the limbs (arms and legs) and circular strokes on the joints (elbows and knees). Always massage toward the direction of your heart

  • Massage the abdomen and chest in broad, clockwise, circular motions. On the abdomen, follow the path of the large intestine; moving up on the right side of the abdomen, then across, then down on the left side

  • Finish the massage by spending at least a couple of minutes massaging your feet. Feet are a very important part of the body with the nerve endings of essential organs and vital marma points

  • Sit with the oil for 5-15 minutes if possible so that the oil can absorb and penetrate into the deeper layers of the body

  • Enjoy a warm bath or shower. You can use a mild soap on the “strategic” areas, avoid vigorously soaping and rubbing the body

  • When you get out of the bath, towel dry gently. Blot the towel on your body instead of rubbing vigorously

Keep in mind, this is really just the tip of the iceberg. There’s plenty more to learn over in the original post, such as how abhyanga benefits the body and which routines and oils work best for what. Head over there to familiarize yourself with the process, and then by all means, lay back and relax!