Ayurvedic Massage and its types

Ayurvedic massage creates a deep relaxation in the muscles of the body and corrects the deeply rooted imbalances in the system thereby restoring harmony and functional integrity of the doshas. Ayurvedic massage uses different types of medicated oils for inducing long, vigorous strokes throughout the body. Ayurveda offers massage therapies that aim at keeping the enzymes in the body at their normal functioning level, thereby revitalizing the tissues and cells. A massage helps soothe the nerves and strengthens the bones. It also creates a sense of tranquility in mind, delays the process of aging and reduces the risk of future ailments.

Here are a few massage therapies offered in Ayurveda

Udwartanam (Herbal Anti-cellulite therapy)

Udwartanam is one of the most rejuvenating and relaxing treatments in Ayurveda. The simple procedure involves massaging the entire body below the neckline. It uses a powder prepared from an assortment of herbs in the direction opposite to the hair growth. Udwartanam opens the circulatory channels and facilitates the metabolic activity. It also improves the complexion of the skin and is extremely effective in reducing excess fats from the body.


Abhyangam is characterized by long strokes, Marma point therapy and flowing movements. Abhyangam is a luxurious, warm oil massage that focuses on calming the circulatory and nervous systems. This complete body massage improves the ability of nutrients to reach all the body cells and removes the stagnant waste. A concoction of warm herbal oils used in this massage nourishes and revitalizes the tissues. It heightens awareness and directs the internal healing system of the body. This treatment produces a deep healing effect by bringing harmony into the body, mind and spirit, naturally. Abhyangam is an unparalleled blissful experience.


Shirodhara awakens the mind while lulling the entire body to create a state of calmness. Stimulation and massage of the Marma points on the head, shoulders, neck, and the feet are followed by warm streams of Ayurvedic oil poured on and across the forehead, continually. A deep intuitive and meditative state is awakened and a great mental clarity and shift of awareness are experienced during the treatment. Shirodhara releases stress and quiets the mind. In short, this massage therapy induces a heightened mental state and creates profound relaxation of the body. Hence, this massage is recommended for the patients suffering from insomnia.


Herbal bundles called poultices are prepared with fresh herbs and leaves as a part of this treatment. These bundles are warmed in medicated oils and used for massaging the entire body including the neck, hands, shoulders and the back while shifting the person side to side. The treatment significantly reduces chronic pain.


This massage therapy is about exfoliating the skin with herbs like sesame, ginger, clove, cardamom and other powders mixed in red rice. It concludes with the application of an herbal pack that is comprised of licorice on the entire body. Licorice acts as an anti-tanning agent and helps in the removal of pigmentation.


Milk and red rice are cooked together with natural ayurvedic herbs to make a kheer or pudding. The same is later collected in Potalis or boluses and massaged over the skin. It works as an intensely invigorating therapy. It is advised for people who complain of generalized weakness and low energy. This massage is also recommended for brides-to-be as an herbal body polish.

Netra Basti/Netra Tarpanam

We are constantly bombarded with strong optical stimuli due to which our eyes feel tired and strained, creating adverse effects on our vision and also on the brain’s activity. Netra Basti can help prevent this by producing a soothing effect on the eyes and the surrounding tissues. The treatment includes a light facial massage that emphasizes on the Marma points around the lymph nodes and the eyes. Subsequently, dough rings are placed around each eye forming a dam. Then, the eyes are bathed in warm ayurvedic Ghee (herbal clarified butter). This nurtures and revitalizes the eyes. Later, eye exercises are performed and the Marma points on the hands are gently massaged. Thereafter, a Marma point massage for the face, neck, head and the shoulder completes the experience. This massage is ideal for people suffering from diabetes-related eye problems and computer vision syndrome.


Podikizhi belongs to the form of Ayurvedic therapies of high repute called Sweda. It involves the use of small linen bags that are filled with medicated powders prepared from the roots of 12 herbal plants. It is heated and applied all over the body to induce sweating. Two bundles, containing medicines and the medicated powder, are applied by 2 massage therapists to different parts of the body, simultaneously. Podikizhi takes care of the diseases caused by disrupted Kapha and Vata doshas such as arthritis, rheumatic disorder, and spondylosis. Muscular stiffness and sprain can also be prevented by undergoing this massage therapy as it tones the musculature.

Griva Basti / Kati Basti

Griva refers to the neck region, while Kati refers to the lower back and hip region. In these localized therapies, a round-shaped dam of wheat flour is sealed around the indicated area and a dough ring is filled with warm herbal oil, which is constantly replenished. Later, the dough ring is removed and the area massaged by emphasizing the Marma points. The treatment concludes with gentle stretching of the local muscles. The treatment helps to relieve pain in the local areas, especially when associated with degenerative bony changes.

Some more benefits of Ayurvedic Massage Therapies include

  1. Stimulates the immune power and strengthens the resistance to infections
  2. Alleviates potential adverse effects of stress
  3. Eases constipation, relieves abdominal spasms, and aids in digestion
  4. Improves blood circulation and lymphatic drainage
  5. Eases muscular aches and pains while promoting muscle relaxation

The philosophy of Ayurveda includes a series of conceptual systems that are characterized by health and disease, balance and disorder. Health/disease is a result of interconnectedness or the lack of it between everything that occurs in the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual being. To remain healthy, there must be a harmony between the thoughts, feelings and physical actions. Ayurvedic medications together with yoga, meditation, massage therapies and breathing exercises help people achieve this harmony and maintain optimum health. After an ayurvedic treatment, a person finds an overall improvement in their physical, mental and psychological state.

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