Ayurvedic massages have been used as an alternative therapy for issues ranging from a migraine and spondylitis to regulating blood pressure and cholesterol. The varied massage forms are famously known for relieving pain and refreshing the body and mind. Not only do they target the physical conditions but also improve psychological issues such as depression and anxiety.
If you’re planning to go for an Ayurvedic massage and are not sure which one to choose, here are 10 types of Ayurvedic massages that are frequently used.
Shirodhara, which means a continuous flow on the head, is a head massage (as the name suggests) that tries to stimulate the nerves in the scalp and targets the gland that produces serotonin and melatonin. In this massage form, a herbal or medicated oil or even buttermilk is poured on the upper forehead continuously for about 45 minutes every day. The treatment lasts from 7 to 21 days.
This massage is said to be effective for issues in the nervous systems and even help with depression, memory loss, panic attacks, and insomnia. If you have a chronic headache and any ENT problems, Shirodhara is just the massage for you.
2. Greeva Vasti
Greeva vasti massage focuses on reducing pain in the neck area and any diseases in the cervical region. Using a powdered paste black gram to create a dam-like structure around the neck, medicated oils are applied and retained on the affected area. The oil is kept lukewarm and retained as long as required for a particular condition. After removing this, a gentle massage with the same oil further helps relieve pain.
Nasya applies a special oil on the face followed by applying heat and fomenting the face. Then, the masseuse applies a herbal formulation or medicated oil to the nostrils to remove any toxins in the sinuses. During the whole process, your eyes are protected from the treatment to avoid any issues.
The treatment stimulates the nerves, detoxifies the nose, enhances sleep quality, and strengthens the shoulder and neck. Nasya is most commonly used to treat sinus infections, nasal issues, eye and ear-related diseases, facial paralysis, and migraine.
This massage form involves pouring medicated lukewarm oil from a certain height over the body in a rhythmic manner in a specific direction while the body is being massaged by a professional. This makes use of a certain type of pitcher called kindi to pour the oil and goes on for about 60–90 minutes. You can get this treatment for 7–21 days.
This massage focuses on balance the Vata Dosha by causing the body to perspire. It relieves body stiffness, rheumatism issues like arthritis, paralysis, fractures, muscle weakness, and nerve issues.
This massage can be done to any part of the body. Puddings are made out of medicinal leaves that are processed in oils, tied in a muslin cloth, and used in the massage. It is done for 45 minutes and the treatment lasts 7–14 days. The professional masseuse might also use a powdered form of the herbs.
Elakizhi can treat back pain, arthritis, joint issues, and paralysis. It is also used to strengthen the muscles and nerves, to increase blood circulation, reduce pain, increase metabolism, and also improve the skin quality.
This is a massage form that involves absolutely no herbs or oils. Here, the body is massaged and stimulated using raw silk gloves without any lubricants. The movements are light and vigorous, which helps to expel toxins from the body. It also helps with weight loss by breaking down fat cells. Massaging the body this way exfoliates the skin and improves its look and health.
Since this is a dry massage, it’s recommended to follow this up with Abhyanga. Post skin-exfoliation, the skin easily absorbs the oil in Abhyanga. And a nice, long bath following this will make you feel refreshed.
In Njavarkizhi, a special oil is spread on the whole body first. Then, the masseuse applies pressure on the body using cooked rice wrapped in cotton cloths or bags. These bags are doused in a herbal paste and cow’s milk and then applied on the body. The Sida rhombifolia herb is commonly used to make the herbal paste.
The intent here is to make the body sweat as much as possible to improve skin quality, strengthen muscles and nerves, help the body to destress and revitalize, and improve blood circulation. It also targets joint pain, blood pressure and cholesterol issues, paralysis, and skin diseases. The massage lasts 60–90 minutes every day for 7–14 days.
Abhyanga is a full-body hot massage wherein a medicated oil suitable for any specific condition is massaged onto the body. The massage room is maintained at a comfortable and warm temperature. The massage form makes use of specific motions, pressure points, and energy centers to detoxify the whole body.
This treatment improves blood circulation, strengthens the muscles and bones, regenerates cells, relieves pain, and makes you feel fresh and revitalized. This is ideally done before taking bath. The treatment usually lasts for 45–60 minutes every day for 7–21 days. It is commonly used to recover from sports-related injuries, spondylitis, and back pain.
The Udvartana (which means upward movement) massage is done in the direction opposite to that of hair growth using a herbal powder and sometimes with the use of an oil formulation. The massage can be done for about 15 minutes every day. Some of the main benefits of this massage form is an increase in blood circulation, detoxification, regulated cholesterol levels, weight loss, improved skin quality, and reduced Kapha dosha.
Shirovasti uses a leather cap to retain medicated oil over the head. The oil is lukewarm, which stimulates the cranial nerves, helping in keeping away any related diseases. This treatment can be used to complement the treatment for facial paralysis, earache and hearing issues, headache, insomnia, and psychosomatic stress.
The oil on the head is retained for about 30–45 minutes. Usually, we’d recommend you to take this treatment for 7–14 days at a stretch.