Standing for the ‘Science of Life’, Ayurveda is an ancient massage therapy rooted in over 5000 years of traditional Ayurveda principles from India. Ayurveda is a form of all-natural holistic healing that works to balance out the mind, body, and spirit, while boosting our bodies natural healing capabilities.
What are Doshas?
Unlike a typical massage, an Ayurvedic treatment is instead based on the idea that every single person has a combination of three different dosha, Kapha, Vata, and Pitta. Naturally these doshas are out of balance causing health and personality biases. Based on your dominant doshas blend, Ayurveda will have a series of prescribed suggestions involving a person’s diet, medicine, and massage treatments that will help achieve a perfect balance of doshas.
However, if you’re unsure what type you are don’t worry. All ayurvedic massage therapists can provide a dosha consultation. A dosha consultation can take up to 20 minutes to complete, meaning if you need one it’ll be best to arrive early.
In further detail these three doshas are;
Kapha types are both physically and emotionally strong like earth and water. However, these types also tend towards lethargy, apathy, and depression. Due to this lethargy, Kaphas will best benefit from deep tissue massages that stimulate the entire body.
Built upon the air and ether, people who lean towards the vata dosha are charming, quick-witted, and fast learners. Physically, Vatas tend to be thin and often suffer from weight loss, constipation, and arthritis. This all means that they best benefit from warm and grounding ayurvedic therapies such as abhyanga or shirodhara that will best balance their natural energy.
Intelligent, but quick-tempered Pitta types stem from fire and water. This quick temperament often means they suffer from irritability, fevers, and a lack of focus. Pittas will get the best experience from massages designed around cleansing their energy such as abhyanga.
What to expect from an Ayurvedic Massage
Looking at the whole list of all the types of massages can be daunting with all the different variations. But not to worry because we’re here to help!
Like a Swedish massage, all Ayurvedic massage treatments will use a combination of oils and medicinal herbs while massaging your skin to help balance out your natural blend of dosha and energies. These oils can come from a variety of sources including almond oil and coconut oil. Each unique style of massage will promote a variety of different benefits while focusing on different muscles.
Like most standard massages, Ayurvedic techniques will all involve the massaging of your muscles. Your massage therapist will typically use a variety of massage techniques including involve slow strokes, tapping, kneading, and squeezing.
Luxurious and therapeutic, this is a type of hot oil massage that uses medicinal ayurvedic oil to help flush out any toxins from your skin and body. This helps to improve your body’s lymphatic and circulatory systems while reducing any muscle tension.
A marma massage will focus on specific vital energy points throughout your entire body. By applying essential oils and a light touch to stimulate these points, your massage therapist will help awaken the body’s natural healing system. This subtle manipulation of our energy helps relieve stiff muscles and boost blood circulation.
Focused on our nose as a direct route to the brain and consciousness, this treatment uses special medicated oil to clear the nose and soothe dryness of the nose. This helps treat sinus congestion, headaches, and hormone imbalances.
This is a traditional Ayurvedic eye treatment which involves placing a ring of specialised dough around your eyes. The ring is then filled with special oil for a series of 5-10 minutes. This helps to manage eye sight, fatigue, and dryness, making it perfect for desk workers staring at bright screens all day.
Wholly unique to Ayurveda, this treatment uses specialized rice puddings or cloth bags containing a combination of oils and herbs. These bags are used to create heat-holding boluses on specific joints, muscles, and tendons throughout the entire body. Over time the ingredients soak through the bag helping to reduce body pain, inflammation, and soothe nerves.
This massage treatment is also known as an ‘Oil Bath’. Normally performed by two separate massage therapists, this practice involves constant a rhythmic massage technique applied to your entire body. Comprehensive and total, this massage therapy warms, lubricates, and nourishes the body to enhance blood circulation and purify the body.
A traditional Indian head massage, this treatment involves pouring warm medicinal oil onto your third eye chakra in a constant stream. Akin to meditation, this facial massage is designed to help calm and de-stress the nerves. Some benefits include improving sleep quality, lessening anxiety, and managing insomnia.
This form has your body coated in oils and herbs before a thorough full-body massage. This works to help create friction and heat throughout the entire body, stimulating metabolism and increasing blood circulation. As a result this treatment helps with weight loss and improve immune system strength.
Benefits of Ayurvedic Massages
Ayurveda has many health benefits based on your desired treatment of choice. Taking broad strokes however some of the general benefits include;
Thanks to the oils used in all Ayurvedic treatments, you’ll find any and all treated areas free of toxins and smoothed out. It also helps hydrate rough and dry skin, helping move towards a more youthful appearence.
Stimulates blood circulation
Like most regular massages, Ayurveda’s rhythmic strokes helps to stimulate blood circulation throughout treated areas. This in turn helps to promote stamina, energy, and lymphatic drainage.
Ayurvedic massage therapy is designed to create an air of relaxation. Just getting a massage can help soothe anxiety and increase general happiness.
Potential side effects
While Ayurvedic herbs can have side effects if taken in excess, Ayurvedic massages don’t have any significant side effects or pains. Extremely safe and reliable, these massages can be taken by almost anyone. Although seniors and pregnant women might want to err on the side of caution based on their desired treatment.
If you do suffer from any serious or chronic conditions though, then like any complementary medicine it will be best to consult your doctor first. To ensure the safest results, book with a trusted and proven massage therapist if possible.
Ayurveda also has a comprehensive relationship with food and nutrition. Again based on a person’s dosha type, Ayurveda suggests certain foods to help balance out your natural energy. Taking a broad perspective;
- Kaphas should eat warm, light, and dry food
- Vatas should favor cooked vegetables and meals
- Pittas should plan around a predominantly vegetarian diet
Where to Start?
If you would like to find an Ayurvedic practice near you, Avaana can help. Avaana allows you to find and compare massage therapists near you, to ensure that you’re finding the most authentic experience for you. Start today, and get up to 20% off your first booking with Avaana.
Be well, feel good, and smile a lot!