‘Abhyangam’ is a Sanskrit word which means oil application. It is commonly known as Ayurvedic Oil Massage. “Skin” the largest organ of the body is a sense organ of touch.

Ayurvedic ancient texts recommend daily Abhyangam and it should be practiced by everyone. This type of daily oil massage can be a simple oil application and be done by one’s own self. Abhyangam when practiced daily bestows one with long life span, energy, complexion and youthful skin.

Abhyangam is used as a therapy and is widely practiced throughout the world. It provides cure for various disorders including stroke, Arthritis, Lumbar Spondylitis, Cervical Spondylitis, Sport Injuries, Parkinsonism and many other muscle, joint and nerve related disorders. This type of therapeutic massage should be performed by a trained Ayurveda therapist. Using specialized strokes and other massage techniques, the head, palms, soles and ears should be given due importance and massaged carefully.

Abhyangam however is not advised for people suffering from fever, obesity, indigestion and diarrhea. It can be performed for new born babies after 7days of birth onwards.


Abhyangam is performed over a specially designed wooden table (Droni) by trained masseurs. The sesame oil processed with various herbs is selected based on person’s doshic type. An Ayurvedic physician assesses this and decides the appropriate oils and exact way of massage. The massage begins after offering prayers. A lukewarm oil is applied followed by a body massage in 7 different postures listed below:

  1. Sitting
  2. Supine
  3. Right lateral
  4. Lying face down
  5. Left lateral
  6. Supine
  7. Sitting

After the procedure, the person is directed to take herbal steam bath followed by a hot shower.

Benefits of Abhyangam:

  • Imparts strength to all the sensory (skin, eyes…) and motor organs (hands, legs…)
  • Maintains colour and complexion of skin, prevents the signs of aging, skin dryness and itching.
  • Prevents headache and induces sleep, calms the mind and gives relaxation.
  • Reduces hair fall.
  • The blood vessel and nerves in the skin are toned up therefore prevents nervous disorders.
  • Improves vision.
  • Relieves fatigue and feeling of exhaustion and tiredness.
  • Improves the muscle tone and builds the immunity.
  • Reduces the aggravated Vata. Although many different types of massage oils are available in the market and mentioned in the text, gingelly (sesame) oil is the one which is commonly used. Gingelly oil gives good results where by mustard oil is a heaty type of oil and can be used for infants and newly delivered women. Olive oil is good to improve the colour complexion and for hair fall.
Disclaimer: * Outcomes may vary from person to person