From time immemorial massage is in practice in India.
It is one of the 64 arts recognised in India . It includes - Abhyanga, Udvartana, Mardana , Padaghata and Samvahana.
This topic is explained in the oleation therapy (Snehan) which is described under 'Purvakarma' (Prepurification Measure) of Panchakarma .Before the actual operation of purification (Panchakarma) begins, there is a need to prepare the body to let go of the toxins. The two procedures are 'snehan' and 'swedan'. Snehan is the oil massage. Oil is applied to the entire body with a particular type of massage which helps the toxins to move towards the gastro-intestinal tract. Oil massage also makes the superficial and deep tissues soft and supple.
Great Scholers ofAyurveda like Charaka,Sushruta,Vagbhata and others have advised Abhyanga,Udvartana etc. both for preventive and for curative purposes.Massage brisks up the circulation, cultivates the finest quality in all the tissues and tones up the whole body.
Technique of Massage -
If Patient is thin ,dry skinned, old aged and suffering from visiation of 'Vata' dosha (Vatvyadhi) then Oil ,Ghee, Vasa etc.is used for massage.
If patient is fat, having excessive 'Kapha' dosha aggravation, having low digestive fire (Mandagni) then use of oil is contra-indicated. They are fit to undergo 'Udvartana' (dry massage).
According to Ayurveda the application of oil over the limbs must be in 'Anuloma gati'(according to the direction of hairs) and over the joints in circular movements.
'Dalhana' the commentator of 'Sushruta' has mentioned that when 'Abhyanga' is done all over the body for 300 matrakala (1 matrakal = 1/3 second) the snehadravya reaches the roots of the hair. Similarly it penetrates the
- Rasa' dhatu in 400 matrakala.
- Rakta dhatu in 500 matrakala.
- Mansa dhatu in 600 matrakala.
- Med dhatu in 700 matrakala.
- Asthi dhatu in 800 matrakala.
- Majja dhatu in 900 matrakala.
Thus it takes approximately 5 minuts to get maximum effect of Abhanga after application.
Verious medicated oils and ghritas viz. Chandan bala taila ,Mahanarayan Taila, are used for Abhyanga as per the body constitution ,condition of Dosha, disease, season etc.
Types of Massage
Three types of massage are described according to Ayurveda..
1] Deha mardanam - object is to tone the muscular tissue , to remove the fatigue and to give comfort. During massage the movements are done with considerable force and reinforced friction is resorted to. This is deep and active massage.
2] Samvahanam - Object here is to give comfort to patient, to improve circulation, to promote absorption of inflammatory swelling. This massage induces sleep relieves pains and fatigue. It promotes development of muscle, blood and improves skin complexion.
Here oil is applied very gently to the parts, the stroking and other operations are done in gentle manner. This is a passive massage where no resistance is offered.
3] Abhyangam - This is a hygienic massage and is intended to clean the skin and to tone up the nerves. The processes involved in this type of massage are - application of oil etc. Friction , reinforced frition and rubbing . Massage with soft or rough powders and their pastes ( Utane) is also included in this massage