Abhyanga is a traditional Ayurvedic massage. Abhi means “directed towards” and anga means “movement”.

Abhyanga is a massage with a generous amount of oil. It synchronizes with and follows the movements of the blood circulation. It is pleasant and beneficial to receive a massage from two hands (yourself or another person) or four hands (two synchronized massage therapists). Regular massage, daily if possible, or 3 times a week, is an essential element for health and wellness.

Daily use of “sneha” (cold-pressed vegetable oil, or clarified butter / ghee) in regular massage is an ancestral Ayurvedic practice that brings overall well-being: physical, emotional and spiritual (detoxification, energy boost, inner peace, awakening of consciousness, centering). The Abhyanga massage stimulates the elimination of toxins (clusters) and negative emotions. It strengthens the circulation of blood, lymph, the nervous system and the immune system. Abhyanga calms the mind and brings relaxation, while also increasing pranic energy. Improves sleep quality, concentration, and memory. It nourishes and protects the skin, which is the 3rd (and largest) organ of elimination after the kidneys and the liver.

Pregnant and postnatal women will benefit greatly from receiving a massage or self-massaging daily, or 3 to 4 times per week. The recommended oils are the ones that are edible. The skin should not be coated with a substance that is not consumable (therefore all classic cosmetic products should be avoided). Traditionally, the oil that is used is cold pressed sesame oil, not roasted. It is an oil that warms and soothes. Coconut oil is a good oil for massage during the heat season, it has the quality to cool down the heat. For people who have a tendency to feel hot, coconut oil is a good option. Ghee, olive or sunflower oil are also good for massage. High quality sweet almond oil is excellent for newborns, babies, infants, and children.

Abhyanga self-massage pre & postnatal

Practical advice for pregnant women: The massage is ideally done in the morning before shower but can be done in the evening also.

  • Heat your bottle of massage oil in a container of hot water or in a baby bottle heater. The oil should be warm or hot. Install a bath mat that does not slip on the floor.
  • Place a chair on it with a towel over it, or self-massage while standing.
  • Be careful not to slip with oiled feet in the shower !!!
  • Sit down and start massaging yourself in this order, with plenty of oil:
    • from the top of the head, the face, the ears, the neck;
    • the feet with back and forth movements along the sole of the foot, then the toes (please wipe your feet so you don’t slip).
    • then the hands and fingers, arms, elbows, shoulders (upward and downward movements on the limbs, circular movements on the joints).
    • the legs: from the ankles upwards including the glutes, the knees (circular movements)
    • the lower back by applying circular movements at the level of the kidneys.
    • the chest and belly with circles (gently, circular movements in a clockwise direction.

The massage would last about 15 minutes, but, if you are in a hurry, 5-7 minutes will be enough.

Ideally, a period of relaxation after the massage is desirable before the shower. If your time schedule does not allow it, enjoy your shower immediately.

Finish by taking a hot shower or bath.