Self care in the busy world? The benefits of daily self massage

Self-care in the busy world?

Let’s explore the benefits of self-massage

Looking for a great way to impart self-love and care towards your body and mind?

Read on to find the benefits of ancient Ayurvedic self-massage from

Medical Doctor Dr. Neetu

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

The long-standing Indian tradition of anointing the body with warm, often medicated herbal oil is known as “Abhyanga”. Pronounced “Abeeyangah”

My first introduction to this was in India. The home of Ayurveda – an ancient holistic medical system known as the sister science to yoga. For more information see here>

The experience was something I have never encountered before.   Classically, the oil which is warm to hot is massaged into the entire body, left for up to 15-20 minutes, and then washed off with warm/hot water.

The massage is normally carried out by the same gender- women for women and men for men. A four-handed massage, yes four hands at the same time! Believe me, this is just bliss.

This is synchronized by the two men or women working on you- like an art form, up and down the body meridians.

What are the benefits of daily self-massage?

According to the classical Sanskrit texts, one should see this art as “self-love” for your body. I will talk about the reasons for self-love and compassion in another blog and link this here.

Just before settling and write this blog this morning, I carried out my self-massage and feel so at ease now. It is windy, cold, and overcast where we live. Yes, even sunny Spain can have cold weather! So I carried out my self-massage with warm to hot oil (my body was craving hot oil today) and then after had a hot shower. I have to say it is such a delicious way to start my mornings. I feel so grounded and calm right now. It really has geared me up for the day.

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Sanskrit Sayings

In Ayurveda, we say carrying out this act with love and compassion to yourself really provides stability and comfort towards your body, mind, and soul.

All this is simply by the nature of touch.

This oil, chosen for your “dosha” type, passes through the body via the skin layers and penetrates the deeper layers of tissue, muscle, and bone.

A 15-20 minute massage is generally the suggested duration for the oil to reach the deepest layer and have a full effect.

You can of-course find a practitioner for this massage but there is more power when the act comes from within.

Below are just some of the known benefits:

  • Grounding the central nervous system, therefore, keeping you calm
  • Anchors for our busy lives 
  • Helps with insomnia and sleep disturbances
  • Nourishes the body and skin
  • Helps with the aging process and strengthens bones
  • Stimulates the lymphatic and circulatory systems
  • Massages internal organs leading to detoxification and cleansing
  • Reduces certain Ayurvedic “doshas” such as vata and pitta doshas

Who can benefit from oil massages?

<pstyle=”text-align: justify;”>From newborns to elderly, oil massages provide the perfect grounding and nourishing routine first thing in the morning or last thing at night.

When to avoid oil massages?

On a full stomach/ after eating

When there is “Ama” (toxins) in the body. This would be diagnosed by an Ayurvedic practitioner beforehand.

In general, it can be defined as feeling sluggish, heavy, lethargic, and possible thick white coat on the tongue.

When unwell with a fever/chills

During the menstrual cycle as this can stimulate a detoxification process, which your body is undergoing anyway by cleansing naturally.

During pregnancy – consult an Ayurvedic practitioner beforehand

Over swollen, painful areas or masses on the body

Rich oils are best to use?

Known as the “King of Oils”, cold-pressed/unrefined sesame oil is widely used in Ayurvedic treatments due to its nourishing qualities.

Excellent for balancing dryness seen in Vata conditions, sesame oil truly is an all-rounder due to its penetrating properties.

Suggested Ayurvedic self-care routine:

  • Place 1/2 cup of chosen oil in a glass jar and then into a pan/cup of hot water so it can be warmed.

  • Ensure the room is draught free and warm.
  • For more of an effective routine, the shower can be on to heat up the bathroom to create more of a steam room which will open the pores and allow the oil to penetrate further.
  • Apply the warm oil generously all over the body.
  • Massage the oil with long strokes on your arms and legs
  • Always work towards your back and abdomen.
  • Massage all joints with circular motions.
  • Massage the chest and abdomen in clockwise circular motions following the digestive tract route
  • upwards from the right-hand side of the abdomen, across the stomach area, and then down the left-hand side.
  • Massage the body for 15–20 minutes if possible, remembering you are bestowing love and care to your body.
  • If possible – massage the warm oil into your scalp, ears, and feet for a complete the abhyanga experience.
  • After, wash the oil off using a mild body wash and lightly towel dry.
  • Enjoy the grounding feeling of self-love imparted to yourself!


  1. Keep a special towel for drying off after your abhyanga because it will eventually get ruined, due to the accumulation of oil.

  2. Oily towels and linens are at risk of catching fire if they become too hot. If a towel is very oily, even after it is washed, it’s better to throw it away or hang dry.
  3. Pour a little environmentally friendly drain cleaner down your drain once a month along with hot water, which liquefies the oil, making it more likely to stick to the plumbing.
  4. Bear in mind of slippery surfaces post oiling so when you are done make sure the oil is washed away from floor surfaces – the last thing you need is to slip and hurt yourself.

Closing Thoughts:

Articles on Ayuvissa are for bringing awareness to healthy and balanced living and spreading the magic of Ayurveda. Please do not substitute for professional medical advice.

Always consult your own medical physician or an Ayurvedic doctor/ practitioner.

Disclosure: This is a medical professional review blog which does receive compensation for the products or services reviewed by Dr Johnson by the companies who produce them. All of the products and services are tested thoroughly.  We are an independent blogging site and the reviews are done based on our own opinions.