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Looking for an Ayurvedic Massage? Pick the one that best suits you

You may be thinking that Ayurvedic Massage Therapy is a relatively new concept but you would be shocked to know that many historians believe that its history dates back 6,000 BCE. The practices and techniques you are witnessing today have been present from the period of Indus Valley Civilisation.

With the changing times and with the changing requirements of people, many innovations have taken place in the Ayurvedic massage therapies which has just got better with time and has been modified constantly to meet people’s demands.

Following a holistic approach, it believes in taking an individual as a whole rather than distributing the parts. This therapy takes every factor into consideration which includes physical, mental, emotional, sociological and environmental factors and the method overall contains consumption of healthy oils and practicing yoga along with daily meditation.

Ayurvedic Massage Therapy is a customised and personalised treatment which includes essential oils which are usually herbal-infused along with strokes and kneading which is done according to a person’s requirement in a specified time period’.

Benefits of Ayurvedic Massage Therapy

It has n number of benefits which helps in relaxing and healing the entire body

  • Strengthens blood circulation
  • Detoxification
  • Toning of muscles
  • Healthier joints
  • Calming effect on brain – stress busting
  • Removing toxic impurities from the body
  • Increased mental alertness
  • Increased endurance levels
  • Better sleep cycle
  • Increases longevity
  • Strengthens vision
  • Increased radiance in skin – eliminating wrinkles and fine lines
  • Nourished hair – healthy, thick and shiny with better growth
  • Soothes sensory organs
  • Eliminating fatigue and lethargy

Various types of Ayurvedic Massages and their benefits

Ayurveda consists of many types of massages which are used based on the requirements and are only suitable for certain type of people. Each individual has a unique proportions and balance of ‘doshas’, body type and respective physical constitutes and hence, there is a variety of Ayurvedic oil massages with variety of herbal-infused Ayurvedic oils whose application is based on the body type.

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1. Abhyanga


The word ‘Abhyangam’ means towards the body and is a full body warm oil massage which helps in rejuvenating the mind and body. It is one of the best Ayurveda massages for strengthening overall physical and mental health.

On the day of the massage there are few things which needs to be kept in mind and should be completely avoided for a better experience and desired results starting with cold-water baths, ice-cream, sex, day time nap, alcohol, exposing to the sun and all sorts of exertion.

A form of self-massage it is beneficial for overall well-being and should be done on a daily basis. Not only does it balance your doshas, it helps in improving strength and having a more peaceful sleep.

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  • Abhyanga is generally performed in the morning hours before taking shower using suitable Ayurveda oil. The oil being used depends on the season and the body type. Usually, coconut oil is used during in summer and autumn and sesame oil for winter and spring.
  • Take a vessel and pour in a little quantity of suitable oil and place the vessel on a hot pan and once warm, it should be removed from pan.
  • You just need to dip in your fingertips into the warm oil and massage with it on the entire body. This further creates more heat which soothes and relaxes the muscles. Create up and down strokes and massage in circular motion on limbs and joints.
  • Use an Ayurveda herbal hair oil to massage the scalp and head for releasing tension and stress.
  • Time duration for this massage should be just for 15-20 minutes which is then followed by a warm water bath with Herbal Ubtan (Ayurvedic herbs and natural ingredients).

Benefits of Abhyanga

  • Helps in improving blood circulation
  • Helps in toning muscles and strengthening limbs and joints
  • Removes toxins and impurities from the body and stress from the mind
  • Helps in improving vision and sight
  • Helps in growth for little children
  • Helps in improving mental alertness
  • Helps in overall strengthening of physical and mental well-being

2. Shirodhara

shirodhara Treatment -

Shirodhara also called as ‘Shiro Pariseka’, according to the studies it has been considered as one of the best massages for nervous system and ENT related diseases. This massage actually leads to relaxation just as meditation. People suffering with issues like – mental disorders, chronic sinusitis, cerebrovascular diseases, ENT diseases, diseases related to nervous system, psoriasis and migraine headaches are advised to get Shirodhara done for improving the mental health.

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  • Two doctors are required for this treatment where one is required to oscillate the dhara vessel and the other to prepare the medicine.
  • Dhara Vessel is through which the herbal oil is poured on the forehead in a special pattern.
  • The vessel needs to be made of copper, wood or clay with the oil holding capacity of 3 litres and a 1 cm hole on the bottom.
  • The person is made to lie down in supine position and needs to close their eyes.
  • Then Ayurveda massage is done on the head and body.
  • The main aspect of this massage is that the oil continuously drips off from the dhara right at the centre and the middle of the forehead which is placed 3-4 inches above the patient’s forehead.
  • The duration is from 35-90 minutes and can be repeated for 3,7,14 or 21 days depending on the requirement.

Benefits of Shirodhara

  • It helps in reducing mental stress and soothing and calming of cranial nerves.
  • With the focus on the forehead, it helps in eliminating anxiety and increasing clarity and focus.
  • Highly helpful for people with Vata Dosha
  • Helps in improving sleep patterns and having a peaceful sleep
  • Overall beneficial for mental health

3. Pizhichil

Pizhichil: The Royal Massage | GlobalSpa - Beauty, Spa & Wellness

Pizhichil also known as ‘Kaya Seka’, ‘Taila Seka’ and ‘Sarvanga Sneha’ is a special kind of Ayurvedic treatment with innumerable benefits.

It is basically a combination of two Ayurvedic treatments known as the ‘Snehana’ (oil massage) and ‘Swedana’ (sweat inducing). The Ayurveda term translates to the meaning ‘squeezing’ which basically means that the warm medicated oil used is squeezed from a cloth dipped in it and to the the patient’s body. This massage is helpful for balancing Vata Dosha and the medicated oil used completely depends on the person’s health condition.


  • Pizhichil is done under the guidance of trained Ayurvedic physician.
  • The procedure involves lying down the patient and involves of pouring of warm herbal oil or ghee using ‘Kindi’ over the body for specified and fixed period of time.
  • The process also includes simultaneous massage which enhances the benefits.
  • The duration of the massage is from 60-90 minutes and can be performed everyday for 14 to 21 days again depending on the requirements.

Benefits of Pizhichil

With benefits of both oil and heat therapy, the benefits are innumerable which includes –

  • Helps in improving overall blood circulation
  • Helps in increasing immunity – keeping diseases away
  • Complete rejuvenation
  • Helps in healing the wounds faster especially fractured bones and aids in muscle development
  • Decreases anxiety to a great extent
  • Nourishes and increases the radiance of the skin
  • Diminishes and eliminates nervous system related weaknesses
  • Treats paralysis, arthritis and rheumatic diseases and even Parkinson’s disease
  • Helps in controlling diabetes, asthma and even tuberculosis

4. Garshana

Maharishi Ayurveda | Garshan Silk Gloves pair Large Pair

‘Ayurvedic Dry Brushing’ or ‘Garshana’ is one of a kind Ayurvedic practice which promotes lymphatic cleansing and removes ‘ama’ which is basically cellular waste products from the body. It is preferred to be an excellent practice during the spring season or the ‘Kapha’ time of the year.

People suffering from ama, fatigue, mental dullness, sluggishness, constipation or a low immune system should take up this practice. Preferable to be done in the morning, when the skin is dry and free of any lotion or oil, this should be performed under comfortable temperatures.

Though it is an excellent way through which all toxics can be removed from the body, people with specific skin related diseases, sensitive skin, open wounds, sunburn or allergies should avoid this practice.


  • Garshana is a light and vigorous massage where raw silk gloves are used
  • The massage is done using circular motion on the skin and lymph through which the flaky skin and dead skin cells are removed
  • The strokes should be directed towards the heart
  • Massage from hands to the shoulders
  • Massage from the feet in an upward direction till the neck
  • Use circular clockwise motion on stomach and the buttocks
  • Make sure to apply little pressure on the skin which is comparably thin and sensitive
  • After this, it is necessary to do Abhyanga in order to relax and bring back the balance and calm to the nervous system

Benefits of Garshana

  • It improves the skin structure making it more nourished and supple
  • It helps in natural detoxification
  • Removes Ama
  • Enhances lymphatic and overall circulation
  • It helps in stimulating blood flow

5. Udvartana

Udvartana Massage - The Benefits For Look an Awesome Skin!

Under ‘Udvartana’, no oils are used instead herbal or Ayurvedic powders are used for massage which is very beneficial for the ‘Kapha’ dosha. An Ayurvedic Expert can be of great help in this process as he can perform the massage better by massaging with special techniques and which will prove to be more beneficial.

This process is excellent for removing and evacuating poisons through the skin but is mainly recommended for removing excess cellulites and fats from under the skin.


  • An Ayurvedic or herbal powder’s paste is made and applied to the body specifically in the upward direction which means its applied an massaged on the entire body through upward strokes
  • With the upward motion, the fat gets condensed and gets eliminated and also helps in penetrating the paste deep inside the skin
  • The herbs used in this are Mustard, Gooseberry, Deodar, Horse Gram, Myrobalan, Belerica, and Phyllanthu which is further mixed with flour and grains
  • The duration of the massage if of 45 minutes which ensures good metabolism and detoxification

Benefits of Udvartana

  • Reduces stomach fat and normal fat accumulation
  • Helps in reducing inflammation of joints
  • Beneficial for treating of cellulite
  • Helps in restoring glow of the skin
  • Helps in tackling with diabetes, obesity and varicose veins
  • Helps with muscular dystrophy and paralysis

6. Elakizhi


Elakizhi or Patrapindasweda is a form of Sudation therapy in which ‘Ela’ or ‘Patra’ means ‘leaves’ and ‘Kizhi’ or ‘Pinda’ means ‘Bundle’.

This treatment consists of many plants with medicinal and Ayurvedic properties like Moringa (Drumstick), Tamarind, Castor Plant (Ricinus Communis) Pongamia Pinnata (Indian Beech) and Calotropis Gigantean (Crown Flower). This treatment proves to be beneficial for illness mainly related to bones and joints.


  • A Potli treatment process, the preparation starts with chopping the herbs and mixing them with rock salt. Later, these are warmed in sesame oil and tied up with a linen cloth.
  • The bundle (Kizhi) is then used for fomentation and pressed onto the areas for relieving pain and stiffness.
  • The illness related to bones and joints can be eliminated with this treatment as the oil instantly soothes the pain.
  • The duration of this treatment is from 30-40 minutes.

Benefits of Elakizhi

  • It mainly helps in relieving extreme pain and stiffness
  • Enhances skin complexion
  • Strengthens muscles
  • The herbs used in this treatment can be further beneficial for neurological disorders, arthritis and spondylosis.
  • These even have anti-aging properties and rejuvenating properties

7. Njavarakizhi

Ayurvedic treatment: What to expect in Njavarakizhi ...

People suffering from Blood borne diseases, spasticity, reduced mobility, rigidity, low back ache, sciatica, scoliosis, kyphosis, Perthe’s disease cervical myelopathy, hemiplegia, Arthritis and the conditions involving muscle dystrophy and emaciation should definitely be aware that ‘Njavarakizhi’ is an effective Ayurvedic treatment for them.

Njavarakizhi – Njavara in Malayalam stands for the indigenous rice which grows in 60 days and grows in Kerala having medicinal properties and Kizhi means bolus.

Performed by Kerala Ayurveda Physicians, in this procedure, any body part or even the whole body is made to perspire with the help of medicinal drugs along with Njavara rice puddings in the form of boluses closely tied in muslin cloth.


  • The patient is made to lie down and a good amount of medicinal oil is applied all over the body
  • The body is then massaged with the muslin bolus which consists of the Njavara rice cooked in herbal decotation
  • The boluses are then dipped in warm milk and herbal decotation which is then cooled down hence inducing sudation
  • This process is done in seven different postures
  • Once the process is completed, the rice paste on the body is gently removed with coconut leaves
  • Later, once again the massage is done with the medicated and the person is made to rest for 30 minutes
  • Duration of the treatment is 90 minutes

Benefits of Njavarakizhi

  • Firstly, it helps in eliminating stiffness
  • It helps in removing stress and calming the mind
  • Helps in boosting immunity
  • Helps in providing sound sleep
  • It nourishes and rejuvenates the body
  • Helps in sharpening and improving the functions of sense organs
  • Helps in balancing doshas and also improves blood circulation 

8. Panchakarma


Panchakarma a Sanskrit word means ‘Five Actions’ and it is an Ayurvedic Healing process and a Rejuvenating Detox which helps in cleaning the toxics in the body. For a good and sound health, it is important to maintain a strong digestive system and eliminate the unwanted toxics from the body. Panchakarma is a proven natural therapy that not only detoxifies but also helps in maintain the inner balance and vitality.

A five-fold therapy, this treatment gets customised depending on the individual and other factors such as age, digestive strength, immune system, doshic imbalances and the overall body type. People who have issues like fatigue, body aches, disturbed mind, bad breath or diarrhoea and constipation should take up this treatment.

Though a comfortable treatment, still an Ayurvedic Physician must be present for the successful execution of this treatment so there is a complete removal of toxics and no later discomforts.

The treatments given under this procedure are

  • Massage with warm oil (Abhyangam)
  • Herbal steam bath (Swedana)
  • Herbal enemas (Basti)
  • Lymphatic Massage
  • Nasal Administrations (Nasya)

Benefits of Panchakarma

  • Helps in removing toxins from the body
  • Helps in rebalancing doshas
  • Improved immunity
  • Helps in rejuvenation and anti-aging
  • Helps in having a strong digestive system
  • Aids in enhanced focus helping in meditation

9. Marma Therapy

Marma Therapy

Marma is a unique and vital therapy Ayurveda has to offer. The word ‘Marma’ comes from Sanskrit ‘Mrin Manarae’ and this therapy helps in maintaining health by cleansing blocked energy.

By definition, ‘A Marma point is the juncture on the body where two or more types of tissues meet which includes muscles, veins, ligaments, joints or even bones.

There are 107 Marma points and major Marma points correspond to the seven chakras whereas the minor points just radiates along the limbs and torso. They range in size from 1 to 6 inches in diameter.

These Chakras acts as the centre of energies in our body through which the energy flows. Each of the Chakra is vital and nourishes the body organs an when these are blocked, different illnesses takes place.

The Marma points cover both front and back of the body –

  • 22 on the lower extremities
  • 22 on the arms
  • 12 on the chest and stomach
  • 14 on the back
  • 37 on the head and neck


  • In Marma therapy, a light stimulation is done on the points
  • Through this stimulation, the blocked energies is released from the Marma points which gives instant physical relief and psychological relaxation
  • It is a powerful process, as the sensitive points open the channels of energy which are called ‘Srothas’
  • With the Marma points being gently pressed, it stimulates positive reactions

Benefits of Marma Therapy

Not only it has physical benefits, but it works at different levels and has emotional, psychological and spiritual benefits along with dramatic positive shifts in the body –

  • Helps in complete detoxification
  • Helps in relieving from acute and chronic pain
  • Helps in boosting immunity
  • Helps in creating positive effects and effective functioning at all levels
  • Helps in balancing the body temperature and doshas
  • Helps in nourishing and radiating the skin from the inside due to good blood circulation
  • It releases neuro-chemicals for improved functioning and good sleep

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Written by Sharmila Feroz

Sharmila Feroz is a graduate of versatile vocations who grew up in a military household which led her to travel to interesting and beautiful parts of the country. Penning those travel experiences paved her way into writing about ethnic lifestyle and cultural celebrations in India.

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