Ayurveda and Massage
"Massage is something that you can start learning but you never finish it.
It goes on and on, and the experience becomes continuosly deeper and deeper, and higher and higher.
Massage is one of the most subtle arts - and it's not only a question of expertise. It is more a question of love...
Learn the technique - then forget it. Then just 'feel' and move by feeling.
When you learn deeply, ninety percent of the work is done by love, ten percent by the technique.
By just the very touch - a loving conscious touch, something relaxes the body.
If you love and feel compassion for the other person and feel the ultimate value of him;
if you don't treat him as if he is a mechanism to be put right, but an energy of tremendous value;
if you are grateful that he trusts you and allows you to play with his energy -
then by and by you will feel as if you are playing on an organ.
The whole body becomes the keys of the organ and you can feel that a harmony is created inside the body.
Not only will the person be helped, but you also..." (Osho)
Ayurveda, 'the science of life or living' is a comprehensive system of holistic health care that originated in India several thousand years ago. It considers mind, body and spirit as an integrated whole and aims to guide us to live a healthier and more balanced lifestyle and to restore health according to our unique and individual constitutional make up (prakriti). Ayurveda developed from the observation of nature and its laws and it’s based on nature’s five great elements, the panchamabutas: earth, water, fire, air and ether/space. So at the heart of Ayurveda lies our intimate connection to the elements in Nature and how they can help us to achieve a physical, mental and spiritual balance in all aspects of our lives. We are a mirror of Nature. ‘Everything that exits in the Macrocosmos (Nature) exists in the Microcosmos (human beings)’
Ayurveda focuses on prevention of disease and optimisation of vitality rather than on cure and uses a combination of nutrition, massage, meditation and yoga practice, herbs, detoxification and tonification practices to bring about health.
Massage in particularly is praised as a daily practice to promote good health and longevity. This is well explained by the following pasage from the Charaka Samita, one of the most ancient and authoritative textbooks of Ayurveda:
'The body of one who uses oil massage regularly
does not become affected much even if subjected
to accidental injuries or streanous work.
By using oil massage daily,
a person is endowed with pleasant touch, trimmed body parts
and becomes strong, charming and least affected by old age.'
Ayurveda sees massage as a type of passive exercise: 'For people unable to exercise, massage is an excellent alternative for enhancing the growth and development of the body. And for the young and energetic people who are busy practising the martial arts, massage is a must. The muscular strain acquired during workout sessions can only be relieved by massage. It refreshes the muscles, bringing them back to their original shape.' (Harish Johari, Ayurvedic Massage). Thus Ayurvedic massage is also a great complement to your yoga practice or any other form of exercise.
Ayurvedic massage is a key to good health if practiced on a regular basis, whether is self-massage or massage given by a qualified therapist. It involves the use of warm oil to rejuvenate the body cells: massage helps opening up the skin pores and even removing the dead cells from the body, allowing the skin to feel fresh and relaxed. Through a body massage, the skin which is the largest organ in the body performs its functions more effectively by releasing toxins and providing nourishment to the tissues. Massage oil is chosen according to the season and the individual body constitution (prakriti). Sesame oil is considered to be good for a massage all the year long and to be generally suitable for any body constitution - although other oils can be used too (such as coconut, sunflower or olive oil).
Ayurvedic massage has many benefits:
- is cleansing and detoxifying
- improves circulation
- boosts the immune system
- restore the body's energy levels
- reduces stress, anxiety, exhaustion
- balances emotions and the mind
- promotes feelings of peace and calm
- nourishes the body
- extends the life span
- provides good sleep
- improves skin tone
- improves vision
- helps with chronic pain and to achieve better physical stability
Massage, especially when received, makes you feel cared for and nurtured
and it is always a rejuvenating and relaxing experience.