Ayurveda is one of oldest massage therapy techniques and it is still used today. In essence, Ayurveda is a traditional medicine system from the Indian Subcontinent.
It may come as a surprise but, even though this massage therapy has many benefits, there are not many places where it is practiced. There are quite a few reasons for this and one of the biggest is that not many people know about it.
In addition to the lack of awareness, Ayurveda massage therapy is quite complex. This is why not many massage therapists use it. The basic principle of an Ayurveda massage therapy revolves around the belief that the body has a natural balance. If the body is imbalanced, it could develop aches, pains and various other problems.
This is very similar to the traditional Chinese medicinal methods that are incorporated in the Acupressure massage technique. Acupressure is also based on the same belief.
Ayurveda medicine simply involves going about your daily activities in a certain manner to restore balance to the body. In addition to this, Ayurveda believes that pain in certain areas of the body could be an indicator of other problems in the body.
For instance, an aching forehead may indicate inflammation in the stomach. To cure the ailment, the area should be massaged. This may sound familiar to you if you are aware of trigger points and their relation to certain pain points in the human body.
Once the area is massaged and relaxed, the illness could be cured. This massage therapy technique is known to cure many types of diseases. Some of these diseases include, but are not limited to rheumatism, high or low blood pressure problems and in some cases, even paralysis.
In certain cases, Ayurveda massage therapy alone does not cure the ailment. The therapist also prescribes certain changes in routine along with other natural cures or medicines. Thus, an Ayurvedic lifestyle is truly a holistic approach to health and wellness.
How Does An Ayurveda Massage Therapist Work?
You will rarely notice an Ayurveda massage being carried out on a traditional massage table. This is because Ayurveda massage is a traditional technique and is usually conducted in the traditional fashion.
In many cases, an Ayurveda therapist will use a mat for the massage. But massage therapists who are more focused on the traditional methods will use a different type of mat. This mat has two separate layers.
The bottom layer is a futon mattress filled with cotton. To prevent the oils from spilling onto the mattress, another mat is placed on it. This mat is made from reeds. The reeds soak up the oil as it drips onto it, keeping the futon bellow clean and oil free. In some cases, depending upon the type of Ayurveda massage, a therapist may also use a massage chair.
However, the chair is only used if the client needs to be given a massage on the head, arms or shoulders. To provide a more traditional effect, clients may be asked to cross their legs and sit on the floor for a head and shoulder massage. Only if a client is not comfortable sitting like this is when the massage chair used instead.
Pressure Points in Ayurveda Massage Therapy
Similar to acupuncture massage therapy, the Ayurveda massage also has pressure points. However, the pressure points in the Ayurveda massage are quite different. These pressure points are called Indian pressure points or Marmas. According to Ayurveda, there are five essential elements of the human body.
These are ligaments, muscles, bones, joints and vessels. The pressure points in Ayurveda are believed to be the meeting points of these five elements with blood vessels. These blood vessels may be lymph, veins, nerves and arteries. To cure the body of a certain ailment these pressure points need to be triggered. In most known massage therapies, the pressure points are triggered using certain tools. However, Ayurveda does not use any such tools.
For the toxins to be eliminated from the body, the Marmas can be trigged by making a circular motion on it. This can be done with the middle or forefinger. In addition to this, the Ayurveda massage therapist also may also stimulate them further to restore the body’s balance. According to the principles of Ayurveda massage therapy there are 107 primary Marmas. Quite a few of the Marmas of Ayurveda therapy are the same as the ones used in Reflexology, and even Shiatsu.
Types of Oils Used In Ayurveda Massage Therapy
Much like some other massage therapy techniques, Ayurveda massage also uses oils. Oils are used because of the belief that rubbing the body dry might disturb the wind element. This, in turn, disturbs the gasses within the body. There are many types of oils that are used in Ayurveda massage therapy. If the therapist is performing a regular body massage, a combination of certain oils is used.
The oils used on women are different from that used on men. Moreover, the oil combination used for children is the same as the one used for women. To give an Ayurveda massage to women, the following oil combination is used.
- Sesame Oil, 4 cups
- Almond Oil, 2 tablespoons
- Wheat Germ Oil, 2 tablespoons
- Jasmine Oil, 2 tablespoons
The sesame oil is mixed with two tablespoons of each type of oil, and used to massage the client. But this combination is only used on women and children. There is a completely different mixing ratio for men. Even some of the oils used on men are different.
- Sesame Oil, 4 cups
- Mustard Oil, 2 tablespoons
- Turmeric Powder, 3 tablespoons
These oils cannot simply be mixed as is. The oils need to be prepared for the massage. First, the mustard oil has to be heated with half a teaspoon of asafetida, which is a digestive herb. Once the oil has been heated, it needs to be filtered. After filtering, turmeric power must be added to it and the oil has to be cooked until the turmeric becomes brown. Once the mustard oil is prepared this way, it is added to the sesame oil.
In addition to this, oils are also used individually depending on the type of massage being given to the client. Also, these are not the only formulas for mixing oils for Ayurveda massage. Depending on the purpose of the Ayurveda massage, the oil ratios, and the types of oil used, do change at times.
This type of massage therapy, though rare, is gradually gaining popularity. Many massage schools are teaching Ayurveda massage therapy these days. Moreover, there are many luxury massage spas that are currently offering this type of massage therapy (you can imagine given the heavy use of a variety of eccentric oils). The most common clients for Ayurveda massage are individuals who seek an alternative form of healthcare.
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