Origin of Ayurvedic massage
Ayurvedic massage, also called abhyanga, is an integral part of Ayurveda, the traditional indian medicine, just like yoga, herbal medicine, aromatherapy or Ayurvedic dietetics. From Sanskrit ayur (life) and veda (science or knowledge), the term ayurveda therefore means “knowledge of life or longevity”.
Much more than a health system, the ayurvedic medicine is in India an art of living in its own right, intended to provide the best possible maintenance for all of our body and mind. Massage is considered an essential body therapy for the daily hygiene of life. Daily massage of the baby and its mother over a long period of time is common in post-natal care. Children are also encouraged from a young age to massage other family members.
In France, Ayurvedic massage is not considered as a therapeutic massage but as a a simple tool for well-being, rest and relaxation.
Principle of Ayurvedic massage
Ayurveda considers that the infinitely small (human being, molecules) is governed according to the same principles as the infinitely large (planets, galaxies). By observing nature, the Indian Sages discovered five elements: ether (or space), air, fire, water and earth. They deduced that these states of matter, present in nature, were also present in humans.
In humans, these five elements constitute three doshas or biological moods (dosha vata, dosha pitta, dosha kapha) whose combination is unique for each individual. When these three doshas are balanced, the individual is in good health. On the other hand, an imbalance can lead to disease.
the ayurvedic massage works mainly on the harmonization of the five forms of vata and prana to rebalance the disturbed doshas.
- The vata is one of the biological humors present in humans. It symbolizes the force of space and air which governs five biological movements (metabolic rhythms): heart rate, intracellular exchanges, respiration, elimination of toxins and the sympathetic nervous system. This force travels through the large intestine, bladder, bones, skin, ears, and thighs.
- Prana symbolizes the intelligence of life or the fundamental force at work in any healing process.
Why consult an Ayurvedic masseur-relaxologist?
In France, Ayurvedic massage is practiced for its relaxation and well-being dimension. Practitioners recommend it for:
- improve blood and lymphatic circulation and thus participate in the elimination of toxins;
- tone and relax muscle tissue ;
- preserve and nourish tissues of the skin thanks to the oil used during the massage;
- increase your immune system in general;
- regain consciousness of his body.
Ayurvedic massage is performed on a massage table or on the floor. The patient is generally covered with a sheet which is used to gradually discover the parts to be massaged. Each massage is individualized according to the predominance of the client’s doshas and imbalances.
- The vata (air) type person : the massage will be slow, enveloping, regular and rooting with a warm and nourishing oil to pacify and reassure the person.
- The pitta (fire) type person: the massage will be stimulating, fast and deep in a warm atmosphere. The oil will be used in less quantity for a more refreshing massage.
- The kapha (water) type person : dry massage or with very little oil will be very stimulating in order to reactivate the lymphatic system and revitalize the whole body subject to lethargy.
Depending on the imbalances, different types of massages are used: the energy massage of the whole body, the massage of the head or the feet with oil, as well as the massages, energetic or not, carried out with dry plants reduced to powder, cereal or legume flour, cloth bags filled with rice or plants, etc.
Pressing, sweeping, tapping, rubbing… the various techniques are mainly performed with the hands, palms, elbows and forearms.
Contraindications to Ayurvedic massage
Massages in general are contraindicated in the following cases:
- skin inflammation,
- dermatological disorders,
- of tears
- and fractures.
In the event of serious illnesses or cancers, massages are not always recommended. Check with your doctor for approval.
he is also not recommended to massage after surgery recent (less than three months) or when the body contains too many toxins. Massages are contraindicated for people with fever or heart problems.
The massage session always begins on a Ayurvedic checkup to determine your native constitution (the original combination of your doshas) and your state of imbalance.
The assessment revolves around observation, touch and questioning:
- examination of the pulse, tongue, eyes, skin and nails;
- information on your lifestyle, the state of your digestion and elimination (stool, urine, sweat), your diet, your sleep, your mental and emotional functioning;
- taking into account your medical history.
At the end of this assessment, the practitioner determines the most suitable massage depending on the dominance of your dosha (vata for air, pitta for fire, kapha for water). In order to facilitate the evacuation of toxins, it is advisable to drink hot water after an Ayurvedic massage.
Ayurvedic massage is not a recognized therapeutic practice and taught as such in French medical or physiotherapy faculties. The advice given in Ayurvedic medicine do not in any way replace medical treatment appropriate for your illness.
Some private institutes award degrees in Ayurvedic after one to four years of study which includes the study of Ayurvedic massage. These training courses are not officially recognized by the French state.
It is therefore recommended to choose your practitioner from the directory of a recognized professional association, for example the Ayurveda association in France.
Duration and price of an Ayurvedic massage
A one-hour Ayurvedic massage costs between 50 and 100 euros, not reimbursable by Social Security or complementary mutuals.