Abhyanga is Sanskrit term loosely translated to mean glow on limbs.  It is ancient oil

massage treatment which traditionally means anointing body with oil.  Abhyanga is normally done with warm oil starting with soles of feet and working upto head.

Sneha in Sanskrit means unctousness and love. Oil is also alternately termed as sneha. Oil is lubricating, smooth, heavy and most of all has grounding effect on body and mind.  When warm oil is applied on body it gives one luxurious relaxed feeling immediately.   Ayurveda suggests one do abhyanga everyday or every few days.  

Self- abhyanga does not have to be a big production. You need 15 mins before shower to apply oil on your body. Leave it on for 5 mins and wash it off using scrub and light soap.

If abhyanga on whole body is not possible regularly, applying oil on feet, ears and head is very essential to keep body and mind calm, stable and energetic. Abhyanga is treatment that primarily works on pacifying Vata dosha (read more on doshas in my ‘Concept of Doshas’ blog page). A balanced Vata means focused and balanced Self.

According to scripture Ashtanga Hrudaya (Sutrasthan 2/8-9) many benefits of Abhyanga have been listed, some of them are:

  1. Slows down aging and promotes longevity

  2. Reduces stress and fatigue

  3. Tones body and skin

  4. Maintains smooth, supple, soft and glowing skin

  5. Creates good muscle tone.

  6. Keeps mind calm and relaxed and you get ultra refreshed feeling after abhyanga.

Swedana means inducing sweat. It is either dry or wet. After abhyanga wet steam is recommended to open pores of skin to allow oil to penetrate deeper. Steam is administered in either personal steam cabinet or one can sit in sauna. After self-abhyanga shower helps to open pores.


  • Best time for abhyanga is anytime in the day making sure you don’t do it right after heavy meal. Light meal before abhyanga is alright. Avoid late evening of night abhyanga as you don’t want to refresh your body and mind at this time.

  • Abhyanga is not suitable when you are menstruating or in the first trimester of pregnancy.

  • Abhyanga should be avoided if you are sick.