The Truth about Ayurvedic Massage and Ayurvedic Massage Oils

The Truth about Ayurvedic Massage and Ayurvedic Massage Oils


            A lot of attention has developed recently about the quality of oils used in Ayurvedic massage here in Brasil. This is good that people are becoming more aware of Ayurvedic massage methods and products. There are numerous courses of “Ayurvedic Massage” being given currently and many advertisements for Ayurvedic massage.

What I would like to present here is a basic understanding of what a person should expect when receiving an Ayurvedic massage.

            First there are basically two types of Ayurvedic massage. Ayhyanga and Shodhana.

Abyhanga is divided in to two types…Self massage and Abyhanga massage received from the hands of another person.

            Ayhyanga self-massage is a necessary and fundamental part of an Ayurvedic lifestyle and an important adjunct to ones yoga practice. It is easy and very beneficial.

You start on the top of the head and work your way down your body. It is a gentle application of oil to the body using long rapid strokes and circular motion on your joints, hips, and the heart/chest region.  The oil needs a little time to penetrate and then can be washed off. A good time to do this is just before you take your shower. It is best to use the oil that is most appropriate for your general / physical constitution. Vatas people do best with sesame oil. Pittas respond well to coconut oil based Brahmi oil, and Kaphas who have generally oily skin can use a LITTLE mustard oil.  What most people do here in Brasil to improve the oil and the smell is to add some drops of essential oil to these base oils…. Lavender is good for Vata;  Rose for Pitas and Cedar for Kaphas… other oils can be added to customize the oil for the individual…. That is all there is to It.!!! 

            What most people receive when they go to a massage therapist here in Brasil is Ayhyanga from the hands of another person.  Traditionally this is done in India by two or four massage therapists. Two people working on opposite sides of the person working in a coordinated and rhythmical fashion…. Actually this is what I call TOURIST MASSAGE.

            It is not really clinical massage therapy unless the two persons making the massage are of opposite genders (man and woman) and have extensive pranayama training and experience. To be clinical massage therapy using two people the objective is to balance the energetic polarities of the person receiving the massage. The man works on the feminine side of the patient and the woman works on the masculine side. It is still application of oil. And remember it is the oil which does all of the true healing. The people making the massage are just a delivery system.  It has some advantages over self Abyhanga in that they can work on your back where it is difficult for on to reach.


            If you are going to receive an “Ayurvedic massage” here are some things you should look for.

            1.) Does the “therapist take your pulse and examine your tongue”?

If they do not, this shows you that they do not bother to determine your dosha (you energetic constitution) and you imbalance (what you need from this treatment).  Also it is important for the therapist to determine the correct oil to use for you….THIS IS FUNDAMENTAL AYURVEDA!!!!

            2.) Do they use medicated (herbal) oils or just base oils? Or do they use base oils with essential oils?  You should ask what oils they are using and why. 

            3.)  What quality of Oil do they use? Is pure medicated herbal oil or is it diluted. How is it refined? What brand of essential oils are they adding? Many low quality essential oils sold in Brasil are artificial or so diluted that they are useless. 

            4.) If it is only one person making the Abyhanga for you then you can really only expect it to be a relaxation session that includes oils. This is ok if it is what you want but it is in no way clinical Ayurvedic massage. Some people with many years of yogic pranayama training and experience have mastered the technique of making alternate nose pranayama without their hands and can move from left to right side and change their polarities( and their breathing) … this is rare but possible. The training for this is a minimum of two years with three hours of practice per day. To date none of my Brasilian students have mastered this method.

            The other category of Ayurvedic massage is Shodhana or purification massage.

This method is used in Pancha Karma detoxification and clinically is made by four massage therapists while they are supervised by and Ayurvedic Doctor. (See the photo included in this article). Within this modality are many types of preparations and only medicated herbal oils are used. In the ashrams of India the oils are made from freshly harvested plants with the greatest concentration of Prana. The plants are harvested satvically while making mantras by persons who don’t have the extremes of pollution in their lives like the people who make commercial oils.  The medical and Pancha karma clinics of India can be of either type (comercial or satvic).  The hotels that cater to tourists use the lowest quality oils… they tend to dilute and reuse their oils also.  One needs to be on the look out for these downfalls in Brasil also.



            It is difficult to import Ayurvedic Products into Brasil for some reason…The result is that many forms of Ayurvedic massage are not much better than the TOURIST massage of India.  It has been popular to mis-name some Ayurvedic oils here. For instance many people call herbal oil made with the plant Cintillia Asiatia, “Brahmi Oil”.  Cintillia Asiatia is not Brahmi. It is Guto Kola. BRAHMI is BACOPIA MONIERIA.   It does not grow in Brasil. Also when herbs are imported into Brasil they are often quite old and weak and therefore low in Prana.  To make decent medicated oil one needs three to four times as much herb as when one makes it with fresh plants. The Cintillia Asiatia that is sold here usually comes from China and is grey in color. The plant should be GREEN. Brahmi oil should be green!!!!!!!!!  I have an old jar of Brahmi oil  from India that I brought with me when I came to Brasil in 1997. It is still very green and has a strong aroma. I use it as the standard when I make medicated oil.  It some times takes 300 grams of herb to make an adequate liter of Brahmi oil here .  Don’t forget the mantras while making medicated oil also if you want to try for yourself.

            Since the easiest option for beginning students is to add essential oils to their massage oils, I have begun to sell to them the best and purest essential oils I can find. These oils are sold by the milliliter…at a discount for students.  We have costly oils like Rose Absolute and Jasmine Absolute and Sandalwood… And Medium priced oils like Lavender, Tulsi, Clary Sage, Spike Lavender, Khus, Heena and Frankincense . You can contact us for current prices.   

            I teach students and encourage them to make medicated oils…For those who cannot or don’t like to, I make and sell most of the more common medicated oils…The list is in the website.

            Certain oils are imposable to make here because the herbs are imposable to obtain. Mahanarayan oil is one of these. It is made with over 50 herbs and has a fermentation period of many months. The sellers of this oil often dilute it with sesame oil to save money. The way you can know if it is reasonable quality is that the color should be dark red almost black like blood. Also one drop of it will stain cloth. (Don’t worry; you can wash it out later). It is instant pain relief

We have a limited promotional price for 60ml. of Maanarayan oil for R$ 50,00

The ingredients of Mananarayan oil are listed below:

Sesame Seed oil (Sesamum Indicum),                                  Bilwa (Aegle Marmelos),
Ashwagandha (Withania Somnifera),                                  Kanta Kari (Solanum Indicum),
Gokshura (Tribulus Terrestris),                                          Shyonak tvak (Oroxylum indicum), 
Bala (Sida Cardifolia),                                                             Neem (Azadirachta Indica),
Kantakari (Solanum xanthocarpum),                                   Purnarnava (Boerhaavia Diffusa), 
Atibala (Abutilon indicum),                                                    Agnimantha (Premna Intgrifolia),  
Prasarani (Clerodendrum  Phlomidus),                               Patal Twak (Sterospermum suaveolens), 
Gaudugdh (Cow milk),                                                            Shatawari (Asparagus Racemosus), 
Rasna (Pluchea lanceolata),                                                   Mishreya (Fowniculum Vulgare), 
Devadaru (Cedrus Deodara),                                                  Kushth (Saussurea lappa), 
Shalaparni (Desmodium Fenfeticum),                                  Prishni parni (Urarua Picta), 
Mudgaparni (Phaseolus Trilobus),                                      Agaru (aquilaria Agallocha), 
Nagkeshar (Mesua Ferrea),                                                    Saindhav lavan (rock salt), 
Jatamansi (Nardostachys  Jatamansi),                                 Turmeric (Curcuma longa), 
Daruharidra (Curcuma Zedoaria),                                        Shailja (Parmelia peralta), 
Sandalwood (Santalum album),                                             Pushkarmool (Inula racemosa), 
Ela (elettaria Cardamomum),                                                 Manjistha (Rubia Cardifolia), 
YastiMadhu ( Glycyrrhiza glabra),                                       Tagar (Valeriana Wallichi), 
Musta (Cyperus rotundus),                                                     Tejpatra (Cinnamomum tamala), 
Rishabhaka (Microstylis walichi),                                        Bringraj (Eclipta alba), 
Jiwak (Microstyllis muscifera),                                            Kakili (lillium polyphylum), 
Kshir Kakoli (Fritillaria roylie),                                           Riddhi (Habenaria intermedia), 
Vriddhi Habenaria  intermedia),                                           Haphusa (Juniperus communis), 
Vacha (Acorus calamus),                                                        Palash (Butea monosperma), 
Sthauneya (substitute tarcus leaccata),                               Choraka (Angelica Glauca), 
Kapoor (Camphor),                                                                  Kumkuma (Crocus satuvus).

The Ayurvedic Institute of Brasil
Tel: 51 99836.1663

Rua Montinelle, 46, Lomba De Pinkiero
Viamao RS
Brasil 94400-000
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