Oil Therapy which involves usage of various Ayurvedic oils form an essential part of Ayurvedic treatment. Oil therapy, is in particular, used for treating Vata disorders. However, it is also used for treating diseases related to nervous system, bones and tissues and is also beneficial for other doshas.
Abhyanga, a massage procedure which involves the use of Ayurvedic oils, is a part of the Panchakarma treatment, and plays a major role in Ayurvedic therapies. Apart from the basic moisturizing and nourishing, Ayurvedic oils transfer their qualities to the body on psychological and physiological levels. In addition to serving as an antidote to addictions, stress, overindulgence and fatigue, an ayurvedic oil massage forms a medium of transport for the subtle properties of herbs to reach the body tissues.
Shirodhara and Pizhichil are the other unique and ancient Ayurvedic therapies that are gaining popularity in Spas and health resorts. Shirodhara involves pouring of warm oil in a rhythmic, continuous manner on the forehead helps in alleviating mental stress, Vata imbalance, improves memory, prevents insomnia, relieves stress and increases circulation in the brain. Similarly Pizichil is a treatment meant for the whole body.
Ayurvedic oils are in other words referred to as medicated oils or herbal oils and when these are either consumed, or massaged in combination with coconut, castor or sesame oils, they are easily digested, and contribute to numerous healing properties. The Ayurvedic oils derived from bitter herbs helps in expelling toxins, oils from astringent herbs enhance cellular secretions, aromatic and pungent herbal oils remove any possible obstructions in the tissues and oils extracted from sweet herbs strengthen and nourish the tissues. Oils derived from herbs which do not fall into any said categories, has direct impact on specific parts of the body. Each oil helps in providing a specific benefit for a particular condition and body constitution.
For todays health-conscious people, a self-massage with Ayurvedic oils are an important part of their daily routine. The oil is heated so that it is slightly higher than the room temperature and is applied in gentle strokes either to the specific area or the entire body, as required. The oil is left on for an hour and then washed off. Ayurveda recommends a steam treatment or hot bath, which magnifies the effect of the massage.
However, when Ayurvedic oils and massages are used for treating a specific body condition or health condition, it is advisable to get the massage done through trained professionals as the manner in which the massage is done, is equally important for its effectiveness.