Ayurvedic massage: what it is, technique, benefits, how much it costs, contraindications

Ayurvedic massage: what it is, technique, benefits, how much it costs, contraindications


Ayurvedic massage is a very ancient holistic technique that was born in India about 5000 years ago. It involves various manipulation techniques that serve to restore balance and well-being between mind and body.

It is performed by rubbing, pressing and gentle movements on the whole body or on specific areas. Oils are also used, chosen with the aim of rebalancing the three doshas, ​​i.e. the energies that influence the body.

According to Ayurvedic medicine, in fact, if these energies are not in balance, they can lead to various emotional and physical disturbances.

Through the stimulation of the chakras, i.e. the energy centers of the body, Ayurvedic massage therefore improves blood and lymphatic circulation, restoring harmony and promoting well-being and health.

Ayurvedic massage: what is it?

Ayurvedic massage involves various manipulation techniques with the aim of restoring psychophysical balance and ensuring the well-being of mind and body.

Born in India more than 5,000 years ago, it is one of the tools of Ayurveda, literally the science of longevity, traditional Indian medicine. It includes various treatments to rediscover harmony and balance and therefore to promote relaxation, improve circulation and to prevent or treat certain ailments. This is thanks to the stimulation of the chakras, i.e. the energy centers of the body.

It is a treatment based on rubbing, pressure and gentle movements on the whole body or on specific areas, thanks also to the use of essential oils. In this way, the Doshas are rebalanced, i.e. the main energies which, according to Ayurverda, govern our body:

  • Pitta.
  • Vata.
  • Kapha.

The balance between the Doshas is the basis of psycho-physical well-being and vitality. Diseases, or in any case emotional or physical disturbances, in fact, manifest themselves precisely when this balance is altered.

Therefore, through the stimulation of the chakras, Ayurvedic massage improves both blood and lymphatic circulation, to restore harmony, promoting well-being and health.

The choice of the type of massage also depends on the type of energy to be rebalanced and the disorder to be treated.

In general, the variants are divided into draining (Apatarpana) and nourishing (Santarpana) techniques.

Ayurveda massage can be applied all over the body or only in specific areas, for example:

  • Scalp.
  • Testa.
  • Neck.
  • Nape and forehead area or face.
  • Feet and legs.
  • Back and shoulders.

Vegetable oils are usually used enriched with essential oils or dried or powdered healing herbs with a draining, relaxing, soothing or anti-inflammatory action.

How long does it take and how to do it

An Ayurvedic massage can only be performed on specific areas such as the neck or legs, for example, or on the whole body. For this reason, the duration of the treatment can vary from 40 to 90 minutes. Furthermore, it is often accompanied by relaxing music and perfumes which stimulate the relaxing effect of the session.

In Ayurvedic medicine, the uniqueness of each person and their specific needs of the moment are taken into consideration. Therefore, it is important that an interview with the operator and a brief history are carried out before the massage. After a few questions and small pressures on the marma (the crossing points of muscles, nerves, blood vessels, bones, ligaments and joints), the masseur understands the psycho-physical characteristics of the person to be treated and establishes the most suitable techniques and oils.

The use of oils which soften the skin is also envisaged and are often enriched with essential oils or extracts of medicinal herbs which have a toning, draining and relaxing action.

Ayurvedic massage usually takes place on a normal bed and the operator can use his hands, arms, elbows or even feet.

The environment must be welcoming, with soft lighting and often with the diffusion of incense and perfumed essences. Sometimes there is also background music or Indian mantras that clear the mind and promote relaxation.

According to the different massage techniques, pressure, kneading and manipulations are performed.

What oil is used for Ayurvedic massage?

The oil, together with the manipulation, is the basis of the Ayurveda massage and its use has very ancient origins.

The most suitable oil is chosen based on the type of treatment and individual characteristics and which, when heated, can be applied to the whole body, including the head and hair. There are several oils used and chosen for the doshas to be rebalanced:

  • Vata. For the Vata skin type, moisturizing oils such as sesame, avocado or almond oils are used.
  • pitta. In this case the skin is more sensitive so oils with refreshing effects are used such as coconut, sunflower, castor or clarified butter.
  • Kapha. Stimulating oils such as those made from mustard seeds or lighter ones such as linseed, sunflower or rapeseed are used.

What is Ayurvedic massage for?

According to traditional Indian medicine, the human being is considered as a set of energies which must be balanced with each other in order to maintain health.

Illness is, in fact, for Ayurveda, the very manifestation of the imbalance between body, mind and spirit, while health and well-being depend on the harmony between physical, mental and emotional factors.

Ayurvedic medicine therefore has the objective of restoring the lost balance and, consequently, rediscovering psychophysical well-being and preventing and/or treating certain disorders to ensure health and longevity.

The manipulations of the massage in the different areas of the body, in fact, would favor the circulation of all the vital fluids to counteract:

  • Muscle tensions.
  • Stress and anxiety.
  • Insomnia.
  • Joint and neck pain.
  • Heachache.
  • Swelling in the limbs.
  • Cellulite, etc.

All benefits of Ayurvedic massage

When we talk about massage, a state of deep relaxation immediately comes to mind. But Ayurveda massage has many other health benefits, both physical and mental, such as the treatment, for example, of states of anxiety, agitation, stress and muscle and neck pain, sciatica and many others.

Although there is no scientific evidence on the effectiveness of this technique, it is probable that, as with other types of massage, Ayurvedic massage can also promote relaxation and improve circulation and, consequently, bring a whole series of benefits to the body .


It is a massage that stimulates circulation and promotes the elimination of toxins. Thus, during the manipulations, the internal organs receive more nourishment, relieving painful states and restoring energy.

Manipulation then leads to the release of joint pain and neck tension.

Promotes sleep

Thanks to the heat that comes from the massage, the aroma of the blended oils and the touch of the Ayurvedic operator, tensions melt away. For this reason it is an excellent treatment for those suffering from insomnia or other sleep disorders.

Helps to lose weight

It is a massage that promotes weight loss, helps eliminate toxins in the skin and stimulates the removal of waste from the body. If associated with regular physical activity, it is therefore an excellent ally for losing weight and for combating cellulite.


By eliminating toxins, it facilitates the functioning of the body, which also increases longevity.

Also, the Ayurvedic healing oils used for the manipulations are customized to restore energy balance. Indeed, according to Ayurveda, maintaining balance is the key to a long life.

They help the immune system

Ayurvedic massages, if performed with a certain regularity, also have a preventive function. The different massage techniques, as well as the application of therapeutic oils, stimulate the production of antibodies.

They also help drain the lymphatic system to detoxify the body.

Types of Ayurvedic massage

It serves to rebalance the energy flow and to do so it uses various manipulation techniques. They are performed on the whole body or on specific areas such as the neck, legs, back or head. Let’s see the main ones.


Balances Vata and Pitta energies. It is often used as a synonym for Ayurvedic massage, but in reality it is only one of the treatments available. Warm oil is used all over the body to detoxify and restore general well-being.

It is a method that includes different massage techniques, manipulations and applications. Deeply relaxes, fortifies the mind and spirit, rejuvenates the body, fights stress, releases tension and stiffness.


It is a specific Ayurvedic treatment for the head and restores the harmony between Pitta and Vata. Contrasts hair loss, dandruff, alopecia and is even useful for insomnia.

In the Ayurvedic tradition the head is of great importance because it is considered an instrument of communication with all the sense organs. The best oil to use is cold-pressed coconut oil, which is refreshing and nourishing.

If you are interested in the topic, discover our in-depth study on coconut oil.

Griva Abhyanga

It is a specific massage for the neck and shoulders and is indicated for muscle contractures and pains, especially in the neck area, states of fatigue, tension from mental and postural stress and headaches.

According to Ayurveda, neck massage is particularly beneficial, as it favors the passage of information on a physical, mental and energy level.

You will understand

Reconciling of the three doshas, ​​but especially Vata. She massages her face to improve skin health. Relieves tiredness, fights wrinkles, nourishes the skin and purifies it by freeing it from impurities, oxygenates the tissues and is very…