Ayurveda is an ancient healing system that is being practiced in India for more than 3000 years. Ayurveda comes from two Sanskrit words "ayu" which means life and "veda" which means knowledge. Its main objective is to promote good health. The foundations of Ayurveda are based on the belief that the five elements, composed of ether, air, water, earth, and fire, forms the building blocks of the Tridosha, the three doshas or energies – Vata (wind), Pitta (bile) and Kapha (mucous) that makes up the chemical nature of the body. Illnesses or diseases may arise when there is an imbalance in the energy flow.
Ayurvedic massage follows the principles of Ayurveda and is used to help in breaking down and elimination of toxins from the physical and subtle bodies. The toxins are referred as "Ama" and is believed to be the waste products that have been held inside the body. The longer the Ama remains in the body, the more difficult it can be removed. Aches and pains are also believed to be blocking the flow of Vata energy in the body.
Ayurvedic massage releases the obstructions and stagnations to the balanced flow of the doshas using the warmth brought by the rubbing strokes and steam. Also, the therapeutic effect of herbs and essential oils help in stimulating the energy flow in the body. Various types of strokes and techniques will be used on the client depending on the nature of the energy being worked on.
Similar to acupuncture, Ayurveda uses a system of trigger points called Marma points in releasing the built up tension and improve the flow of lymph and blood in the body. Depending on the treatment’s purpose, the massage will be finished with an energizing wash or scrub with herbal preparation.
There are several health benefits that can be gained after an ayurvedic massage.
The strokes from the Ayurvedic massage vary from superficial to deep. There are three types of strokes – active (involves strong pressure), passive (involves delicate stroking) and persuasive (involves pinching or kneading the muscles with the forefinger and thumb).
Before the session, the therapist meditates and may recite a prayer to properly focus his or her energy. Then, the therapist synchronises his or her breathing with the client to maintain a deep interconnection which creates a relaxing yet enlivening disposition. This in turn bring about a sense of whole-body integration and alignment to the client.