Daily Oil Massage (Abhyanga)


1. The complete oil massage usually takes 10-20 minutes, however it can be done in only 5 minutes by reducing the number of strokes in each position.  This is an adequate amount of time to spend on a routine basis and will give rewarding benefits if done regularly.

2. For another time saving technique, transfer 3-4 day supply of oil in to a small plastic flip top bottle (available in most drug stores).  Heat the bottle in the bathroom by placing it into a cup of hot water from the sink.  Let it sit for 1-2 minutes to warm up while you brush your teeth, etc.

3. Massage the head and neck first, than apply the oil to all parts of the body before you begin the rest of the massage.  This will allow the oil to be on the body for the maximum amount of time before taking your bath or shower.

4. Ideally, leave the oil on for up to 30 minutes after massaging before taking your bath or shower.  However, if time does not allow you to leave the oil on, you may bathe or shower immediately following the massage.

5. The oil massage may also be done in the evening, if it is not possible to do it in the morning.


1. In the morning heat about ¼cup of cured oil to slightly above body temperature.  The massage should be done with the palm of the hand rather than the fingertips.  Start by massaging the head.  Place a small amount of oil on the palms and begin to vigorously massage the scalp.  The head is said to be one of the most important parts to be emphasized during Ayurvedic daily massage, so spend proportionally more time on the head than on other parts of the body.

2. Next, apply oil gently to your face and outer part of your ears.  You do not need to massage these areas vigorously.

3. Massage both the front and back of your neck, and upper part of the spine.  You may want to now apply oil to your entire body before proceeding with the massage.

4. Next massage your arms.  The proper motion is back and forth over your bones and circular over your joints.  Massage both arms, and especially the hands and fingers.

5. A very gentle circular motion should be used over your heart.  Over the abdomen a gentle, clockwise circular motion should also be used.

6. Massage the back and spine.  There may be some areas that are more difficult to reach.

7. Massage the legs; like the arms, use a back and forth motion over the long bones and a circular motion over the joints.

8. Finally, massage the bottoms of your feet.  The feet are also considered important, so proportionally spend more time on them.  Use the palm of your hand and massage vigorously back and forth over the soles of the feet.


Usually a specific oil will be recommended to you.  If it has not, than sesame oil should be used for daily massage.  If you find sesame oil unsuitable in any way, you may use either olive oil or coconut oil.  To purify the oil, “cure it” by heating it to about 212 degrees Fahrenheit (100 C) the boiling point of water.  To cure the oil, add just one or two drops of water to the oil in the beginning.  You will know when the proper temperature has been reached when the drops of water sputter and pop.  You can cure about one quart or liter of oil at one time.  This will provide enough oil for at lest fifteen applications.

Please be aware that sesame and other oils are highly flammable.  For this reason they should be cured the following way.

  1. Always heat the oil on low heat, never on high heat,
  2. Oil should never be left unattended while heating.
  3. Once oil reaches the proper temperature remove it from the heat and store it in a safe place to cool.


Oil may tend to build up on towels and in the drain after some time of doing regular oil massage.  This can be prevented and treated the following ways.

Towels: Wash your towels separately in hot water using regular detergent plus ½ cup Arm Hammer Washing Soda.  For extremely oily towels add a full cup of Arm and Hammer Washing Soda.

WARNING: Oily towels are fire hazards and should be treated regularly in this way.  Use a medium or low temperatures when drying towels with a machine.

Drains: Biodegradable, non-corrosive drain cleaners are now available which consist of natural enzymes that consume hair and oil.  This is a very effective and environmentally safe method of keeping even old, narrow drains clear.  One of these brands is Draincare; it and others are available at local hardware stores.