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Getting a massage is one of the most relaxing experiences out there, especially when you have had a tough week and just need to unwind. But did you know that this practice known as Abhayangam in Ayurveda actually has a number of health benefits? What's more, is the fact that this form of massage is practiced widely in India and is used for both adults and kids. Here are 15 health benefits of the practice.
Improves blood circulation:Vaidya Vandana Dhir, Patanjali Yogpeeth, Haridwar says, 'When a massage is performed your muscles and body are twisted, patted and the different hand movements of the technician help stimulate the surface of your skin -- leading to production of heat which in turn massages the nerve and blood vessels under the skin -- which help improve blood circulation.' So getting a massages helps get that blood pumping which in itself has a number of great health benefits like improving the texture of your skin, better elimination of toxins and proper functioning of internal organs. Apart from that, the heat produced is also known to help improve metabolism.
Increases flexibility: Vaidya Vandana says that when a person's body is massaged with precise pressure applied on their muscles, it helps tone your muscles by stretching them and improving their functioning. Apart from this massage performed for an extended period of time helps reduce flab and gives your muscles more tone.
Improves your mood and can beat depression: Your body contains 30 pressure points on the soles of your feet and palms that are related to various organs. Apart from that, you have 7 reflex centres that are related to the glands of the neck, head, reproductive organs, pancreas, kidneys and liver. When performed a massage also helps on the release of certain hormones that calm your mind, relieve stress and help keep depression at bay.
Beats body pain: A massage feels perfect when you are aching all over. This is because if done properly it helps beat body pain. Due to its action on the muscles and nerves of your body a massage helps relieve mild to moderate body ache. Apart from this the increased blood circulation, release of hormones and secretions that help make you relaxed also help beat pain. Vaidya Vandana says that if after a massage a person experience pain relief but it recurs, it needs medical attention. Here are reasons for constant body pain that you might not know about.
Gets rid of dead skin and dirt effectively: When you rub oil on your body or a technician does it for you, the oil helps get rid of dirt and dead skin especially in those areas that are prone to its buildup, especially places like your navel, behind the ears and knees. Not only does this help you stay clean and infection free but it also brighten up your skin and gets rid of any tanning.
Helps your nerves become healthier: During Abhayangam, your body is pressed, patted and the muscles are massaged. But another effect of this, is that the nerves beneath your skin are stimulated and therefore help work better. What's more is that according to Ayurvedic texts this helps your senses sharpen and makes your mind more focused.
Keeps you healthy: Massaging the head, nose, navel, rectum, hands, wrists and the soles of the feet have reflex points that help activate certain secretary glands making them function properly, helps in the release of certain hormones and calm nerve endings. Since the practice also increases blood circulation and calms you down mentally an oil massage is the best way to stay healthy. To add to this, it is also a great form of exercise (if you perform it yourself) and is therefore is great for your health.
Improves heart health: Points on your right palm and sole have the reflex centre of the heart. Applying gentle yet regular pressure on this point helps improve the functioning of your heart and stay healthy. There are other ways to keep your heart healthy naturally too, here are a few.
Keeps your stomach healthy: Abhayangam involves the massage of the stomach and lower abdomen as well. This massage runs along the large intestine, liver and spleen and pays special attention to your navel. All this movement helps relieve gas, ensures proper secretion of gastric juices and the proper functioning of the liver and spleen. The only precaution one should take is to be gentle as these organs are delicate.
Beats the symptoms of sinusitis and cold: Massaging your face, nose and the area around your eyes helps relieve the symptoms of sinusitis and cold. In a professional Ayurvedic set up your doctor may even instill a few drops of medicated oil in your nostrils to help with the symptoms. You may also like to read about instant home remedies to get rid of cold and cough.
Can help improve eyesight and relieve eye strain: Massaging the area on the side of your head and around the eyes helps improve eyesight, beat a headache and eye strain. So if you have had a long day staring at a computer screen then this kind of massage is perfect for you.
Keeps your skin healthy: According to Vaidya Vandana the kind of facial massage that is a part of Abhayangam, is great to prevent pimples and beat dryness on the face. Apart from that it also prevents the onset of wrinkles, pigmentation and signs of sun damage. You can also try some yoga poses for naturally glowing skin.
Gets rid of stretch marks: Getting regular massages helps get rid of stretch marks. This is because the oil when massaged over the skin permeates the top layers and moisturises it. Apart from that it also helps stimulate the production on melatonin which can help banish stretch marks. Apart from a regular massage, there are other natural remedies to get rid of stretch marks, here are a few.
Helps get rid of toxins from the body: During a massage since your blood circulation is improved it helps in the elimination of toxins from your body. Also, since Abhayangam also helps improve the functioning of your sweat glands and kidneys, the practice helps in the proper functioning of the elimination system of your body. You must remember that getting one massage will not show results but getting them regularly, over a period of time will help in the elimination of toxins.
Aids in better and deeper sleep at night: This is one of the best benefits of this practice. When your entire body is relaxed, including your mind and muscles you are more likely to sleep better. If lack of sleep is a common problem you face, here are some yoga poses that can help you sleep better.
Image source: Getty Images
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