Abhyanga: Self Massage

by Becca Reddy

 Abhyanga: Self Massage image

I LUV me!

Do you want to:

  • Look and feel younger?
  • Sleep better?
  • Calm your mind and energize your body?
  • Rejuvenate your mind-body system?
  • Have glowing, youthful skin?

Then I have one word for you: Abhyanga. Translated into English, it would be three words: self oil massage.

Just as cars need oil to run at their best, our bodies too need oil to nourish our largest organ—the skin.

My story

I suffered a near-fatal head injury back in 2003. Even though I survived the trauma, my system was soon thrown off balance. I struggled with insomnia, suffered from depression, had bouts of epilepsy and looked much older than I really was. I tried many remedies (natural and unnatural) to help my mind and body. Nothing really worked until I met Sage (Srinivas Reddy), who’s now my beloved husband. He turned me onto a simple Ayurvedic self-care technique called Abhyanga. And that changed everything for me.

Exactly what has it done for me?

I sleep much, much better than I used to—without medications. Actually, I sleep like a baby. What’s more, I need less sleep. I feel calmer and more grounded. My energy level has never been higher. My mind is more alert and I can focus better. No longer does it feel like I’m dragging my tired body through the day. Though I still love it, I rarely need coffee as a pick me up. My skin has never felt or looked better. I feel and look younger. And the best part? I’ve quit ALL those medications I used to take before I discovered this ancient procedure called Abhyanga. Granted, I do other things that compliment my oil-massage routine, it is still the core of my daily self-care ritual.

What exactly is Abhyanga?

Abhyanga is a Sanskrit word meaning self oil message. Abhyanga is a daily self oil massage that one does BEFORE a bath or shower. It is an ancient technique at the heart of Ayurveda, the science of health and healing from India. Now that I’ve experienced all these benefits of Abhhanya, I could never go a single day without it.

I’ve never cared for make-up or fussed with my hair. I always believed that if you don’t nourish your body from the inside, it’s like putting new siding on a crumbling building. Only problem was I didn’t know how to go about it… until Abhyanga.

Abhyanga inspires a daily rhythm of nourishing self-care. With a small amount of daily effort (and attention) you give your mind/body through this self-massage routine, the body’s natural beauty will come forth.

I know what you are thinking. “OK, great, but I don’t have the time.” I had the same objection, but guess what? My daily massage routine takes under half an hour, shower and all.

Truly, Abhyanga is a one size fits all proposition. It’ll balance, nourish and energize you no matter what your mind-body type or your skin type. Of course, because we’re each very unique, different body types need different oils. As do different seasons. Add a few drops of some essential oil to your “carrier” oil and you’re in heaven. Read my articles How to do Abhyanga and Healthy Skin Naturally and start today!

I wish you a abundance of health and self-love. Until next time,


Image Credit: lsxtra.co.uk

This post was written by...

has written 4 posts on Ask Sage.

Writer, energy-healer, blogger, poet, gardener, animal lover, home maker and wife to an adoring husband. Co-founder of Aikya Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to human happiness.

{ 26 comments… read them below or add one }

Sophia January 26, 2016 at 4:06 pm

I think I need to try Abhyanga. It sounds amazing. I often stay up late so my skin is really bad with dark circles. Hope that self massage could help me improve the look of my skin. Thanks for the share.


Jessica January 12, 2016 at 2:44 pm

What an inspirational and interesting story.
I’m a massage therapist and am well aware of all the benefits it offers. If you can massage yourself, this is great too.
This post has some interesting points, and has given me some things to think about. Great write up!
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cosmetic-training January 26, 2014 at 11:26 am

Funnily enough I had a massage last night – I must admit I prefer it when people massage me rather than self massage but I love the benefits of what massage can bring you and will definitely be looking into this – thanks for the share ! keep it up !!


Angie Blackwell August 18, 2013 at 10:07 pm

I often suggest self massage to my sports massage clients between sessions to speed up the recovery of their particular injury. However I haven’t till now encouraged the use of self massage for general Wellbeing and insomnia. Well done for bringing this to my attention. I will pass onto my clients. Thank you


Dr. George Suarez January 17, 2012 at 3:27 pm

Never heard about Abhyanga massage until now but I’m aware about the Indian yoga which has worked for many people in mysterious ways. Thanks for sharing with us about Abhyanga massage, I’ll look forward to find out more about this massage.


Becca January 19, 2012 at 6:43 am

Abhyanga is foundational to Ayurveda. Like yoga it focuses on bringing the awareness to the body. This  nourishes, revitalizes, and balances the entire body very gently. It is a simple yet powerful way to support your health. Do read my upcoming post for a How-to:)


Alan Cheng January 15, 2012 at 11:53 am

I too love massages. Especially since I can travel to China easily for a low-priced professional massage.

I have never heard of self oil massage though. Time to Google for more information :-)
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Becca January 17, 2012 at 4:46 am

You should read my coming post for a How-To as well. I would say an Abyange is just not the same as getting one from someone else, but it is a different kind of wonderful. It truly is a great feeling to nourishing yourself with self touch/love
Happy information gathering!


Stacy January 13, 2012 at 9:53 pm

Hi Rebecca,

I’ve never heard of that before and it sounds very interesting. I’m glad that it’s helping you. It sounds like you’ve been through quite an ordeal!

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Becca January 17, 2012 at 4:12 am

Abhyanga is one of those things from India gaining popularity again.  People in India as well as all over the world are discovering this age old wisdom!  It has tremendously helped me and I hope others can experience the same. Be sure to read my coming post for a How-To:)


Lilach Bullock January 13, 2012 at 10:52 am

Funnily enough I had a massage yesterday – I love massages! I must admit I prefer it when people massage me rather than self massage but I love the benefits of what massage can bring you and will definitely be looking into this – thanks for the share:)
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Rebecca Reddy January 13, 2012 at 11:48 am

If I had it my way(and unlimited money) I would have someone give me a message every day! This is a close second and it doubles as a self love practice for me. There is great info out there on Abhyanga and you should look for my next post to come (a how-to)! 


Sage Reddy January 13, 2012 at 9:59 am

I’m so happy to see you sharing your journey with others, dearest. Yours is a story that is nothing short of an inspiration for the rest of us. As you heal yourself, you become the healer. Love U :)
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Becca January 17, 2012 at 10:42 am

I don’t think I’d be brave enough to do this alone. Thank you dearest:)


Kostas January 12, 2012 at 5:17 pm

Hi Becca, I wish you all the best with your blogging adventure, about Abhyanga I haven’t really tried it but it sounds relaxing, thanks for sharing…
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Rebecca Reddy January 13, 2012 at 12:38 pm

Thank you Kostas for the well wishes! Abhyanga is a great way to relax also! I would recommend adding some lavender essential oil and performing it in the evening also.


Tisha January 11, 2012 at 8:30 pm

Hi Becca,
I can see that Sage and Abhyanga has been a real blessing to you. I am truly happy that you are well now and this sounds like a great product. I will definitely spread the word.
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Rebecca Reddy January 13, 2012 at 8:10 am

Thank you for reading. I am truly blessed and out of the blessing I hope to share the love and healing with others. My next post coming is more of a How-To I hope you find it helpful.


Lesa January 11, 2012 at 7:56 pm

Your story has inspired me to take a look at Abhyanga, and not just for me, but for my boyfriend as well Neither one of us sleeps well at night and it has a huge impact on our quality of life. If a simple self-care technique can make a difference, I’m willing to give it a try. Thanks for much for sharing (and welcome to the world of blogging)!
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Rebecca Reddy January 13, 2012 at 8:07 am

I’m glad you found this helpful! Thank you for the welcome. And look for my coming post for more instruction on a seld-Abhyanga:)


Nile January 11, 2012 at 1:50 pm

I might try this. Is there a specific way that the massage needs to be done for the best effect. I am studying kyusho in my karate dojo, which is the art of vital points. I know some things might not be good once you hit certain places on your body.

I was just curious.
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Rebecca Reddy January 13, 2012 at 7:27 am

Thanks for reading. As to your question, you should read my next post coming. And you want to be careful with any essential oils you use. My skin is quite sensitive so If I am in doubt, I just apply some mixture(of the carrier and essential oil) to my inner forearm and if it reacts I don’t use it. At first, just try messaging with the carrier oil only( sesame, coconut, or olive). I love the fragrance of them all alone!


Catarina January 10, 2012 at 4:03 pm

Ayurveda techinques are fantastic and sometimes work where medical science fails.

When I lived in Riyadh as a result of a sports injury I got an inflammation in a muscle that didn’t go away. Top doctors at the best hospitals in the Kingdom tried everything but they couldn’t get rid of the inflammation.

Found an ayurvedic clinic in Dubai and after coming for treatments during about a week the inflammation was gone and has never come back.

Could go on about the benefits of yoga and ayurvedic products for a long time, but I will leave it at that. Just one thing, you should try pranayama – the breathing techniques if you don’t practise them. They make wonders for your body and spirit.


Rebecca Reddy January 11, 2012 at 5:22 am

Thanks for reading. Ayurveda really is an amazing wisdom. I’m glad you have found relief with it. Most of the techniques like  paranayama that you mentioned have some amazing benefits and one can practice them with minimal monetary expense and  energy expense. We all can benefit from being more connected with our body and spirit.
To your health


Lou Barba January 10, 2012 at 3:53 pm

Hi Rebecca,

Congratulations on becoming a blogger!

It’s good to see that you found someone and something that helped you recover from your trauma. Sharing this information should help many other people with dry skin to come to a more normal condition. Good luck with your treatment and hope to see more of you in future posts.

Lou Barba
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Rebecca Reddy January 11, 2012 at 5:46 am

Thank you for the congratulations! Abhyanga is so fantastic I just couldn’t not share! I was pleasantly surprised when I discovered the many other benefits! Do watch for my follow up post on How-to:)
To you Lou!


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