About the treatment
Mukha abhyanga is celebrated as the ‘Ayurvedic facelift’ and considered as the ultimate therapy for deep, luxurious relaxation for the mind and body. This nurturing, peaceful massage works with the subtle facial marmas (vital energy points) to cleanse, exfoliate, sculpt, tighten and tone the face. Light and warming medicated oils are carefully applied manipulating fine muscle release, boosting blood circulation and improving elasticity and suppleness. It generates fresh cell growth throughout the tissues to dispel stagnant toxins, emotional and physical blockages and create a glowing, smooth and radiant complexion. This treatment can be used for many different conditions or simply to intensify an ayurvedic rejuvenation programme.
This treatment can be amplified with marma therapy.
Abhyanga can be roughly translated as ‘oil massage.’ This comes from the sanskrit word ‘anga’ meaning movement and the prefix ‘abhi’ meaning ‘different, against or contrary.’ A synonym of the word is ‘abhyanjana’ meaning ‘to smear,’ ‘to anoint oil’ or ‘unctuousness’ (oily, greasy, soapy.)
Traditionally, abhyanga is one of the Dinacharya methods (daily practices) encouraged in ayurveda for maintaining optimal health. It is also used as a Purvakarma (essential pre-treatment) for ayurvedic Panchakarma and is considered a Bahya Snehana Therapy as it nourishes the senses of the mind and gives strength to the body. Sneha takes on many meanings such as ‘that which oils,’ ‘to be attached to’ and also ‘compassion, ’warmth’ and most notably ‘love.’
We all understand the significance of these qualities and how they affect us. Love is the foundation for all other emotions and creates positive energies and connections. We also understand the importance of connective touch – from our newborn beginnings we crave skin to skin contact and there is much research to prove that touch and a connection with our skin is essential for longevity and a happy, healthy life.
Skin is the largest organ of the body and as such plays a vital role in many of the dynamic processes that maintain homeostasis including elimination and immunity. During abhyanga, the internal fluids of the skin are massaged in specific patterns and worked through the tissues to dilute accumulated ama (toxins) and mobilise excess doshas towards the gastrointestinal tract for smooth elimination. Using a good amount of warm oils to reduce friction, this therapy also works on the nervous system. The rhythmical movements encourage the body to generate its own charge creating a calming, healing and rejuvenating effect.
Ayurveda recommends this therapy daily for many conditions and for overall wellbeing and a simple practice can be developed at home.
Marma therapy is often performed during abhyanga treatments to enhance its benefits. The science of Marma was originally part of the Vedic martial arts or Dhanur Veda, one of the four Upavedic scripts dating back to the same time and origins as ayurveda and yoga. It comes from the Sanskrit word ‘mri’ meaning ‘root’ and the suffix ‘manin’ meaning ‘seat of life’ and so together is understood as ‘secret’ or ‘essence’ and pertains to 108 particular, sensitive points in the body where there are intersections of veins, muscles, joints, ligaments or tendons. These points contain vital prana energy forces and as such, are more sensitive to injury than any other parts of the body. However, these fine ‘doorways’ into our inner pathways can be gently manipulated to sustain the flow of energy throughout the body. Marma therapy enhances immunity, clears emotional blockages, increases energy levels, provides pain relief and much more.
Mukha abhyanga has many benefits to include:
o Relaxing facial muscles reducing stress, anxiety or nervousness
o Improving skin tone and complexion
o Preventing sagging and wrinkles
o Removing ama (toxins)
o Lubricating facial joints
o Maintaining functioning of sense organs
o Boosting blood flow and cell regeneration
Mukha abhyanga is recommended for many disorders including:
o Facial palsy
o Stress, anxiety and nervousness
o Tinnitus and ringing of the ears
o Dizziness and vertigo
o Dysmenorrhea (painful periods)
o Scalp problems
o Hair changes, hair loss
o Parkinson’s disease
o Nervous system imbalances
o Neurological disorders
o Motor nerve disorders
o Ovarian cysts
Mukha abhyanga is not recommended under the following conditions:
• During the first three months of pregnancy (marma not to be used throughout pregnancy)
• Acute fever, chest or sinus congestion
• Open or bleeding wounds, healing scars or burns
• Active headache or migraine
• Fungal infections
• Tumours or swellings