About the treatment
Nabhi abhyanga is a purifying and toning therapy to stimulate and strengthen the abdominal area to improve deepana, pachana and anulomana (digestion, assimilation and elimination) and balance agni (our digestive fire.) The significance of the nabhi or ‘navel’ is universally understood as the point of entry of life, our origin of existence and the unspoken connection to our mother. And as such, is vulnerability to imbalances caused by emotional or physical trauma that can affect the entire physiology. During this treatment, soothing and nourishing warm medicated oils are gently massaged into the navel and surrounding abdomen from all angles releasing old energies and allowing fresh prana in to create overall wellbeing. Nabhi abhyanga is tridoshic and is effective alongside diet and lifestyle regimes as part of a fertility, post-natal or women’s health 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.
Nabhi abhyanga has many benefits to include:
o Alleviating digestive problems, bloating, constipation, IBS etc.
o Strengthening abdominal muscles
o Aids in weight loss and water retention in the abdominal area
o Aids in detoxification
o Helpful as part of a fertility or post-natal programme
o Boosting circulation
Nabhi abhyanga is recommended for many disorders including:
o Ama (toxins in the body)
o Weight gain
o Fluid retention
o Abdominal bloating
o High cholesterol
o Uterine fibroids
o Ovarian cysts
o Dysmenorrhea (painful periods)
o Post epidural
o Systemic candida
o Low blood pressure
o Weak circulation
o Lymphoma (fat tumours)
o Underactive thyroid
o Post-natal problems (abdomen wall and uterus)
o Male and female infertility
Nabhi abhyanga is not recommended under the following conditions
• During pregnancy
• During menstruation
• History of menorrhagia (heavy periods)
• History of headaches and migraines
• Hyper acidity or heartburn
• Gastric/duodenum ulcers
• Irritability or anger
• High blood pressure
• Overactive thyroid
• Tinnitus or ringing in the ears
• Open or bleeding wounds, healing scars or burns
• Spontaneous bleeding
• After spending excess time in direct sunlight
• Directly after a heavy meal or when very hungry
• Less than 8 weeks after surgery