CSF Ayurvedic Massage
From the Far East to
the Near East, we see a similar yet different approach to healing.
Ayurveda focuses on the whole being, as does traditional Chinese
medicine, but this system is based on traditions found in Indian
Ayurveda uses diet, herbs, water therapy, massage, attitude training and behavior modification, detoxification regimens, and meditation along with other procedures to encourage restoration of the body to a condition of balance.
The goal of the procedures is to balance the three subtle element influences of air and space, fire and water, and earth and water. These subtle elements govern physiological functions and influence psychological states. These element influences are also described as the body's three fundamental energies, called doshas, the mind-body constitution called prakruti in Sanskrit.
The names of the doshas are Vata (air), Pitta (fire), and Kapha (earth). Health is a perfect balance of the three doshas and an equal balance of body, mind and soul or consciousness. Most individuals, however, have one of two doshas predominant and characteristics in all three categories.
Ayurveda is the art of
living in harmony with the laws of nature and encompass the entire life
of the individual. The aims of this science are to maintain the health
of a healthy person and to heal the disease of an unhealthy person. Both
maintenance and healing are carried out entirely by natural means.
In general, Vata people require oil massage more frequently than Pitta and Kapha types. Sesame oil is recommended for the Vata constitution, with sunflower or sandalwood oil for Pitta, and corn or calamus root oil for Kapha types. Vata and Pitta doshas need a lighter massage, while Kaphas require a heavier massage.
A classic Ayurvedic massage is given with the oil heated slightly above the body temperature for Vata and Kapha constitutions and slightly below body temperature for Pitta types. The oil must be heated to the correct temperature and up to a gallon of oil may be used for the procedure.
The massage begins by "drizzling" the appropriate heated oil onto the supine client's forehead. The oil continues to be "slowly dripped" over the rest of the face and then onto the neck and shoulders, arms and hands, torso, legs, and feet.
The next step is to massage the oil into the skin with the appropriate pressure for the individual's dosha on the front of the body in the same sequence as the oil is applied.
The massage continues prone in the same sequence of slowly dripping the heated oil on the back of the head, neck and shoulders, arms and hands, torso, legs and feet.
Again, the next step is to massage the oil into the skin with the appropriate pressure for the client's constitution on the back of the body in the same sequence as the oil is applied.
The final step in the massage is to rub the clients skin with graham flour to absorb the oil. The entire posterior of the body is done first, starting with the head and working down to the feet, and then the anterior of the body, starting with the face and working down to the feet. The individual is then given the opportunity to rest and relax on the massage table for five to ten minutes or longer. The massage is concluded with the client taking a shower to wash off the graham flour.
The Three Doshas
Structures in the body that represent the Three Doshas
Vata: Nervous system, bones, and tubular organs, especially the colon
Pitta: Eyes, skin liver, spleen, small intestine, and stomach
Kapha: Joints and synovial membranes
Mind-body Characteristics of the Three Doshas
Vata: Light thin frame and build
Tendency to dry skin and hair
Aversion to cold weather
Irregular hunger and digestion with a tendency to constipation
Tendency to have worry, anxiety and fear
Usually quick to learn new things and quick to forget
Pitta: Moderate build
Tendency to light skin and hair, moles, and freckles
Aversion to hot weather
Sharp hunger and strong digestion
Tendency to irritability and anger
Usually quick to learn new things and remember what seems neccesary
Kapha: Solid, stocky build
Oily, smooth skin with plentiful head of hair
Can endure climatic extremes easily
Slow digestion, including hunger
Tendency to complacency and possessiveness
Slow to grasp new information and slow to forget
This page and all its contents are © Copyright
Dr. Don Glassey, M.S.W., D.C., L.M.T.