In Astanga-sangraha, the massage takes its name as “Avyanga”. This word is made up of “Avi+Anga” where Avi means whole and Anga means body. So the word Avyanga means whole body. It is clear that massage practice plays a very important role in Ayurvedaic therapeutics. It revitalizes the body organs and slows down the decay due to aging. There are many preventive and curative therapies in Ayurvedic massage. Besides therapeutic massage, there are different methods of massage for maintaining the equilibrium of the humors.
One should massage his body with good smelling (hot in winter and cold in summer) oil. Massage should be used to appease vitiated Vata and Pitta, to make body strong, hard and large, to make smooth skin, and, to make the joints better. It can be done when one is on mental stress, fatigue and on old stage. As cart is applied with grease for its better performance, one should massage for his good health and long life. It can be done in various abnormalities like lock jaw, torticollis, numbness and cracking of feet etc. Similarly, skin is (said to be one of the Indriya (sense organ) in Ayurveda) appropriate organ for massage as the location of Vata is skin. One should massage on his head, feet, hands everyday. It should not be used on Kapha vitiated person. (As.S 2/55-61).
Massage helps open all channels or Srotas (In Ayurveda, channels called as Srotas) in the body. Massage also improves circulation, which increases blood and lymph flow, supplying fresh oxygen to body tissues and bringing vitality and vigor. This can assist the elimination of waste products, speed healing after injury, and enhance recovery from disease.
Therapeutic massage can be used to promote general well-being and enhance self-esteem, while boosting the circulatory and immune systems to benefit blood pressure, circulation, muscle tone, digestion, and skin tone. It has been incorporated into many health systems, and different massage techniques have been developed and integrated into various complementary therapies.
There are five different kinds of massage.
1. Pressure and pressing massage.
2. Foot pressing massage.
3. Oil massage.
4. Head massage; and
5. Healing massage.