Abhyanga (Sanskrit: अभ्यंग or अभ्यङ्ग “Oil Massage”) is a form of Ayurvedic medicine that involves massage of the body with large amounts of warm oil. The oil is often pre-medicated with herbs for specific conditions. Abhyanga can be done as part of the steps of panchakarma therapy, especially in the first stage: Purva Karma (pre-treatment), or as its own therapy.
It is often followed by svedana therapy, a warm bath, yoga or laying out in the sun. Many times abhyanga is performed by two or more massage therapists working in sync but it can also be done by oneself. Oils used can vary depending on the season and the individuals constitution (prakrti) but commonly used oils include sesame, coconut, sunflower, mustard and almond. In addition to the oil abhyanga massage differs from many Western massage techniques in that it is not very deep.