Abhyanga (ah-bee-yanga) is one of many massage routines established by Ayurveda, the four thousand year old health system from India. Ayuveda says that a daily full-body massage (self or from another) is an important part of maintaining good health.

Traditionally the abhyanga involves two massage persons, one on either side of the table. Using warm sesame oil enhanced with herbal and floral essences, they perform like a ballet team, rubbing, stroking and massaging each side of the body in unison.

On the long limbs and open areas, the strokes are long. Over joints and marma points (body locations identical to acupuncture points) the rubbing is circular to stimulate and align body energy. If the opportunity ever presents, you really should have this ultimate in massage experience.

We know now that the skin, in response to being rubbed, creates interferon and interluken II, peptides which enhance the body’s immune system. While being massaged by another is nice, the skin also responds appropriately even when we give ourselves an abhyanga.