Finding The Best Ayurvedic Massage Oil For Your Dosha
10th Mar 2023
Oil massage is a traditional part of Dinacharya, a daily Ayurvedic wellness routine, creating space for you to balance the mind and body and bring a little Sneha, love, into your daily life.
In Sanskrit, Sneha is a word equally translated as “love” and “oil.” So, it’s no coincidence that in Ayurveda there exists a deep connection between the two.
Warm Ayurvedic oil massages that nourish the body, mind, and spirit are called Abhyanga and are known to restore and rejuvenate the body systems. Abhyanga can help balance all three doshas: Vata, Pitta, and Kapha, all year long.
This practice can be performed by a professional Ayurvedic practitioner, at home alone, or with a partner. For the best Abhyanga experience, you’ll want to choose oils that best support your body and unique constitution.
Why Your Ayurvedic Kapha Dosha Matters When Choosing a Massage Oil for Abhyanga
According to Ayurveda, the Kapha doshas embody certain qualities and characteristics of the mind and body. There are three doshas — Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. You can read more about the characteristics of each Kapha Dosha in our learn Section.
When selecting body and massage oils, considering your dosha is key. Each of us has one or two dominant doshas that can cue daily Ayurvedic practices and products we choose for ourselves. As you read on, you’ll learn about each dosha and the specialized oils used to support the mind and body. This will help you choose the oil that’s right for your dosha(s).
Nourishing Dry Vata Skin
Vata skin tends to be dry, thin, and slightly rough in texture. Vata skin can be prone to damage and pigmentation. You may have a Vata imbalance if you frequently experience headaches or insomnia.
Warming, heavy oils that nourish the skin are best for Vata dosha.
When practicing Abhyanga massage and cleansing the skin, the delicate nature of Vata must be taken into consideration. Take care, not to over-dry or over-exfoliate Vata skin.
Cooling Hot Pitta Skin
Heartburn, inflammation, and irritability are all signs of an imbalanced Pitta dosha. When it comes to massage, the Pitta dosha benefits from cooling oils that can balance excess heat. Additionally, hot and spicy foods are not advised for the Pitta dosha.
The skin of individuals with a dominant Pitta dosha is typically soft and sensitive. Redness, rashes, and acne may flare when this dosha experiences an imbalance or over-exposure to the sun.
Balancing Oily Kapha Skin
Kapha dosha skin types are prone to excess oil and large pores. In addition, Kapha individuals tend to be sleepy and lethargic, so selecting lightweight oils for Abhyanga massage is recommended. You can also simply use less oil and perform Abhyanga less often to support the Kapha-dominant body.
Enlarged pores, water retention, and cystic acne are common skin conditions experienced by Kapha individuals, who tend to have thick skin both figuratively and literally!
Herbal Massage Oils For Athletes And Post-Workout Recovery
Post-workout recovery can be achieved with cold therapy and Epsom salt baths, but why not add a rejuvenating Abhyanga oil massage to your recovery ritual?
- Bala Thailam Oil (Vata) contains the ingredient Guduchi which has been shown to have properties that support the body’s natural recovery phase after strenuous activity.
- Jambeera Thailam (Vata & Kapha) is a particularly soothing and warming oil that can be used after intense exercise or training.
- Mahanarayana Thailam (Tridoshic) is another great choice for every dosha and is infused with Bael, Shatavari, Ashwagandha, Turmeric, and Boerhavia which support recovery and healthy inflammatory responses.
Supporting Circulation And Sleep With Ayurvedic Oils
For Pitta and Vata individuals, healthy circulation and quality sleep often need special attention. If you’re looking to support blood flow to your lower body, in particular, you might choose Ksheerabala Thailam, traditionally a foot massage oil.
Ksheerabala Thailam is also a great choice for settling your nerves, reviving the mind-body connection, and supporting your body’s natural detox process. At the end of a long day, Balahatadi Keram can help support the release of tension in the head, temples, and scalp, and lull you to sleep.
Massage Oils For Revitalizing Joints and Supporting The Release of Muscle Tension
One of the most common reasons people get massages is to release tension from the body. With the sedentary and desk-based work so many of us do, it’s no wonder we hold a lot of stress and pressure in our bodies that don't always have a chance to release.
For those who sit for prolonged periods, Karpasasthyadi Thailam oil (Vata) is a blend of cotton seed, sesame seed oil, and organic cultured ghee formulated to ease deep tissue and help release built-up tension — particularly in the neck and upper back.
Dhanwantharam Thailam (Vata) is a blend of 28 full-spectrum herbs designed to soothe the body, support nervous system health, and bring vitality to the entire mind-body system.
Mahamasha Thailam (Vata) is another great massage oil choice, especially for soothing and relaxing the nerves and restoring the muscles.
And for those who travel a lot or experience pangs that extend from the lower back into the legs, Sahacharadi Thailam can support lower body wellness.
Supporting The Body Through Seasonal Shifts With Herbal Body Oils
When the seasons change, our bodies sometimes need a little extra help from our herbal allies to make the shift. Whether we’re recovering from illness, feeling fatigued, or just need to stay in step with our changing environment— an herbal body oil is a great way to support our body systems.
Pavan Oil (Vata) is a sesame oil-based blend perfect for a daily massage, infused with licorice, ashwagandha, arrowleaf sida, and turmeric. Karpooradi Thailam (Vata, Kapha) is a deep tissue massage oil for targeted application formulated with Camphor, an herb well known for cooling and clearing the nasal passages.
Mind and Body Rejuvenation With Ayurvedic Oils
Chandanadi Thailam (Pitta) and Balaswagandhadi Thailam (Vata) both contain adaptogenic herbs that bring rejuvenation and balance to the mind and body.
Mahachandanadi Thailam (Pitta) features a blend of botanicals to provide cooling stress support. And Tejas Oil (Pitta) is infused with calming, cooling herbs like Indian madder root, Indian frankincense, and Indian sarsaparilla.
When You’ve Chosen Your Oil, Here’s What’s Next!
In our article on Abhyanga massage, we covered how to safely heat your oil for Abhyanga and provided step-by-step instructions on how to give yourself or your partner a rejuvenating, nourishing full-body massage. Enjoy!