Ayurvedic Ghee - also known as Ghruta - is the most important fat in Ayurvedic medicine, according to Caraka Samhita. This unctuous nectar has earned that title because of its countless properties and uses, and the benefits of ghee massage are also innumerable.
Ghee or ghruta, when taken internally, can help restore vitality, balance the nervous system; nourish cells, promote healthy tissue formation, enkindle agni / the digestive fire, help create Ojas, and sooth the organs.
The benefits of ghee massage include nourishment of skin, cells, joints, muscles, nervous system and mind. The act of massage allows the lipids to penetrate the skin, reach the cells, tissues, as well as treating the nervous system. This in turn leads to a nourished, calm body and mind.
The Benefits of Ghee MassageThe word for the application of an unctuous or oily substance in Sanskrit is snehana. Snehana also means to cover in love. The internal fat of the body could be seen as a lovingly protective sheath for the organs. The skin is the largest organ of the body and whatever we put on it is essentially drunk by it. When we massage a substance into the skin with a healing intention, it becomes one of the most supportive, rejuvenating acts we can do for ourselves. When we perform Abhyanga massage with ghee we are also spreading a protective layer of comfort to our epidermis. This in turn is able to penetrate, providing unctuous nourishment deep into the body.
Ghee’s Ability to Penetrate the Skin and Reach Other Tissue Levels
How does the ghee get beneath the skin? I hear you ask. Well, one of qualities of ghee is its ability to penetrate the subtle channels. This is called sukshma in Sanskrit. It can pass through micro channels where other substances can not. (This is why it is drunk in preparation for Panca Karma, as it supports the pulling out ama and toxins from tiny spaces in preparation of this cleansing process).
Ghee is also cooling and nourishing, it builds up health and vitality. It is similar to Ojas in its qualities, and it helps build healthy Ojas. Ojas is the ultimate nectar of the body, manifesting itself as the sparkle in the eye and a radiant complexion. Where there is health there is Ojas, where there is disease there is no Ojas.
Feel Good FactorMassages release the feel-good chemicals into our blood stream (such as oxytocin, endorphins and dopamine), as well as decreasing cortisol. When one uses a superior medicinal Ayurvedic ghee or ghruta, they are also receiving the minerals and energies transmitted from the Holy Cow that was used to make this substance.
How to Use Ghee For Massage
- Heating the oil: take 2 desert spoons of ghee or ghruta, place in a small vessel that will fit into a mug. Put boiling water into the mug, and then the ghruta-filled vessel into that, so it heats up.
- Once it is a little warm and more liquid, either start at the base of the spine (the seat of vata), or the crown of the head with a loving gentle touch.
- Rub these areas, and then continue to rub and massage, using the oil as lubrication into the rest of the body.
- Don’t forget the ears, face, nose, feet, in between the toes, and soles of feet!
- Once you are fully covered in love and lubrication, rest a while while running a bath, then play some chilled music and get into the bath and let the ghee further penetrate by means of the warm water. This is like a mini home version of panca karma’s snehana / svedana routine!
By Selina Van Orden