Nabhi Abhyanga: Ayurvedic Abdominal Massage

Often in holistic massage systems, the abdominal area is not given enough attention as the rest of the body. Sometimes, this area may be completely left out during a massage session.

In Ayurveda, the abdominal/stomach region is viewed very differently. Immense importance is given to this local area. It is here that Agni or the digestive fire lives. This digestive fire is responsible for the digestion of all food eaten and its conversion into nutrients. Stimulating this Agni is one of the most important aims in Ayurveda.

When the Agni or digestive fire is strong and healthy, no toxin or Ama is formed. It is this Ama that is responsible for all diseases and ailments in the body.

Just the way the earth revolves around the sun, in Ayurveda we believe that our lives revolve around our Agni or digestive fire. It is interesting to observe that we wake up when the sun wakes or rises up. We go to sleep when the sun goes to sleep or sets down. Likewise our digestive fire also wakes up and goes to sleep with the sun.

Ayurveda has gifted us five approaches to balance and maintain life. These five approaches can also be used to maintain a healthy Agni:

Food
Herbs
Massages
Yoga
Daily routine

Out of these five approaches, massages are the most commonly used tool.

Ayurveda says “Don’t put anything on your skin that you cannot put on your tongue because just the way everything that you put on your tongue gets absorbed and reaches different parts of your body so will everything that you put on your skin get absorbed to the deepest tissues like bones”

This can be very well explained according to modern medical view. As we all know, our body is made up of cells including all organs and the skin. There exists an inter-cellular space between cells including those of the skin. Any substance e.g. oil applied to the skin gets absorbed through these inter-cellular spaces and reaches the deepest tissues including bones.

Therefore massage is a very strong tool for maintaining health and curing ailments.

The abdominal massage routine in Ayurveda is called: Nabhi Abhyanga.

This massage directly helps to stimulate and regulate Agni.

Importance of the abdominal area or the navel region in Ayurveda (also called as Nabhi):

  •  Nabhi is a marma point or energy point behind the navel region.
  • Agni or the digestive fire resides or lives behind the navel region in the area of the small intestine.
  • Therefore Nabhi Abhyanga literally means massaging the Nabhi Marma point to help regulate the Agni.
  • According to the Chakra system, the Manipura Chakra is also located behind the navel region. The natural element that corresponds with this Chakra is fire.
  • According to modern medicine all the main digestive enzymes are produced by the small intestine which is also located just behind the navel region.
  • The navel region or Nabhi Marma point is the first and the only point of contact and source of food, water and air for the foetus while it lives in the mother’s womb for 9 months.

Bearing the above points in mind, Ayurveda gives immense importance to this region and says that this point or area should be nourished from the very first days of a baby’s life and this should be continued life long. Any massage given to this area including the whole abdomen helps to regulate the Agni which in turn supports a healthy life.

Nabhi Abhyanga is useful for the following imbalances:

  • Weight gain
  • Obesity
  • Under active thyroid
  • Diabetes
  • High cholesterol
  • IBS
  • Constipation
  • Flatulence and gases
  • Lethargy
  • Tiredness
  • Ama – related conditions

Nabhi Abhyanga is very commonly given to women in the post natal period as it also helps to strengthen the abdominal wall and prevents unnecessary weight gain during this period.

Nabhi Abhyanga can also be included as a part of any weight loss programs or packages.

Caution:

  • Excess heat in the body
  • Acidity/ ulcers

Abdominal massage is given in three positions:

  • The client lying prone on the back
  • The client turns and lies down on the right hand side
  • The client turns and lies down on left hand side.
  • Massaging in a sideward position helps to approach the internal organs easily as they tend to fall out towards the abdominal wall in this position.

Nabhi Abhyanga can be combined with other treatments to widen the treatment offers:

  • Nabhi Marma Abhyanga: Abominal massage with Marma Point therapy
  • Nabhi Udvartana: Abdominal herbal scrub massage
  • Nabhi Abhyanga and Lepa: Abdominal Massage with herbal mask or wrap application
  • Nabhi Abhyanga with Eranda Lepa: Abdominal Massage with Castor Oil Pack

Example of a simple weight loss program including Nabhi Abhyanga:

This routine is followed over a 6 week period.

  • An initial consultation and assessment of the client’s body type
  • Day 1:
    • Triphala 1 capsule and castor oil 1 table spoon in the evening before going to bed
  • Day 2:
    • Warm drinks and herbal drinks in the morning. Try and avoid any solid foods till 10am.
    • 10 or 11am: Nabhi Abhyanga
    • Plenty of warm drinks and ginger lemon tea for an hour after the massage.
    • Light lunch to be taken after an hour
    • Triphala, 1 capsule and castor oil, 1tablespoon again at bedtime.
  • The above sequence to be followed once every week for 5-6 weeks. This really helps towards gentle and yet effective and permanent weight loss.

It is strongly recommended that you consult a qualified Ayurvedic practitioner if you suffer from any ailments. The treatment protocol may change based on a person’s body constitution and disease.

Chyawanprash – Natural Ayurvedic Food Supplement

Regarded by many connoisseurs as the ultimate health supplement, Chyawanprash has been around for thousands of years. Chyawanprash is a traditional Ayurvedic herbal jam prepared according to an ancient Ayurvedic formula with multiple health benefits.
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Rasayana is a branch of Ayurveda which deals with all specialized approaches aimed at prolonging life, preventing aging and disease, elimination of all degenerative processes and promoting excellent health. Not only does Chyawanprash, as a formulation, find its place under this specialized subject but is foremost among all Rasayana formulations in Ayurveda.

Mythology:
Chyawanprash is named after a great sage called Chyawan who had become very old, but once more became young and strong by taking this preparation. According to the legend, Chyawan married a very young and beautiful princess. But he soon realized that he would become a burden to her and sought help from the celestial physicians. They worked on an herbal preparation that made him young and strong again.  Hence this herbal preparation was called Chyawanprash.

 Chyawanprash which has been used and treasured in India for thousands of years consists of forty seven ingredients out of which Amla (Emblica officinalis) or Indian Gooseberry is the main ingredient. Chyawanprash is well known as an immunity booster, antioxidant, rejuvenator, a great source of vitamin C and a very good energy provider. It is made from natural herbs, fruits and spices and has been the preferred antioxidant to fight free radicals in the body.

Ingredients:
The ingredients of Chyawanprash have been very scientifically divided into the following categories:

  • Pradhana Dravya (main ingredient): Amla (Emblica officianalis) or Indian gooseberry constitutes the main ingredient of the formulation.
  • Samsadhana Dravya (processing ingredients):  These ingredients helps to process the main ingredient i.e. Amla. Some examples are: Pippali (Long Pepper), Draksha (Vitis vinifera), Bala (Sida Cordifolia) etc.
  • Yamaka Dravya (ingredients as lipid media): This set of ingredients helps to treat Amla fruits. The process, which is also called lipophilization, helps to promote tissue penetration of the main ingredient. Clarified butter and sesame oil fall under this category.
  • Samvahaka Dravya (preservative ingredients):  This group of ingredients not only acts as a carrier for the main and supportive ingredients but also helps preserve the clinical efficacy of the main ingredient (Amla).
  • Prakshepa Dravya (flavoring ingredients): These ingredients are also termed as balancing drugs. They help balance the Doshas  and Dhatus (tissues) in the body. Herbs that fall under this category are saffron, cinnamon, pippali etc.

Indian Gooseberry:
Amla
or India Gooseberry, which is the main ingredient, is highly regarded for its health and nutritional benefits.
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  • Its juice contains almost 30 times as much vitamin C as orange juice. Its fruit contains moisture, proteins, minerals (calcium, phosphorous, iron, carotene, thiamine, riboflavin and vitamin C), fibers and carbohydrates and therefore a very effective antioxidant and rejuvenator.
  • It has been  mainly used as a Rasayana to prevent aging, and promote health to eyes and hair.
  • Its use is also recommended in heart diseases and other debilitating conditions.
  • It is also known to improve intelligence and memory.

Classical method of preparation:

All herbs that fall under the Samsadhana group are first changed into powder form and boiled to make a herbal decoction.

  • The fruits of Amla (Emblica officinalis) or Indian gooseberry are tied in a cloth to make a bag and suspended in the above decoction. As a result of this procedure the Amla fruits are softened.
  • The pulp of the fruit is separated from the seeds. This pulp is then fried in clarified butter and sesame oil (Yamaka group).
  • This fried pulp is then added to syrup of Samvahaka group.
  • Finally, ground ingredients from the Prakshepa group are added.
  • The whole procedure may take up to several days and the final product is a sweet sour tasting herbal tonic with a jam like consistency.

Benefits: 

Chyawanprash is used for preventive and therapeutic purposes. According to Charaka Samhita (the ancient ayurvedic text book for internal medicine) Chyawanprash is very beneficial in the following conditions:

  • Cough
  • Asthma
  • Pulmonary tuberculosis
  • Renal conditions
  • Chest diseases
  • Gout
  • Excessive thirst
  • Urinary disorders
  • Disorders of he reproductive system

Chyawanprash has been very thoroughly studied and has been labeled as the best antioxidant ever to be researched and used.

Digestion:

  • Chyawanprash helps promote digestion and relieve nausea.
  • Ingredients like Amla and cinnamon help to treat hyperacidity, flatulence and dyspepsia

Immune System:

  • Due to its high vitamin C content, Chyawanprash is well known to enhance the immune system and thereby reducing the incidence of common infections like cough, cold and fever.

Brain and heart:

  • Amla is a very good cardiac stimulant and helps in the smooth functioning of the heart.
  • Chyawanprash nourishes the brain cells and promotes intelligence and memory.
  • It also has a calming effect on the nervous system thereby aiding in stress relief.

Respiratory system:

  • Chyawanprash helps in the smooth functioning of the respiratory system by maintaining moisture balance and stimulating the metabolism.
  • It is very good to prevent coughs and colds.
  • It is also known to reduce symptoms of asthma.

Hair, skin, bones and teeth:

  • Chyawanprash helps improve skin complexion and prevent skin infections.
  •  It promotes hair growth and helps in calcium absorption and hence strengthening bones and teeth.

Chyawanprash as a liver tonic:

  • The presence of herbs like Bhumiamalaki (Phyllanthus niruri), Amla (Indian gooseberry), Punarnava (Boerhavia diffusa), Guduchi (Tinospora cordifolia) makes Chaywanprash a very good liver tonic.

Effects on Doshas:

  • Chyawanprash helps to balance all the three Doshas.
  • It has a marked effect on Kapha which governs the defense systems and plays a role in stabilization of all systems of the body.
  • This formulation is fit for all Dosha types and perhaps through all seasons of the year.

How to take Chyawanprash:

Chyawanprash has a sweet and sour taste and a jam like consistency. It is traditionally taken with milk once a day where by 1 table spoon is mixed in a cup of warm milk. It can also be taken on its own. Because of its jam like consistency it can also be taken as a bread spread on toast, crackers or bread.

In short, Chyawanprash is an Ayurvedic herbal tonic that is very high in vitamin C content and helps strengthen the immune system hence protecting the body from everyday infections like cough, fever and cold. It helps revitalize the mind and body and is the best health supplement to fight stress. It has beneficial qualities for all age groups and men and women alike. It is a must have foodstuff that is not only safe and good but tastes great too.

Dr Deepa’s Diary December 2014

With Christmas approaching, everyone is slowly getting into the festive spirit. Highlights of my life for the last month include varying interesting events.

Ayurveda Pura Open Evening
The evening which took place on 13th November was a great success. It was absolutely lovely to see some old faces and very exciting to meet some new lovely people. Here are some photos. We had people travelling from far distances to attend the evening. The atmosphere was absolutely exhilarating and exciting.

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Ayurveda Pura Meet Up Day
Something exciting for the New Year is an Ayurveda Day. This is to let everyone know that from next year onwards we will be organising Ayurveda Pura Meet Up Day which will take place once a year. The aim of this day is to bring many like minded people together and also to hold short talks and lectures for the attendees. And all these exciting events will take place from our very own Ayurveda Pura Health Spa in London.

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Deepa Apte On TV
Also I am very excited to let you all know that Zee TV, the famous and most watched Asian TV Channel Zee Companion have once again invited me as a guest on their

Show. The show is live and will be aired on 29th December 2014. So anyone with ZEE TV at home, do remember to watch it.

Also please don’t forget to look at our special offers for Christmas and New Year. Some very exciting offers including up to 50% discount on certain Spa Treatments

And while you are enjoying festive season, here is wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and a Very Happy New Year!