• April 28, 2023
  • Natasha Gupta



On the days when your body is feeling tired and your mind needs to rejuvenate, nothing helps better than a hot oil massage. Unfortunately, massage is usually associated with costly spa visits and is considered a luxury only for special occasions. Honestly speaking, massage therapy isn’t something one has to enjoy only three or four times a year. Owing to our fast-paced lifestyles, it has become more of a necessity.

When we talk about massage, we only consider certain oils such as coconut, almond and olive. Another oil which isn’t a new entrant in the beauty and wellness space is sesame oil. It’s been around for centuries; however, it is very underrated. When used in its purest form, it has a host of benefits. In fact, sesame oil massage holds an eminent place in Ayurvedic therapy. Since it is suitable for all skin types, it is also used in Abhyanga.

What is Abhyanga?

Abhyanga is a Sanskrit term which means full-body Ayurvedic massage or self-massage. It is said to relax the mind, aid in pain relief, and boost overall fitness and well-being. Sesame oil is considered the traditional Abhyanga oil. In this Ayurvedic practice, the oil is usually warmed and mixed with herbs before massaging it on one’s body. Thanks to its healing nature, it is especially suited for pacifying the bodies of people who have excess Vata dosha. According to Ayurveda, Vata, Pitta, Kapha are the three main doshas. These elemental energies influence our mind and body. A good sesame oil massage can balance all these three doshas. It is also said to reduce stress, improve sleep and have a detoxifying effect on the body. This is one major reason it is used for oil pulling too.
Whether you use it for Abhyanga or oil pulling, make sure you get a 100% pure, cold-pressed sesame oil.

The Therapeutic Usage of Sesame Oil for Pain Relief

For years, sesame oil has been used to treat a number of health problems. It is used both internally as well as externally. Owing to its anti-inflammatory properties, it was also used in traditional Taiwanese medicine to treat joint pain, cuts, toothaches and more.
Topical application of sesame oil not just reduces pain severity but also loosens tight muscles. Sesame oil is also said to promote bone growth and speed up the healing process.
For pain relief, the application is simple. Take a little oil, apply it on the affected area and massage gently. Do this two times a day and you will notice a visible difference.
Besides this, adding sesame oil to your daily diet also has enormous benefits. It improves digestion, prevents infections, promotes nervous system health, reduces arthritis-related joint pain and nourishes the entire body.  

Tips to Use Sesame Oil for Self-Massage

A sesame oil massage should be a part of your routine every morning. Initially, you might find it a bit cumbersome but as you get used to it, you will realise that it only takes twenty minutes and fits your schedule perfectly. When practiced religiously, you will reap enormous benefits.
To perform Abhyanga, follow the directions given below:
  • It should be performed on an empty stomach in the morning.
  • In traditional massage therapy, oil is generally heated before use. The potency of the oil increases and also the body absorbs it better. Just like we cook our food for better digestibility, we heat our massage oil for better absorbability. When using sesame oil, there are two ways to go about it – you can either warm the oil or heat it thoroughly till it reaches 100°C. Allow the oil to cool before you start massaging it. This process is referred to as curing/ripening. When you follow a specific heating process, the sesame oil not just gets purified but your body too reaps maximum benefits.
  • You can also infuse with herbs namely Ashwagandha root, fenugreek or bala.
  • Apply the oil generously all over your body. Make sure you pay special attention to the joints. Sesame oil also helps loosen stiff muscles.
  • Once you’re done massaging the oil into deeper layers of your body, sit for a few minutes before you take a warm water shower. You can even take a warm towel and get the oil off before having a shower.  
While this is a morning routine, you should also cultivate the habit of massaging your feet at bedtime. When you apply sesame oil on your feet at night, muscle pain reduces significantly. It specially works wonders during winters as our feet tend to get cold often. Here are a few more benefits of massaging sesame oil on the feet:
  • Since massage calms the nerves, stress and anxiety reduces.
  • Blood circulation improves and you wake up feeling energised and not sluggish.
  • Helps one sleep better
  • Naturally cures cracked heels

Whether you’re looking for an oil for pain relief or for relaxation, sesame oil is a magic remedy. Since it has powerful antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties, it nourishes the muscles, bones and joints. The next time you’re getting a massage, make sure it’s with sesame oil. 

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