Abhyanga is one of the consequential Ayurvedic procedures. It has again captured its central place amongst the way for healing, preventing diseases, and promoting health. It is the oldest of all techniques for relieving pain and shaping the organs, regenerating the tissue and correcting all internal functions.
Infant period is an extremely critical phase of life. This period is the foundation of adult human life. Infant care is therefore very important area of health practices and practiced across the world since ancient times of human civilization. The dramatic growth of infants during the first year of life (threefold increase in weight and a two-fold increase in length, milestone development) imposes unique care during this period. The rapid rates of growth are accompanied by marked developmental changes in organ function and composition, failure to provide adequate nourishment during this time is likely to have an adverse effect on growth as well as development. So, Ayurveda explained Abhyanga, a very delicate and sophisticated protocol for infants. Astangsamgraha has been quoted “Abhyangamacharetnityam” as the daily practice of the therapy evident to delay aging, cures tiredness and Vata disorders, improves vision, complexion, nourishes, lead to a healthy life, sound sleep, lustrous skin, etc.
All these benefits can be achieved due to the proper Dhatu Poshana by Abhyanga.
According to modern physiology, massage soothes the two master systems of the body, the nervous system, and the endocrine system.
Nervous and endocrine systems are seen as communication systems connecting all cells. The pleasure from touching is mediated through the limbic system which causes the secretion of hormones physically equivalent to health and happiness.
Massage or touching, from the perspective of modern physiology, has been found to increase the secretion of human growth hormone (HGH). The growth hormone is believed to speed up the movement of digested proteins (amino acids) out of the blood and into the cells, and this accelerates the cells anabolism (build-up of amino acids to form tissue proteins), hence this action promotes normal growth. It’s also responsible for increased protein synthesis and decreased oxidation of proteins. Growth hormone also affects fat and carbohydrate In fact; scientists now believe that HGH has a role in most healthy functions of the body, including sexual function, proper operation of stomach and bowels, liver, immune system, and all glandular systems.
Mode of Action of Abhyanga in Ayurveda :
Charaka advocated that Sparshanendriya (tactile sense organ) connects with the mind, gives rise to pleasure and pain experiences. sparsanendriyasamsparsahsparsomanasaeva ca dvividhahsukhaduhkhanamvedananampravartakah .
So, Abhyang is an important procedure to control the mind and normal physiology of the body.
Not only does massage help the baby to release the stress that builds daily from new experiences, but it also allows him to relax. Massaging a baby has been shown to encourage him to sleep deeper and for longer periods of time.
During (Abhyanga) massage, oxytocin is released in both the giver and receiver’s body. Oxytocin helps to provide us with loving, nurturing feelings which in turn help us to bond.
Ayurveda infant care protocols are very scientific; researchers of the present era prove the scientific background of all these procedures.
Abhyanga (Massage) is one of these protocols which include stimulation of circulatory and gastrointestinal systems, better weight gain, lesser stress behavior, positive effects on neurological and neuromata development, and infant-parent bonding, and improved sleep. With proper selection of oil and with certain precautions under medical supervision and advice one can practice Abhyanga from birth to infantile age without any harm which is the key message to the modern health world.
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