Massage therapy is used in all ancient medicine systems for various benefits as a therapeutic procedure. Massages are extensively used in traditional medicine systems like Ayurveda, Chinese traditional medicine, Unani medicine and others. These procedures are gaining popularity because it is risk-free therapy and can prevent various diseases. Massages can be classified into two types depending upon the area of action. They can be full body massages, specific areas or a body part like a head massage, back massage, etc.

Ayurveda offers a variety of massage procedure. One of such massage is Udvartana (also called Lymphatic Ayurvedic Powder Massage or Herbal Powder Massage). This massage has various benefits but is mostly used in cases of Kapha Dosha.

What is Udvartana- Ayurvedic Powdered Lymphatic Massage?

Udvartana (Lymphatic Ayurvedic Powder Massage) is an ayurvedic massage technique used for lymphatic cleansing and reducing cellulite and retained water under the skin. In this massage, the body is rubbed with dry powder of herbs in the opposite direction of hairs.

The word Udwarthanam means upward movements (Urdhwa means upward and Varthanam means to move). Hence this makes Udvartana massage different from other massages as upward strokes and movements are used in this therapy.

It is also known as ayurvedic body scrub due to the use of an herbal mixture. This mixture is prepared with anti-obesity, anti-kapha and anti-cellulite properties of herbs. In a few cases, medicated oils depending on the needs of the client is added with the dry herbal powder.

Udvartana massage

Types of Udvartana Ayurvedic Massage

Udvartana mostly practiced without oil, but it can be further classified into two types depending upon the use of oil. The two types are:

  1. Oily Udvartana (Snigdh).
  2. Dry Udvartana (Ruksha).

Oily Udvartana powdered massage

In ayurvedic terminology, it is called Snigadh Udvartana, which means an herbal paste is used instead of dry powder, by adding a small amount of oil with the herbal powder.

A paste is made with medicated oils, is rubbed all over the body. Snigadh udvartana is mostly used for people with sensitive and dry skin who are intolerant to dry powder. Snigadh udvartana helps in exfoliating the skin and giving it a healthy glow by removing the toxins. This type is also used to prevent various skin diseases and for skin rejuvenation.

Conditions where we can use oily Udvartana

  1. Sensitive skin.
  2. Dry Skin.
  3. Where Kapha dosha has also blocked Vata dosha.
  4. Weak patient.
  5. Body pain, muscle pain or joint pain due to aggravation or blockage of vata.
  6. People with skin that lacks in glow and lustre.
  7. Patients with Vata Body Type.

Dry Udvartana powdered massage

In this type of udvartana, no oil is used. Only dry herbal powders are rubbed on the body. These dry and rough herbal powders are very effective in cellulite breakdown and help in curing condition like obesity. Dry udvartana is very useful in curing kapha dosha in people.

Conditions where we can use dry Udvartana

  • Oily skin.
  • Bad body odour.
  • Laziness.
  • Lethargy.
  • Obesity.
  • Excess Kapha Dosha.
  • For lymphatic cleansing.
  • Removal of AMAVISHA (cellular toxins).
  • Fatigue or physical dullness or sluggishness due to excess Kapha dosha.
  • Mental dullness due to AMAVISHA or excess kapha dosha.
  • To enhance nutrients circulation in the skin.
  • To reduce accumulated cellulite or water.
  • In high cholesterol levels.

Side Effects of Dry Udvartana

In a few people, dry Udvartana can also cause the following side effects:

  1. Rashes or skin abrasion.
  2. Skin inflammation – occurs if the skin is very sensitive.
  3. Excess dry skin – occurs in people with dry skin.

Contraindications of Dry Udvartana

Dry Udvartana is not suitable for the following people:

  • People with very sensitive skin type.
  • Allergic to herbs.
  • Eczema.
  • Psoriasis.
  • Open wounds.
  • Sunburn.
  • Skin inflammation due to an allergy.

The Procedure of Udvartana Massage

This massage is performed on the body below the neck avoiding head and face. The massage is carried out in seven positions. In Snigadh (oily) udvartana, the body is first massaged with oil starting from neck to toes. The powder is applied after the oil massage, which can be dry or mixed with recommended oil in a paste-like form. The paste is rubbed all over the body in upward direction i.e., from arms to shoulders, toes to thighs, lower back to neck and stomach to chest. In the abdomen region, the paste is rubbed in a circular motion around the umbilicus (navel).

In Ruksha (Dry) udvartan, the use of oil is avoided; only the dry powder is rubbed on the body. Rest all steps are the same as Snigadh udvartana. The pressure applied during the massage helps in breaking down the cellulite or retained water under the skin.

The massage is followed by a steam bath or a hot shower whichever is convenient for the client. For better results, a trained ayurvedic massager should be appointed for performing this therapy.

Udvartana Medicines

Medicated Oils

  • Dhanwantharam Oil.
  • Kottamchukkadi Oil.
  • Ksheerabala Oil.
  • Mahamasha Oil.
  • Mahanarayana Oil.
  • Prasarini Oil.
  • Sahacharadi Oil.
  • Saindhava Oil.
  • Triphala Oil.

Herbal Powders

  • Kolakulathadi Powder
  • Kottamchukkadi Choornam
  • Kulath Dal Powder
  • Triphala Powder

Benefits of Udvartana (Ayurvedic Powder Massage)

Udvartana

Udvartana

Here is a list of Udvartana benefits in different health conditions.

Body Detoxification

This therapy helps in eliminating toxins from the body and cleanses the skin. Thus, it detoxifies your body and reduces the common problem of bad body odour and excess sweating. It stimulates lymph drainage and improves its flow to different parts of the body.

Cellulite Breakdown and Obesity

This massage helps in weight loss and fighting against obesity. Massaging and rubbing dry herbal powder on the body helps in breaking down the cellulite accumulated under the skin. It acts as anti-kapha therapy, which liquefies the stored fats and promotes its removal from the skin. Along with other therapies, it induces proper fat absorption by increasing cellular metabolism thus helps in fat loss. Ayurvedic powder massage is ideal for toning loose skin on legs, thighs, legs and stomach. Even it is helpful in weight loss after childbirth.

Body Stiffness

This massage helps in removing stiffness in the body. Generally, stiffness and weakness occur due to two major causes:

  1. Vata aggravation.
  2. Excess Kapha.

In cases of excess kapha, patient experiences laziness, drowsiness and lack of desire to work. In this case, Dry Udvartana is highly useful. However, if it occurs due to Vata aggravation, oily Udvartana is useful. Oil pacifies vata and herbal powder eliminates blockage due to excess kapha and accumulated toxins.

It should be carried out on a regular basis for getting permanent benefits in body stiffness. Massage helps in opening pores on the skin for deep penetration of oils and herbs, which help in removing such muscular pains and stiffness.

Paralysis

Snigadh (oily) Udvartana helps in relieving from muscle stiffness and hence can be helpful in some cases of paralysis. Massage helps in stimulating and relaxing the brain and removes any kind of blockages in the nerves. Nerve blockage is one of the reasons for paralysis. Thus, in such case udvartana helps in recovering back the physical and nervine strength.

Detoxifies Lymphatic System

Udvartana is lymphatic restoration massage. It improves lymph circulations and cleans toxins out of the lymphatic system. According to ayurveda, lymph is primarily affected by AMA (cellular toxins). This massage helps in detoxifies the whole lymphatic system and eliminates the accumulated toxins by improving digestion and elimination of cellular toxins.

Recalibrate Endocrine System

According to ayurveda ama (toxins) accumulates in the body, which results in blockage of micro channels and affects the natural functions of the endocrine system. Along with internal medicine and panchakarma detox, Udvartana acts as supportive therapy in the removal of various toxins from the body and recalibrate the endocrine system. So, it helps in hormonal imbalances and polycystic ovarian syndrome as supportive therapy.

Healthy and Glowing Skin

Constant strokes used in udvartana help in exfoliating the skin. Hence it removes dead skin cells accumulated on the skin. The herbs used in the powder/paste provide nutrition to the skin and help in giving it a lustrous glow. Often nutrition problems show an effect on the skin and therefore, herbal massage helps in giving you beautiful and glowing.

Boosts Blood Circulation

Ayurvedic powder massage is performed externally but has a great effect on the internal components of the body like muscles, bones and nerves. Regular massages not only ensure a peaceful mind but also keep a check on the flow of blood in the entire body. It helps in removing any kind of blockages in the nerves and hence ensures smooth passage of blood and oxygen in all organs of the body.

Ayurvedic herbal powder massage

Necessary Precautions

All ayurvedic massage therapies including Udvartana are mostly safe but a few precautions are necessary before going under any such therapy. Make sure you talk to your practitioner regarding your body and various conditions suffered by you. Following are the general precautions one may follow before going in for herbal powder massage:

  • It is necessary to consult your ayurvedic practitioner prior to the treatment regarding your skin type. The use of oil and various medicinal herbs depend on the specific needs of the individual.
  • In case of dry skin, you should avoid going for Ruksha (dry) Udvartana as it may result in more skin dryness, itching and other side effects.
  • This therapy is not for pregnant women and children below the age of 10yrs.
  • During the therapy special care is to be taken in case of wounds, cuts, burns, rashes and other skin problems like eczema.
  • People with extra sensitive skin should consult the practitioner. Mostly snigadh udvartana is recommended for such person to avoid any side effects.
References
  1. Patil, V., Patil, S., Yadaiah, P., From 5th World Ayurveda Congress 2012 Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, India. 7-10 Dec 2012 (2012). PA01.10. Efficacy of abhyanga and udvartana in sthaulya w s r to hyperlipidaemia. Ancient Science of Life, 32(Suppl 1), S59. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3800939/
  2. Thakkar, J., Chaudhari, S., & Sarkar, P. K. (2011). Ritucharya: Answer to the lifestyle disorders. Ayu, 32(4), 466-71. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3361919/
  3. Patel B, Kamble SB, Vyas HA, Vyas MK, Chinthala R. Hypolipidemic effect of Rukshana Upakrama in the management of dyslipidemia – A case study. Ayu. 2018 Apr-Jun. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30783360
  4. Venkatappa, Vinayaka & Patil, Suchitra. (2014). Effect of Udvartana (Powder Massage) On Obesity. Journal of alternative and complementary medicine (New York, N.Y.). https://www.researchgate.net/publication/262146492
  5. Bhinde S. M. (2015). A case study on the Ayurvedic management of cerebral palsy. Ancient science of life, 34(3), 167-70. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4458908/