Udvartana is a treatment in Ayurveda in which herbal paste or dry herbal powder is massaged over the body. In this therapy, herbal powders or pastes are being used. Especially, the rubbing during massage goes in the opposite direction of hair follicles as compared to conventional massage.
Meaning of Udvartana
The word Udvartana is a Sanskrit (an Indian language) word. Udvartana is also called as Urdhwarthanam. It is a combination of two words (Urdhwa + Varthanam) the word Urdhwa refers to upward and the other word Varthanam means to move. Thus it means to move something in an upward movement.
It is done as a preparatory procedure before oil therapies in a Panchakarma procedure. Udvartana is a therapy in Ayurveda to treat obesity by shedding excess body weight. It is a part of Dinacharya (a daily healthy regimen). The best time for Udvartana, as mentioned in the daily regimen, is in the early morning before bathing. It may be light stroking as well as deep stroking. Generally, the duration is 30-45 minutes.
Types of Udvartana
There are two types of Udvartana, Snigdha (oily) and Ruksha (dry).
Snigdha – Singdha means Sneha (fats like medicated oil, medicated ghee etc). In this type of Udvartana, the herbal powders are not directly rubbed over the body. The powders are mixed with medicated oils or ghee and made into a paste. This paste is rubbed over the body in the reverse direction (from below upwards). Powder of drugs which naturally has oily property like sesame etc is used. This therapy is also called Utsadana.
Ruksha – Ruksha means Dry. The name itself indicates that no oil is used in this procedure. This is opposite of SnigdhaUdvartana. This means herbal powders are directly rubbed or stroked (without mixing or frying them with oil or ghee) over the body in an upward direction after conducting Abhyanga. Powder of drugs which naturally has dry (ruksha) properties like lodhra, trifalaetc is used. This therapy is also called Udgharshana.
- Massage with herbal oil is given to the whole body for 15-20 minutes and the patient is prepared for Udvartana.
- The herbal powder or paste (depending on whether it is Snigdha massage or Dry massage) is rubbed over the body opposite to the direction of the body hair.
- Generally, deep stroking is applied in this procedure.
- The Ayurvedic powder massage is done in seven body positions by rubbing and massaging with pressure for a specific period.
- After the massage, the body of the patient is cleansed with a sterile cloth to remove the powder and paste from the skin.
- After wiping off the medicaments, a thin coat of medicated oil is applied over the patient’s body.
- A steam bath after this massage is always advised. Other alternatives can be a warm water bath or hot pads over the fatty areas.
- The patient is allowed to relax for 5-10 minutes. After relaxation, a hot water bath is advised.
How Udvartana works:
- Rubbing stimulates both motor and sensory nerve endings for various parts of the body.
- Udvartana opens the circulating channels.
- Deep pressure massage helps the interchange of tissue fluids by increasing the circulation in the superficial vein and lymphatic.
- The pressure helps the contents of the blood vessels move towards the heart if applied strongly and quickly. This increases nutrition in all tissues.
- During Udvartana, the heat in the skin stimulates. This leads to absorption and digestion of the herb and further causes the liquefaction of subcutaneous fat occurs.
Benefits and Indications of Udvartana:
The effects of Udvartana are multi-fold. It keeps the body healthy as well as fights against diseases. Udvartana can be done with cosmetic, therapeutic and preventive aspects.
- Helps improve skin texture, complexion, glow and tone by removing dead cells from the skin.
- More useful for weak people and people with sensitive skin.
- Gives strength and stability to the body. Prevents untimely drowsing.
- Herbal ingredients are rough and dry and used to reduce excess Kaphadosha and Ama. In rheumatoid arthritis, Ama is the main factor, so it is beneficial for reducing symptoms and inflammation of the joints.
- Very effective in reducing cellulite and fat accumulation. Rubbing herbal powder helps break down the cellulite and increases the burning of accumulated fat.
- Beneficial for diabetic people with insulin resistance.