In general, oils are any slippery or viscous, non-water-soluble substance derived from animals, minerals, vegetables or synthetic sources. Most oils are liquids at room temperature and their viscosity makes them excellent for lubrication. In Ayurveda, oils are used both externally and internally to help tissues like blood and lymph flow effortlessly through the body. Most Ayurvedic oils are plant or mineral based because Ayurveda generally does not permit any sentient being, including animals, to be harmed. Whether plant, mineral, or animal-based, Ayurvedic oils are used to treat any ailment caused by an imbalance in doshas, or, internal tissues/ humors. Oil therapies are most helpful in treating a variety of ailments, especially diseases of the nervous system, bones, and deeper tissues.

Internally, Ayurvedic practitioners prescribe specific oils to be consumed with foods or in medicines and tinctures. Ayurvedic medicine states that individuals are made of a unique combination of the three prevailing energy sources on Earth: vata (wind), pitta (sun), and kapha (moon). Everyone has at least some of these prevailing energies, but most people tend to have a predominance of one. Maintaining the unique balance between the three constitutions is the goal of Ayurvedic medicine. Oils have specific properties that can be used to either decrease or increase individual energy sources, which, when consumed, can be used to help return the body’s internal environment back to balance.

Oils are most commonly used externally in Ayurvedic medicine, which includes a range of different massages and other oil therapies. Ancient Ayurvedic texts recommend daily massages, if possible, to open the pores of the skin, increase circulation, relax muscles, and aide the movement of lymph throughout the body. Therapeutic massage also improve breathing, cleanses the body (both externally and internally), and is considered a secret to health and beauty. In order for these properties to manifest themselves properly, Ayurvedic texts recommend using oils during massage. Only certain oils should be used that are selected based on the individual constitution of the patient, their physical ailment, and the season of the year. Ayurvedic massages. In order to obtain specific results, herbs and spices may be cooked into natural oils. It is not recommended that the body be massaged dry because the friction of a massage can increase heat and cause pain.

Oils are an important part of Ayurvedic medicine. The diverse range of therapeutic massages would not be possible without natural oils and the unique characteristic of these oils is also important for combating illness internally.

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