This post was last updated on August 19, 2021 by Preethi Sukumaran
An abhyanga is an ancient ayurvedic Dinacharya that offers many health benefits. An abhyanga improves immunity, stregnth, fatigue and balances aggravated doshas. While these seem like long term health benefits, we can also use abhyanga for more immediate goals. In many cases of hair fall, poor hair growth or poor quality hair, a regular abhyanga can jump start a good ayurvedic hair regimen.
So how can an abhyanga help you achieve your hair goals ? How should you tailor make your abhyanga for health and hair benefits? Lets see 3 examples today.
What causes premature greying, scalp oiliness & hair thinning?
Premature hair greying and hair thinning are both signs of aggravated Pitta dosha in the body. Pitta dosha is responsible for mental sharpness, intellect, courage, decisiveness, complexion, blood and hair colour. All of us have some amount of Pitta dosha in our body. Those with a Pitta dominant prakriti / constitution naturally have a higher amount of this Dosha.
Apart from inherent constitution , we can also aggravate Pitta dosha in our body in some ways, leading to an increase in this dosha. IF we are in a lifestage that depends a lot of planning, focus, concentration (students, those with older children or active caregivers), we can aggravate Pitta. Between 30 – 60 years, Ayurveda says that Pitta naturally rises in the body.
To combat hair greying and hair thinning, a hair oil needs to be formulated with pitta balancing herbs.
Pitta balancing hair regimen from Krya
The Krya classic hair oil is formulated for premature greying and scalp oiliness where there is mild – moderate Pitta aggravation. Hair thinning is a sign of advanced or highly aggravated Pitta imbalance. To combat this , the Krya Classic Plus hair oil is a good choice.
For those with high mental anxiety or for those in challenging situations, stress levels can further increase Pitta aggravation. In these cases, the Krya Harmony hair oil makes a good addition to the hair care routine.
The Krya Classic Hair Mask, and the Krya Classic Plus Hair Masks are an excellent addition to a Pitta balancing hair care regimen. Regular use of the Hair Lepas unclogs the srotas, reduces scalp build up, balances Pitta and improves scalp health. If you use a synthetic shampoo, you will undo all this good work !
So if you have scalp oiliness, premature greying or hair thinning, please switch from a synthetic shampoo to our all natural, dosha balancing hairwash products. To balance Pitta, we recommend Krya Classic Hair Wash (scalp oiliness + premature greying), Krya Classic Plus (hair thinning).
Abhyanga modifications to help premature greying, scalp oiliness & hair thinning
In addition to a Pitta balancing hair care regimen, a regular abhyanga is extremely useful to help rein in aggravated Pitta dosha. Here, we attempt to control Pitta dosha by selecting the correct Abhyanga oil, using the right Abhyanga techniques and also choosing the correct timing for Abhyanga.
To help control aggravated Pitta Dosha, it is ideal to time the Abhyanga within the first hour of sunrise. When this is done regularly, you will see a noticeable reining in of Pitta Dosha. Those with aggravated Pitta dosha complain of excessive sweating, strong body odour, burning / warm sensation in the body, excessive appetite, and anger management issues.
A regular abhyanga done in the first hour of dawn helps rein in aggravated Pitta dosha. The excess Pitta in the body is slowly and gently released through sweat, urine and bowel movements. Within a few abhyanga practices, there will be noticeable positive changes in health and harmony. The abhyanga practice works in tandem with the hair care regimen to help control all the effects of Pitta aggravation (if detected early and followed through diligently). Together with hair oiling, this strongly helps control premature hair greying (if detected early), when it is due to pitta aggravation.
For those with scalp oiliness and premature greying, we recommend using the Krya Classic Abhyanga Oil. We have 2 systems that combine Abhyanga oil & Ubtan with this oil: The Krya Classic Women’s Abhyanga System and the Krya Classic Men’s Abhyanga system. In addition, if you are weak, and are naturally thin / petite, or are a post partum breast feeding Mom, please combine the Krya traditional baby massage oil along with the Krya Classic Abhyanga oil (50:50) for your Abhyanga.
Summing up : Abhyanga modifications for oily scalp, premature greying & hair thinning
- Ensure that the Abhyanga is done as early as possible, within the first hour of sunrise : This ensures that there is enough time given during the day to allow the release of excess heat from the body.
- Stay indoors and do not expose yourself to additional heat.
- Do not eat pitta aggravating foods on this day like red chillies, green chillies, tamarind, curd, mangoes, raw mangoes and kokum. Avoid sour, salty and spicy food on this day.
- Drink water whenever thirsty to ensure there is adequate urination so that excess heat is released. Drink boiled and cool water preferably with Ritu balancing herbs added to the water.
- Do not do further increase Pitta energy in teh body by doing strong exercise, long distance running, intense gymming, etc.
- Do NOT sleep in the afternoon after abhyanga – this will trap excess heat inside the body and give you a headache, and further worsen premature hair greying. This is also a good practice for any abhyanga.
Abhyanga benefits for hairfall related to PCOD & PCOS
What causes PCOD / PCOS according to Ayurveda?
PCOD is a collection of symptoms that includes either a lack of menstruation or irregular cycles, presence of ovarian cysts or other associated symptoms along with these like acne, weight gain, hair loss, male pattern balding and hirsutism.
PCOD is a two dosha or three dosha imbalance started by the malfunctioning or aggravation of Vata dosha.. Apana vayu is the type of vata that governs all downward flow of material in the body like bowel movement, urine and menstrual flow. In PCOD, the flow of Apana vayu is usually hindered. Additionally the flow of vayu (air) may be extremely strong and aggravated where it could pull kapha dosha from its normal resting place in the chest, so kapha dosha forms into small vesicles that become ovarian cysts.
As kapha dosha moves from the chest to the uterine area, it pulls pitta dosha that is usually present in the stomach. So in PCOD we see an aggravation of all 3 doshas. Kapha and pitta dosha together cause a strong and intensive hair loss that presents as male pattern baldness.
In PCOD related hairfall, there is a slowing down in the sprouting of new hair. There is also usually intensive Pitta related hair thinning. Sometimes there could also be severe anxiety, sleep issues and stress.
So at Krya, we usually suggest using the Krya Intense hair system to improve new hair growth. To arrest and reduce thinning, we suggest either the Krya Classic hair system or the Krya Classic plus hair products. In addition, we could recommend either Krya harmony hair oil or Krya Kshema hair oil for stress.
Abhyanga modifications to help hair fall due to PCOD / PCOS
A regular abhyanga is extremely beneficial in PCOD, PCOS and hypothyroidism. It starts to regulate the flow of vata dosha and also controls pitta aggravation. This in turn works on hormonal imbalance slowly helping the body’s healing process.
As vata and pitta dosha are both key aggravators in PCOD and PCOS, it is ideal to time the abhyanga just around sunrise. This timing also helps tackle aggravated Kapha dosha and stubborn weight loss which is often found in PCOD.
In the case of PCOD and PCOS, the body benefits when less oil, more vigorous massage and regular oil application is followed.
So we recommend doing 3-4 mini abhyangas every week and 2 full abhyangas additionally. To counter stress and anxiety, regular pada abhyanga must also be practiced.
As there is a dual or three dosha aggravation in PCOS and PCOD, we must ensure that the practices we follow must not aggravate Kapha. So all care must be taken during the abhyanga to ensure vata and pitta balance without kapha aggravation. So the oil must be warmed before abhyanga, and the abhyanga itself must be done vigorously. On mini abhyanga days, abhyanga can be followed by light housework or exercise, as long as the weather is not too cold or draughty.
Special diet precautions must be taken on full abhyanga days and followed as far as possible on mini abhyanga days also. On full abhyanga days, exposure to cold and wind must be limited / avoided.
Abhyanga for PCOD related hairfall must be done with a combination of well heated Krya Intense abhyanga oil + Krya classic abhyanga oil for maximum benefit. Snana after Abhyanga can be done with Krya Intense Women’s ubtan or a combination of Krya Classic Women’s ubtan + Krya Intense Women’s ubtan
Summing up : Abhyanga modifications for PCOD related hair fall
- Ensure that the Abhyanga is done with warm oil. The Abhyanga oil should be heated in a water bath and not directly for best results.
- Ensure the abhyanga is done in a full closed room without any air draughts and after switching off the fan and the a.c. This ensures that there is no excess vata aggravation after the abhyanga
- Eat a light, easy to digest meal on the day of the abhyanga. Avoid kapha and vata stimulating foods like fried foods, sweets, curds, maida based foods, etc.
- Do light and easy household work on any form of physical work or a light yoga practice while the Abhyanga oil is soaking in the skin. This work should not strain you or tire you out, but should engage you and keep you moving and active.
- Drink warm liquids and eat warm foods on this day. Avoid exposure to the a.c. as much as possible and avoid eating cold or stale foods and drinks: these include processed foods, ice creams, sweets, cold drinks etc.
- Avoid exposure to cold and drying winds as much as possible on this day: these include using the air conditioner for long periods and driving long distances with the wind blowing in your face.
Abhyanga benefits for dry, rough & brittle hair with split ends
What causes hair dryness & split ends according to Ayurveda?
Vata aggravated hair is usually dry, rough, brittle, is weak, and develops split ends very quickly. Hair breaks easily when combed, brushed, braided or washed. The new hair that grows is also soft, fragile and weak.
Vata dosha is essential in a healthy body to promote mobility, intellect, creativity and speed. Vata is often called the companion dosha as it helps transport and moves the other 2 doshas of pitta and kapha which are immobile without Vata. Vata governs the seat of the muladhara chakra in the body – the kidneys, uterus, and all organs of downward movement (faeces, urine, and blood).
Any disturbance in Vata always affects all downward movements in the body – limbs, walking, joints, periods, bowel movements, etc. Cities and people living in cities naturally have an excess of Vata. Vata dosha governs the qualities of wind, space, and actions associated with air like speech and hearing.
When we commute long distances, talk a lot on the cell phones (with most office and creative jobs), use our smartphones to scroll through feeds, we are engaging with our Vata dosha . If this engagement is not balanced we excite Vata dosha to the point of excess.
When vata is extremely aggravated in the body, we can see many different symptoms like high mental stress, an inability to sleep properly, constant fatigue, skin darkening and excessively dry skin and dry scalp. When we further do chemical treatments like hair colouring or use synthetic shampoos on this already dry hair and scalp, we aggravate the condition further.
For vata aggravated hair, we suggest regular hair oiling with the Krya Conditioning hair oil or the Krya Damage repair hair oil. If there is additional mental anxiety, we suggest adding the Krya Kshema hair oil to the oiling routine. These 3 hair oils are formulated to address different aspects of vata dosha aggravation. The Conditioning hair oil and the Damage repair hair oil tackle the physical aspects of vata aggravation like hair dryness, roughness, weakness, etc.
It is extremely beneficial to add a regular abhyanga to treat this Vata linked dryness even more thoroughly.
Abhyanga modifications to help hair weakness due to Vata aggravation
The skin is a primary seat of vata dosha, so a regular abhyanga with a warm medicated oil helps treat aggravated vata dosha bringing it down to more harmonious levels.
As this hair dryness is primarily due to vata aggravation, the addition of a vata regulating body abhyanga treats hair and scalp dryness quicker and more holistically. It also corrects any vata aggravation across the rest of the body and helps induce restful sleep and calms the entire body down.
To calm Vata related aggravation, an Abhyanga is best done pre-dawn atleast 20 minutes before sunrise. However, if you have sleep issues and are low on sleep, the Abhyanga can be done anytime before 8 am. The Abhyanga must be done in bearably HOT oil. For vata aggravation we recommend the Krya Intense Abhyanga oil. IF there is high fatigue, emaciation and weakness, the Krya traditional baby massage oil can be added to the Krya Intense abhyanga oil and used.
Abhyanga must be done moderately briskly. It is ideal if you set aside 20 – 30 minutes after abhyanga to allow the oil to soak into skin. Usually when there is high vata aggravation, the skin quickly absorbs the oil. It is critical during abhyanga and soaking period to sit in a room without excessive wind. This ensures that further vata aggravation is not added to the body.
Summing up : Abhyanga modifications for dry, brittle & weak hair
- Ensure that the Abhyanga is done with bearably hot oil. The suggested Krya abhyanga oil or oil combination should be heated in a water bath and not directly for best results.
- Ensure the abhyanga is done in a full closed room without any air draughts and after switching off the fan and the a.c. This ensures that there is no excess vayu aggravation after the abhyanga
- Eat a light, easy to digest meal on the day of the abhyanga. Avoid vata stimulating foods like potatoes, millets, biscuits, and any dry, hard and crisp / brittle foods.
- Add warm melted ghee in all meals on this day (atleast 1 teaspoon per meal)
- Reduce electronic stimulation strongly this day as much as possible. Set a device cut off for yourself this day.
- Drink warm liquids and eat warm foods on this day. Avoid eating cold or stale foods and drinks: these include processed foods, ice creams, sweets, cold drinks etc.
- Limit exposure to wind and coldness as much as possible. If AC is unavoidable, dress warm to ensure your body does not go dry again.
- Eat your meals on time and ensure you sleep two hours after dinner, preferably before 10:30 pm on this day. This will ensure vata dosha settles down and you get good restful sleep
To sum up: The benefits of abhyanga in treating 3 kinds of hair fall
An abhyanga is a powerful, yet simple dinacharya that gives us so many benefits. In this post we explained how adding an abhyanga can supercharge your haircare routine and help control 3 types of hairfall.
However, an abhyanga is SUCH a great Dinacharya with such visible benefits , that every healthy adult can afford to add this routine. A regular abhyanga helps many many other conditions including depression, post partum mothers, people with high mental stress, sports people to reduce their rate of injuries, babies and children to improve immunity and aid growth and to nourish and vitalise older people with high fatigue and tiredness.
An abhyanga is an extremely important Dinacharya with multiple benefits, and in the true Ayurvedic tradition helps extend both ayu (life) and Ayush (health). We hope, that this through this post, we have been able to convey to you some of the benefits of this Dinacharya. We also hope you are inspired to adopt this Dinacharya and enjoy the benefits for yourself.
Krya products recommended for you and your family’s abhyanga:
- Krya Women’s Abhyanga system which consists of
- Krya Men’s Abhyanga system which consists of
For Babies (age: 0 – 1 years):
- Krya Baby girl Abhyanga system which consists of
- Krya baby boy Abhyanga system which consists of
For Kids & Toddlers (age – 1 +):
- Krya traditional baby massage oil with Bala & Ashwagandha
- Krya Fragrant Kids Ubtan with Gotu Kola & Cassia Flower