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Ideal Massage timing – Best time of day to do an Abhyanga massage

We often speak at Krya about the health giving benefits about doing an Abhyanga. An Abhyanga massage experience is therapeutic, helps deep relaxation and helps reset all 3 doshas back to a state of balance.  It suits all healthy adults and is especially recommended for babies and young children. The question we are often asked is what is the correct massage timing to do an abhyanga? Should abhyanga time be chosen by prakriti? This post will answer this question.

The best massage timing : Ayurveda says it depends on your body clock

An Abhyanga massage is an essential Dinacharya in Ayurveda from ancient times. The benefits of the Abhyanga massage are numerous and allows us to experience a complete minor reset of all 3 doshas, provided we do it correctly, with the right product and at the right time. But how to choose a time that is ideal for an Abhyanga massage practice ?

What is teh best massage timing? It depends upon your body clock

Everything in Ayurveda is calibrated to the body clock which in turn has a strong correlation with the movement of the Sun. This clock varies subtly according to season, and also depends on whether the Sun is in Uttarayana or Adana Kala (travelling northwards or Southwards). These variations in the sun along with the movement of seasons give us various aspects of Ritucharya or seasonal variations. In fact , in certain seasons like Vasanta / spring, Dincharya practices like Abhyanga should be modified.

Ritucharya is such an important part of good living – here is a case study shared by a Krya customer who modifies her wellness routine by Ritucharya .

Our body clock responds to daily and seasonal changes in the outside environment, but continuing to give us steadiness and balance in the way it functions.

For example: The body will carry out its repair and re-set functions relentlessly during the day according to schedule. So all things going well, our liver will proceed to re-calibrate and repair itself around 11 pm which is the second peak Pitta period. The liver is considered an organ of Agni , therefore strongly influenced by Pitta dosha in Ayurveda.

So Ayurveda tells us that this body clock determines our ideal time for every part of our routine – from abhyanga massage therapy, to eat and even to exercise and sleep.

The best time for abhyanga massage time: depends upon what you are trying to correct

By this time it should be obvious to you that depending upon what you are trying to fix, you should choose your abhyanga time. Each dosha peak time lasts around 4 hours. The beginning and ending times of this period are lighter times and times when one dosha is subtly morphing into the next one.

The best massage timing depends upon what imbalance you are trying to correct

So at 5:55 am for example, Vata dosha is subtly moving into Kapha territory. So BOTH doshas are at their weakest point.

But at 8:30 am, we are right in the middle of Kapha peak time where Kapha is at its strongest best. So if we have a Kapha prakriti, we will have the strongest disinclination to do an abhyanga at this period – we will be tempted to eat something, or sleep in and will try and dismiss the abhyanga to the next day. So the texts advise that we be aware of both this clock and our prakriti when we choose abhyanga times!

Best time to get Abhyanga to centre aggravated vata

Vata dosha is an important dosha in our body. It is responsible for breath, movement, elimination of menstrual blood and wastes and also for flexibility, enthusiasm and creativity. When Vata is out of balance we may experience high menstrual cramping, constipation, bone & joint issues, insomnia, inability to get things done, hair fall and skin dullness.

To enjoy the benefits of balanced vata, an abhyanga is advised towards the end of this peak Vata period – around 5:30 am, just around sunrise.

Ideal massage timing for aggravated vata dosha - close to sunrise

If we do it in the middle of this period (say around 4 am), there is too much Vata in the system for Abhyanga to re-set. Towards the end, if we catch the body when Vata is winding down and BEFORE Kapha increases, we will be energetic and be able to re-set aggravated Vata dosha. So you can start your day in balance and with a boost of energy.

Here’s a case study shared by a Krya customer on additional steps she takes to centre imbalanced Vata dosha.

Abhyanga to unwind and balance aggravated Pitta

Pitta dosha is an important dosha which is responsible for blood quality, circulation, vision health etc. When Pitta is aggravated, you may experience loss of hair volume, premature greying, scalp oiliness, skin sensitivity, acidity, anxiety, etc.

Best massage timing for Pitta balance - first hour after sunrise

For restoring Pitta balance, we choose a fixed time for the Abhyanga. This is the first hour after Sunrise. As the sun climbs, it becomes more and more uncomfortable for Pitta prakriti people. They may not have the resistance to physical work that Kapha prakriti people can have, so they need not stick to doing Abhyanga around Sunrise. But the later the wait, the more uncomfortable it will become for them, so we suggest 1 hour within Sunrise.

Abhyanga for Kapha imbalance – some precautions

Kapha dosha is the third Dosha in our body. Kapha in balance is responsible for healthy weight, immunity, strength, grounded-ness and mental stability. When aggravated we may experience stubborn and unnecessary weight gain, decreased fertility, issues like PCOD, lethargy, dullness , cystic acne, and high hair fall.

In many cases of imbalanced Kapha dosha like obesity, stubborn weight gain and associated issues, a regular Abhyanga is NOT suggested as this can worsen the problem.

However, if you have symptoms of other dosha imbalances and do not have any medical issue, an Abhyanga once a week is helpful. For Kapha dosha too, the best massage timing is as close to sunrise as possible.

Ideal massage timing for Kapha imbalance - close to sunrise with some precautions

Please use the following precautions:

  • Use an oil which is suitable for Kapha buildup. In the Krya range intense abhyanga oil can be used
  • Use LESS oil to do the abhyanga massage
  • Use firm brisk massage strokes that leave you feeling like you are getting a vigorous workout
  • Cut down soaking time to 5-10 minutes and have a bath immediately after this
  • Bathe in as hot water as is tolerated by you below the neck
  • Cleanse the skin TWICE using a properly formulated ubtan like the Krya Intense Women’s ubtan or the Krya Intense Men’s Ubtan. This should be used along with Krya Mangalya Lepa which is a special turmeric based product made from 6 varieties of Turmeric. This combination is astringent and drying and helps ensure there is no Kapha imbalance externally on skin

What is the best time for a massage if I want relaxation & general health benefits ?

In general, the BEST times for a massage is as early in the morning before the Sun’s effect becomes strong and sharp. So you could schedule your Abhyanga massage session between 6 am to 7 am.

Best abhyanga massage timing for general wellness and relaxation

This early morning massage can help in the following ways:

  1. Correct vata buildup in the abdomen improving digestion and elimination, helps in giving better sleep
  2. Bring down excess Pitta build up in the body . It therefore helps reduce anxiety and worry
  3. Helps energize and improve the body’s strength and stamina
  4. Relieve aches, pain and exhaustion including low back pain
  5. Help in stress relief, reduces muscle tension, helps rejuvenate the overall body

Is evening time a good time to get a massage or do one?

Ayurveda does NOT recommend doing a massage after 10 am. So the evening is completely ruled out for any kind of massage. The best time to receive a massage or do one is in the morning. The morning is the ideal time of the day for the dosha balancing and reset effects we are looking for. Hence an abhyanga massage in the morning is the ideal massage timing if you’re looking for the full range of benefits.

Evening abhyanga massage is not recommended in Ayurveda

Apart from this, evening massage can actually increase Kapha aggravation in the body. This can lead to quicker mucous aggravation, stiffness and pain in the body, constipation, dullness and a lack of energy.

Therefore massage in the evening should be completely avoided.

To sum up: Ideal Abhyanga massage timing

This post described the ayurvedic body clock and explained how each peak and non peak dosha period allows our body time to re-pair and re-set itself. The post also explained the rationale behind choosing the best time to do abhyanga for each kind of dosha aggravation.

  • For strong vata aggravation : The ideal time for Abhyanga is 30 minutes before Sunrise or just around Sunrise
  • For strong Kapha aggravation: The suitable time for Abhyanga is around Sunrise or within 30 minutes of Sunrise. Abhyanga should be modified to use LESS oil, brisker massage and double scrubbing
  • For strong Pitta aggravation:  The best time for abhyanga is within 1 hour of Sunrise – this can be stretched to slightly later if weather is not too hot
  • For General health, pain relief, improve circulation, to de-stress and for general well being – Between 6 am – 7 am in the morning

Explore our FULL range of well formulated Abhyanga Oils and Classical Ayurvedic Ubtans . If you need help choosing the right Abhyanga products for your individual needs, please DM us on Whatsapp.

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Preethi Sukumaran
Preethi Sukumaran

Preethi is deeply committed to the formal study and application of the timeless principles of right living as laid down in the Ayurvedic canon. At Krya, her synthesis of ayurvedic principles with botanical expertise drives R&D & Product development.

We have over 100 proprietary formulations in the market today which are trusted and loved by our consumers.

Preethi is also deeply passionate about building Krya based on the Indic principle that Dharma leads to Artha ; we call this "Dharmic Entrepreneurship". She works with the Krya team on establishing Krya as one of the most trusted wellness brands in the categories we operate in.

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