The modern age is the age of greed and competition. Strenuous activities in day-to-day life laid stress on the nerves in each & every moment. In this speedy world, each & every individual along with their daily routine of lack of exercises, sedentary lifestyle, unhealthy food habits, increased load in intellectual work, created dryness & impaired circulation of blood in the body. For this, 'massage' is the means for flushing out the toxins in the form of sweat, urine, mucous, thereby truly rejuvenating the body. Massage with the means of its physical rubbing of the body produces heat & increases blood circulation. It also supplies more nourishment to the blood. This physical process of massage along with it psychic involvement helps in the proper functioning of the nervous system along with the circulation of the growth hormones. Just like the food provides nourishment from the external resources to the individual, so also the massage excites the internal resources & provides nourishment in the form of proteins, glucose & other vitalizing chemicals which are within the system. Massage also helps in preserving the energy of the body & prevents it from the decay of the individual.
Word meaning:- Abhyangam – It states that “Ab” means to follow; “Angam”- Body – To follow the body is Abhyangam.
In Ashtanga Hridayam, Suthra sthana, it is noted that Abhyangam (self-massage) should be done on a daily basis as a step of dinacharya daily routine. If it is not done on the whole body, at least, the head, ear, the foot should be massaged every day in order to prevent premature aging, fatigue on exertion, and to pacify vata.
Kalari & Kathakali are the two different forms (schools) of massage in Kerala. Different schools adopted different styles according to the region they are practicing – just like in north, south & middle.
The Indian Ayurvedic System of medicine mentions the lymphatic system to be kapha or mucous carrying systems.
This tradition developed a massage that includes the pressure points – anatomical position of lymph nodes – which are gently massaged with organic oils to achieve a balance on the body energy system. Increasing the kapha activity is also done to increase the nourishments of the body & give proper articulation to joints, patience, solidarity, sexual stamina & abstinence. Thus with the help of Abhyangam, balance is restored to the body’s electrochemical pathways which serve as preventive health techniques & also the pain of skeletal muscles relieved & mood is elevated.
Lymph possesses a relatively large amount of amino acid – tryptophan – which is increased after the massage. An increase in plasma tryptophan subsequently causes a parallel increase in the neurotransmitter & serotonin – which has been implicated in several psychiatric diseases with low levels of its metabolites in depression & in schizophrenia. By giving Albumin-bound tryptophan to the brain through proper diet & lymphatic massage, it increases brain serotonin. Hence, lymphatic massage helps in relieving symptoms like those caused by serotonin like anxiety, irritability.