The Ayurvedic Cure for Cellulite: Abhyanga and Mustard Oil?

Since the holidays interrupted our discussion of last month’s Cellulite Book-of-the-Month, Absolute Beauty by Dr. Pratima Raichur, I decided to make it our featured selection for January, too.

I already wrote about how Pratima’s description of the Ayurvedic philosophy has changed the routine I use to take care of my face (see Secrets of Ayurvedic Skincare).  I’ve also incorporated her advice into other aspects of my self-care routine, as well.

“Balancing Through the Senses”

Prior to reading Absolute Beauty, I had a vague idea of what Ayurveda entails. I knew it had something to do with certain strange yet intriguing concepts, like healing the body with aromatherapy or cleansing your nasal passages with a neti pot.  Pratima’s description of Ayurveda helped me put these foreign ideas into context, especially Part III of her book, entitled “Body Purification: Balancing Through the Senses.”

The idea of color therapy or sound therapy might seem strange at first, but I can see how collectively such therapy could have a significant impact on one’s health.  Pratima recommends being conscious of color as “an added means to create balance.”  Depending on your constitution, certain colors work to “bring our your inner glow,” as Pratima puts it.  Other colors can aggravate an imbalance.

For example, one time I attempted to paint my bedroom a pleasing shade of red. I literally couldn’t sleep for days and had to repaint the whole thing, this time in pale blue.  I was surprised at how strongly I was affected by the color of the walls.  Have you ever experienced a similar response to certain colors?

Ayurvedic Massage for Cellulite

Absolute Beauty includes chapters on balancing the body through each of the five senses: color therapy, sound therapy, aroma therapy, nutritional therapy, and massage therapy.  Of course, massage therapy seems particularly relevant to our investigation.

Pratima explains that massage is an essential component of traditional healthcare in India. Infants receive a massage at birth and every day thereafter until they are three years old.  (New mothers receive daily massages, too, for forty days after childbirth!)

Pratima recommends incorporating ayurvedic self-massage, referred to as Abhyanga, into your regular skincare routine. Abhyanga is usually performed in the morning using a warm oil, such as sesame, combined with herbal essences.  The book includes detailed instructions of the exact order of what to massage and how.

I admit I am not too exacting with following Pratima’s directions –I find it takes away from the enjoyment of the massage to be too meticulous about these things– but I am making a conscious effort to do self-massage more often since reading her book. I started by using almond oil combined with a few drops of lemon and cypress essential oils, both known for their ability to stimulate circulation.

Instead of almond oil, I recently started using Dr. Singha’s mustard rub when a fellow blogger mentioned that an Ayurvedic therapist prescribed mustard oil to treat cellulite. Pratima didn’t mention this in her book, but the Pratima skincare line includes a similar product.  I will be sure to let you know how it goes…

*Thist post is part of Works for Me Wednesday hosted at We Are THAT Family.

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homeroller says:

Hi 🙂 Interesting article! I just wanted to let you know that I’ve finally received the mustard oil which I had ordered from eBay. It’s called “DABUR PURE MUSTARD OIL HAIR & SKINCARE”. As expected it has a really awful smell (because it’s 100% pure), but I mixed it up with some sweet almond and jojoba oils plus several essential oils and now it’s quite bearable… I gave it to my sister, and she said she’d use it. I will be sure to give you her updates.


Thanks, HR. I’m curious to see how it goes for her!


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