Ayurvedic Udvartana | Paste and Powder Massage

Published: Mar 17, 2021 | Updated: Mar 17, 2021

Ayurvedic Udvartana | Paste and Powder Massage
© Picture courtesy Fabrice Florin

Udvartana is an Indian Ayurvedic massage treatment modality that uses specially prepared herbal pastes or herbal powders (called Choornams) to massage the body. It’s generally used as a treatment to aid in weight loss and detoxification. Udvartana is also written as Udvartanam or Udvartan.

The body may be covered with a mixture of herbal oils (often sesame oil or coconut oil) and dry herbal powders, or with herbal powders only, after which the massage is done with strokes in an upward direction while rubbing the substances into the skin. A massage session can take up to an hour, after which the receiver rests for a while, perhaps followed by a steam bath.

The idea is that this form of deep tissue massage helps to let herbs penetrate into the body for healing benefits, heats the body to induce detoxification, reduces fluid retention, and increases overall circulation.

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There are basically two types of Udvartana Massage recognized: the Snigdha Udvartana (done with warm oils and dry herbs mixed into a paste, also called Snigadh or Sneha) and the Ruksha Udvartana (a dry massage done with herbal powders only).

Apart from being a support in weight loss and detoxification, other benefits may apply also to Udvartana, such as stimulation of blood and lymphatic circulation, improvement of digestion, alleviation of musculoskeletal and neuromuscular pains, reduction of coldness and stiffness, alleviation of skin problems, and stimulation of joint mobility, among other healing benefits.

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