Use of powder made of herbs in body massage is called Udvartana (ayurvedic powder massage & spelled as Udwarthanam and Udvarthanam). The word “Udvartana” refers to elevation and upward strokes during massage. An ayurvedic massage expert can better perform this massage with special techniques. Especially, the rubbing during massage goes in opposite direction as compared to conventional massage. Dry herbal powders or herbal paste prepared with medicated oils is used in this herbal powder massage.
The main benefit of the Udvartana is to remove toxins through the skin. However, ayurvedic doctors mainly recommend it for reducing excess cellulite and fat accumulated under the skin. It also tones the skin and provides strength to the body. Other benefits include improvement in skin complexion, skin exfoliation, stress relief and relaxation.
According to action of the powder massage, it is a mainly two types:
- SNIGADH or SNEHA (Unctuous or Oily)
- RUKSHA (Dry)
Snigadh Udvartana is powder massage done with herbal paste prepared mixing herbs’ powder with medicated oils. This herbal paste is rubbed over the skin. This type of Udvartana helps improving skin texture, complexion, glow and tone. The main purpose of Snigadh Udvartana is to exfoliate and rejuvenate the skin and to prevent skin diseases.
According to Charaka Samhita, Snigadh Udvartana is useful in weak people. It also includes people with sensitive skin who cannot tolerate rubbing of the dry herbal powders.
In Ruksha Udvartana, dry powders of herbs are used for rubbing. Herbal ingredients are rough and dry in nature and used to reduce excess KAPHA. Ruksha Udvartana is beneficial for reducing excess cellulite and fat under the skin. It is also beneficial for diabetic people with insulin resistance. According to Charaka Samhita, Ruksha Udvartana is useful in obese people.
According to Sushruta Samhita
Sushruta Samhita classifies the powder massage into three major categories:
Utsadana and Snigadh Udvartana is a same thing. In this, medicated oils are used for preparing herbal paste. It has same benefits as described in Snigadh Udvartana.
Udgharshana and Ruksha Udvartana is a same thing. However, Sushruta Samhita has specially described the ingredients of Udgharshana, which includes brick powder, Reetha (Soap nut) powder etc. This procedure may not be suitable for people with sensitive skin. The common side effect of using brick powder is rashes and fine cuts on the skin, which may cause pain and burning sensation. Using Reetha powder or Triphala powder is more likely to safe and useful instead of brick powder.
According to Sushruta Samhita, herbs used in this type have both actions of strengthening the body as well as reducing the fat. Its mixture is also prepared from powder of herbs mixing with medicated oils like Utsadana or Snigadh Udvartana. Actually, it is a sub-type of Snigadh Udvartana with unique herbs having strengthening and fat reducing properties.
Udvartana (Udwarthanam) Powder Ingredients
Ayurvedic Herbs Selection: Herbs selection should be according to the body type of a person. Here are some herbs, which are used in Ayurvedic powder massage or Udvartana.
Herbs for Weight Loss
(Also for People with KAPHA Body Type)
Triphala has property to reduce body weight. However, it is used internally or orally to lose weight, but is also beneficial for reducing cellulite if used externally on the body in herbal powder massage. Ingredients of Triphala are:
- Emblica officinalis – Amalaki (Amla or Indian Gooseberry)
- Terminalia Bellirica – Bibhitaki
- Terminalia Chebula – Haritaki
You should take all these three ingredients in equal quantity by weight.
A Special Formula for KAPHA Type People
|Emblica officinalis – Amalaki (Amla or Indian Gooseberry)||20%|
|Terminalia Bellirica – Bibhitaki||20%|
|Terminalia Chebula – Haritaki||20%|
|Sapindus Mukorossi – Soap Nut – Reetha||10%|
|Inula Racemosa – Pushkarmool||5%|
|Zingiber officinale – Dried Ginger – Sonth||5%|
|Acorus Calamus – Vacha||5%|
|Piper Nigrum – Black Pepper||5%|
|Piper Longum – Long pepper||5%|
|Barley – Yava churna||5%|
Mix all ingredients in powdered form and use this powder in Udvartana massage. It helps shedding cellulite and reduces weight.
For Weight Loss – PITTA Type People
If your body is PITTA type, you should use following massage powder. All ingredients should be used in fine powdered form.
|Cyperus Rotundus – Nut grass – Nagarmotha||50%|
|Barley – Yava churna||20%|
|Emblica officinalis – Amalaki (Amla or Indian Gooseberry)||15%|
|Valeriana wallichii – Indian Valerian – Tagara||5%|
|Terminalia Chebula – Haritaki||5%|
|Centella Asiatica – Gotu Kola – Mandukaparni||5%|
Mix all ingredients in provided ratio. You can use this powder on PITTA type body for maximizing weight loss benefits.
Classical Formulations for Weight Loss
- Kolakulathadi Choornam
- Kottamchukkadi Choornam
Herbal Formula for Glow Skin
|Emblica officinalis – Amalaki (Amla or Indian Gooseberry)||15%|
|Licorice or Yashtimadhu||15%|
Mix all ingredients in given ratio and do massage with this herbal powder. It is also best remedy for glowing skin. This mixture should be used mixing with Chandanadi oil, sandalwood massage oil or Kumkumadi Oil for maximum glowing effects on the skin.
Medicated Oils Uses in Udvartana
The oil is chose according to the body type and requirement as per disease.
For Weight Loss
For Glowing Skin
- Chandanadi oil
- Kumkumadi Oil
- Sandalwood Massage Oil
Sandalwood Massage Oil
How to prepare sandalwood massage oil
|Olive oil or sesame oil||100 ml|
|Turmeric powder||A pinch|
|Sandalwood oil||5 ml|
- Take 100 ml olive oil or sesame oil.
- Heat the oil and add a pinch of turmeric powder in the hot oil.
- Let it cool down and then strain the oil in a separate glass jar.
- Now, add 5 ml sandalwood oil.
- Mix both ingredients and use this oil for massage.
It improves glow of the skin and reduces blemishes as well.
Udvartana Technique & Procedure
An ayurvedic expert is a master in some Udvartana techniques that help to break down cellulite under the skin. The ayurvedic powder massage is done in seven body positions by rubbing and massaging with pressure for a specific period. It reduces cellulite and excess fat accumulation under the subcutaneous tissues of the skin. Powder Massage is done with wet or dry medicated herbal powders by a massage therapist for about 15 to 45 minutes.
Snigadh Udvartana Technique
- In Snigadh Udvartana, oil massage with recommended oil is done beginning from head, face, back, chest, abdomen, arms, thighs, legs and feet.
- Herbal paste is prepared mixing medicated oil and applied over the skin.
- Herbal paste is rubbed from hands to shoulders, lower back to neck, feet to thighs and thighs to buttocks. On buttocks left to right and right to lefts strokes are also performed.
- Upward strokes with pressure are also used during rubbing the herbal paste.
- For abdomen, rubbing starts from left to right and then right to left. Herbal paste is also rubbed in clockwise movements making small circles initially then large circles covering the whole abdomen around the umbilicus.
Ruksha Udvartana Technique
- In Ruksha Udvartana, a fine powder of herbal mix is used for rubbing.
- Other steps from 3 to 5 are same as described in Snigadh Udvartana Technique.
(How to Do Powder Massage at Home)
However, the maximum benefits can be achieved when ayurvedic massage therapist does Udvartana. Here is a self-massage technique:
- Do full body massage with warm sesame oil or olive oil.
- Rub herbal powder with maximum tolerable pressure and movements. If your skin is sensitive, you can mix the oil with warm sesame oil or olive oil for making its paste. Then rub this paste on skin with cellulite underneath.
- You need to move your hands from the feet to thigh, hands to shoulders.
- Do this massage on fatty areas of the body by rubbing powder thoroughly.
- The movements of your hands should be opposite direction as compared to regular oil massage.
- For abdomen, it should be pubis bone to chest. For hips, movements should be from thigh to lower back.
Steam bath after this massage is always needed. If you cannot go for steam bath, you can take a warm water bath after this massage or you can also use hot pads over the fatty areas.
Therapeutic Indications of Udvarthanam
- Obesity – highly beneficial for fat reduction
- Abdominal Obesity
- Cellulite breakdown
- Preventing loosening of skin under weight loss program
- After childbirth, if you are get some extra weight
- Muscular weakness
- Diabetic neuropathy
- Decrease mobility to joints due to excess KAPHA, AMA or rheumatoid arthritis.
- Removing dead cells from the skin and increasing glow of the skin
- Sclerosis of blood vessels
- Sciatica of KAPHA origin
Benefits of Udwarthanam
Udwarthanam tones and exfoliate the skin, reduces fat tissue and weight, makes skin radiant and glowing, improves skin complexion, removes bad body odor, removes toxins and cleanses the skin.
Cellulite Reduction & obesity
Udvarthanam (Udvartana) is very effective in reducing cellulite and fat accumulation. Overweight people can also get benefits from this technique to control their body weight. Rubbing herbal powder helps breaking down the cellulite and increases the burning accumulated fat.
Abdominal Fat Accumulation
You have a loose skin on arms, thighs or buttocks or if you are suffering from abdominal fat accumulation, then Ayurvedic powder massage is very efficacious in this situation. It helps to reduce subcutaneous fatty tissue and cellulite. It reduces body weight and assists other weight loss therapies.
Udvartana (powder massage) reduces KAPHA and AMA. In rheumatoid arthritis, AMA is a main factor, so it is beneficial for reducing symptoms and inflammation of the joints. In some cases, rubbing the herbal powder with pressure can increase pain, so rubbing should be gentle and perform under the supervision of ayurvedic physician. Ruksha Udvartana is more beneficial when stiffness with feeling of heaviness is the main symptom as compared to joint tenderness. If joint tenderness with redness is main symptom, then Snigadh Udvartana is more beneficial.
It removes body stiffness and helps to open blocked pores of skins. It facilitates absorption of beneficial oils in skin.
Increases Skin Glow
If you are a woman suffering from some nutritional problems and their effects appear on your skin or you have lost skin glow, then ayurvedic powder massage will help to improve skin glow and complexion.
Opposite direction stokes that are performed in Udvarthanam help to soften and exfoliate the skin and remove the dead cells from the skin, so give you a beautiful and lustrous glow on the skin. In such case, the herbal formula described in “Udvartana Powder Ingredient section” and medicated oil given in “Medicated Oil Section” should be used.
It is one of detoxification ayurvedic therapies, which cleanses the body and removes bad body odor.
Udvarthanam removes AMA or toxins from the body. It helps to prevent various diseases, which are caused by accumulation of toxins.
Exfoliates the skin
Ayurvedic Powder Massage tones and exfoliates the skin, removes the toxins and prevents skin diseases.
Improves Blood Circulation
Ayurvedic powder massage improves peripheral blood circulation.
Revitalizes the Touch Sense
Herbal Powder Massage o Udvartana revitalizes the touch sense.
Stress Reduction & Rejuvenation
It can be used for stress reduction and rejuvenation.
Ayurvedic powder massage is contraindicated in following conditions:
- Dry skin (Ruksha Udvartana is contraindicated)
- Wounds, cuts and burns
- Children under age 10
- After panchakarma detoxification