Blog Post

Catholics and Ayurvedic Massage

ST writes: “What is an ayurvedic massage and it is okay for a Catholic to get one?”

Ayurvedic massage is not recommended for Catholics - or anyone else for that matter because it has very little to do with the kind of deep tissue massage that is so relaxing and revitalizing for the body. Instead, it focuses on manipulating alleged "energy fields" rather than easing muscle aches.

According to this article published on The Chopra Center, “Ayurvedic massage combines the 5,000-year-old Indian principles of Ayurveda—the science of life—and pressure points. This type of massage is designed to create balance among the mind, body, and spirit, and help the body heal itself. It’s sometimes referred to as an ‘oil massage’ because it typically incorporates warm herb essential oils, as well as time-honored and non-traditional strokes and kneading that suit an individual’s needs.”

Ayurvedic massage, also known as abhyana, or oil massage, allegedly helps to release muscle tension, assist lymphatic draining and nourish the skin. As this article states, it is much more focused on the skin rather than the underlying muscles.

“The heavy use of essential oils and focus on specific energy points in the body makes an Ayurvedic massage different from your run-of-the-mill Swedish massage. Plus, don't expect a ton of actual massaging—the treatment is much more focused on manipulating your energy fields and freeing emotional burden than working out the kinks in your muscles.”

This method of massage is based upon a pagan belief in the existence of three biological humors or psychophysiological energies called doshas. A person’s health and ability to resist disease is thought to be related to the way these doshas are balanced. A person’s doshas can be impacted by any one or more of five fundamental elements that make up the universe--space (akasha), air (vayu), fire (agni), water (apu) and earth (prithvi), which practitioners believe make up human physiology. Ayurvedic massage aims at balancing all of these alleged energies.

“Although there is a specific massage sequence and therapeutic technique associated with Ayurveda’s abhyanga massage,” explains Ayurvedic doctor Pratima Raichur in the article, “each session is tailored to the individual and their unique dosha.”

At this point, it should be clear than an Ayurvedic massage is not much of a massage but is more like an exercise associated with a non-Christian belief system. This, coupled with the fact that the underlying energies that make Ayurvedic massage seem so unique do not exist, should convince the Catholic to look elsewhere for a good massage.

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