The three primary pillars of good health are consuming a balanced diet, indulging in regular exercise, and enjoying a good night’s sleep. Presently, it is reported that nearly 25% of the adult population in the world (those between 21 and 60 years of age) is faced with insomnia. Insomnia is a sleep disorder wherein an individual faces difficulty in falling asleep and remaining asleep throughout the night. This sleep disorder can either be short term (acute) or long term (chronic).
In the ancient Indian practice of Ayurveda, insomnia is called “Anidra” or alternatively “Nidranasha.” In Ayurveda, it is believed that a specific imbalance in the three doshas (Tarpaka Kapha, Prana Vayu, Sadhaka Pitta) causes Anidra or insomnia.
What is Samvahana?
Samvahana is an Ayurvedic practice involving a mild body massage or gentle touch. Starting from the feet and stretching upwards, Samvahana produces a feeling of pleasantness or “Sukhakara Sparsha.” Samvahana is known to enhance sleep as well as virility and take away Vata and Kapha.
Types of Insomnia
This form of sleeplessness is caused by physical or mental stress, too much of travelling, or hectic work schedules. This type of insomnia is a distinct disorder of its own.
The primary factors that trigger this type of insomnia include side effects that stem from a wide range of underlying psychological or neurological ailments as well as from the use of long-term medications.
Insomnia leads to signs of lethargy, irritability, frequent yawning, a feeling of weakness, and difficulty in concentrating, thereby having a negative influence on professional commitments and personal relationships, thus hampering an individual’s productivity. That said, insomnia is not a life-threatening disorder.
So, the questions that arise include, “how to improve insomnia?” and “how to treat chronic insomnia?” The answers to these questions lie in the several, curative solutions elaborated in Ayurveda, which is the ancient practice of Indian medicine. Since time immemorial, Ayurvedic scriptures have stressed on the importance of “Nidra” or 6-8 hours of sleep.
Thus, when it comes to ways to improve insomnia, one of the best Ayurvedic practices is that of “Samvahana” or body massage. Let’s explore this form of massage in detail.
The Practice of Samvahana
Samvahana is a whole-body massage in the practice of Ayurveda. This type of body massage uses light pressure to improve circulation and induce deep relaxation. The precise word, “Samvahana,” refers to the technique of massage that primarily involves long, sweeping motions and soft strokes to successfully activate the “Nadis” or the body’s energy channels.
Similar to a dance of beauty, this gentle, passive massage uses flowing movements and organic, warm, aroma-therapeutic Samya Dosha oils.
Samvahana has a balancing and soothing effect and is hence primarily performed for indications that can be attributed to excessive Vata and Pitta. Individuals who frequently experience ticklishness may prefer Abhyanga, which is another form of Ayurvedic massage. Samvahana is generally followed by Ubtan, Swedhana, and/or Shirodhara.
Benefits of Samvahana
The highly beneficial effects of Samvahana therapy help in rejuvenating the entire body, improving blood circulation, stimulating and strengthening the immune, lymphatic and nervous system, revitalising skin tissue, improving skin complexion and texture and bringing about significant improvement in the shape of the body. Samvahana can help in relieving pain and excessive fatigue while the synchronised movements of the massage induce a meditative state, which is why this Ayurvedic technique is the go-to answer when it comes to questions such as “how to overcome chronic insomnia?” and “how to improve insomnia naturally?”
Samvahana helps in stabilising the mind, body, and spirit, solving blockages at the emotional and energetic level, and promoting purification and detoxification of the body. What’s more, the nerves and Nadis are activated, thus stimulating the flow of blocked energy. Optimum benefits are generally experienced after a series of sessions carried out after 3-7 days.
The Last Word
What helps insomnia naturally is the practice of Samvahana, which is a whole-body massage according to the ancient Indian practice of Ayurveda. Samvahana may involve the use of aromatherapeutic oils such as sandalwood, lavender, jasmine, rose, almond and extremely soft materials such as silk and fluffy brushes. This massage’s aphrodisiac and soporific properties help in improving the quality of sleep.
This article is reviewed by Dr. Ashwini Konnur