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Sishu Abhyanga - Neonatal Oil Massage

Regular oil massage is one simple gift you can offer your tiny tot

Oil massage is traditionally carried out for new born kids in many parts of Asia and Africa, especially India. Neonatal period is one critical phase in a child's life, it's the time when the baby starts to adjust from the comforts of the womb to meet the needs of the world outside. The child should be mended with intense care to offer maximum support for its entire lifetime. The support lies in terms of offering ample immunity, nurturing strength and also aiding to regulate their armature systemic functions.

Thousands of years before your great scholars of the ancient science Ayurveda had mentioned Abhyanga or oil massage as an essential for kids in Jata Matra Shishu Paricharya, the protocols for dealing with a new born baby. The Sanskrit word for oil is Sneha, which literally translates to both oil and love, and this moment speaks of the extravagance of oil massage. Modern Researches 1 done in the field of neonatal care suggest that the sense of touch can also calm the child and pace down the fussy phases of a child.

Benefits of Oil Massage

According to Ayurveda, the infants are advised to undergo oil massages to inculcate goodness from the earliest possible phase, which lasts over a lifetime.

Increased Immunity

According to Ayurveda, daily doses of oil massage instils the child with longevity and strength. This longevity is ensured with the enhancement in the natural immune responses. Oil can be absorbed trans dermally to the deeper layers of the skin. Ojas or the immunity coefficient is granted by the content of good Kapha in the body in the form of Sneha. When oil is administered through massage, the minute capillaries are activated and help to build up the good unctuousness in the baby, thus enhancing Ojas and thereby the Immune System.

Better Sleeping Pattern

While the Ojas gets a spike, escalated Ojas is responsible to nurture a good peaceful sleep, as it controls the cognitive aspects of a person as well. Children generally tend to be a little sleepless and fussy, but with the oil massage into action it relaxes their muscles and pampers them  to a good sleep.

Weight Gain In Preterm Babies

Randomised researches2 conducted across the United States, show that children, especially preterm babies, had a weight gain with regular oil massage. Massages with oil induces more thermoregulation to the infants and helps with weight gain. Of all the oils available in the market, coconut oil has shown maximum weight gain when compared with other mineral oils.

Enhances The Functionality Of Nervous System

As the baby is massaged by the mother, it naturally creates a more intense bond between the two. Using medicated oil for massages has more efficiency as with the unctuousness of the oil, the herbal goodness is also entering the child’s body. On regular repeated use of oil, children are found to be more calm, active during the day, and have a better sleeping pattern at night.

Increases Blood Circulation

Just as us Adults, children also show increased circulation with synchronized topical movement. When oil is melodiously massaged into the skin, the palms of the doer gradually gets warm. With the touch trigger the warmth further activates the skin follicles and enhances more blood circulation. Children seem to flush after oil massages due to this very reason.

Relaxes Skeletal Muscles

Who would not like a long warm bath after a tough day? The same applies to a kid, As the oils start reaching to the core of the body, with increased circulation and warmth, the muscles start to relax as in foetal phase. This calms the baby from within and relaxes all the skeletal muscles that are in constant effort to create new movements.

Improves The Texture And Lustre Of Skin

Oils are naturally the storehouse of luxurious unctuousness. As the skin absorbs more fat, the water retention capacity of the cells increases, creating a more plump and healthy skin. As for the lusture, repeated use of oil massages gives you a shine and softness to the skin while offering better protection from the environmental triggers.

Strengthens The Child

Strength is a broad term, but in this context it is best correlated to the developmental status of the child. We have so far seen that with oil massage, the immunity of the child is hastened as so is thermoregulation. As neonates are not much active their joints are comparatively a little stiff, oil massages lubes them and results in smooth movements. It calms the child from within and also offers better sleep wake patterns and better digestion with lesser or no episodes of blots and constipation. On an overall note oil massage helps to shape the wellbeing of the child and thus protects it while providing strength to the child.

The advantages of oil massage does not stop here. Children with regular oil massages has milder teething pain, increased efficiency to fight pathogens, fewer to no skin lesions in future, furthur pacifies Vata dosha, offers a smooth shiny skin and much more.

There was a time when Indians were looked down upon for its oil massages traditions for children. It took centuries for people to accept and follow the paths mentioned by our Ayurvedic scholars and to inculcate  the immense potential offered by oil massages in all age groups, especially in kids.


Traditionally the oil massages for infants are done with medicine infused sesame oil as per ayurvedic classics, Bala Taila is considered the best with respect to ayuredvic epics. But with the widespread development of popularised brands, a shift has been seen from the noted traditional preparations to more modernised formulations with added fragrance.It is always best to choose the most appropriate oil for your baby by the advice of an ayurvedic physician.

Choose Ayurveda For The Betterment Of Your Child


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Author Bio:

Best Ayurvedic Doctor - Dr. Meenakshi Chauhan

Dr. Meenakshi Chauhan


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Reviewed By:

Best Ayurvedic Doctor in Mohali - Dr. Vikram Chauhan

Dr. Vikram Chauhan


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