Ideally, a massage should start with the head and end at the feet. The body should be massaged in sections and not the whole body at a stretch. This is to facilitate the proper flow of blood and lymph and induce relaxation of the body part by part, from the head downwards.
The massage should be done slowly with varying pressures. Firm pressure should be applied on extremities and light to very light pressure should be applied to the neck, abdomen, heart, face, eyes & forehead. The extremities can be massaged with long strokes in the direction of body hair. The back of the neck and waist and flanks can also be massaged using long and firm strokes.
The circular clockwise motion should be used on the joints. The abdomen should be massaged in the clockwise circular motion in the direction of the large intestine, moving up on the right side then straight, and then downwards on the left side. The massage should be done for 5-15 minutes on a routine basis and on the weekends we can spend more time on each of the three areas head, body, and feet. For maximum benefits, leave the oil on the skin for about 15 minutes after the massage before taking a bath or shower.
Massage should be done in a warm, ventilated but draft-free room (a bathroom is ideal). Be careful about getting oil on the floor. It’s a good idea to put down a towel or a bath mat. Warm oil should be used for the body and cool to lukewarm oil should be used on the head. In peak summers cool oil can be used and in cold seasons lukewarm to warm oil should only be used even on the head. The choice of oils should preferably be as per your dosha and the area to be massaged. For the head, oils with cooling properties are used.