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Koshta Abhyanga: Revitalizing the Abdominal Cavity

Koshta is a Sanskrit word that means 'an empty cavity' or 'a hollow space' and Abhyanga refers to the practise of applying oil to the body for therapeutic purposes. Although the literal meaning of the word could point to any hollow space present in the human body, anatomically Koshta refers to both the abdominal and pelvic cavity.

The abdominal cavity contains fifteen crucial organs that supports the creation and management of energy - umbilicus, heart, pancreas, liver, spleen, kidneys, bladder, lungs, stomach, small intestine, large intestine, rectum, anus, Pakwashaya (large intestine including pelvic colon) and Purishadhara (the cecum). The practice of gently massaging a baby's stomach in India has a long history of assisting the child's  food cycle. Ayurveda, since ancient times, has advised applications of oil to the navel centre daily and massage the abdomen in order to maintain balanced secretions within the digestive channels and to promote movement in the areas needed for the necessary elimination of waste. 

Within the abdominal cavity the stomach, small intestine, and large intestine manage the cycle of food consumption, assimilation, and elimination. These organs remain quite busy through the day taking critical decisions about the secretion of chemicals in order to break down food optimally, to help get the food absorbed, separate the pure from the impure, and send the remainder for elimination. 

Ancient healing traditions often emphasize the profound energetic link between the heart and the abdominal cavity. Within this sacred space, the organs work harmoniously to discern and transmute the pure essence, transforming it into vital life force that courses through our being. This life force not only impacts our physical body but also influences the development of our thoughts, the nourishment of our mind, and the expansion of our soul.

It is crucial for our overall well-being to take optimal care of the abdominal cavity, making it a necessity rather than a choice. The Koshta Abhyanga has been designed by Ananda in the Himalayas in a specific pattern or sequence to effectively address all the organs that are located within this cavity. The therapist uses a warm medicated herbal oil to gently massage the frontal and lateral sides of the waist. They then move down to the pelvic cavity by massaging the upper thighs, which helps to ignite the energy for proper elimination and drainage. Typically, an Ayurvedic herbal oil is used, which is specifically formulated to stimulate the organs, improve circulation, and promote the flow of energy in the abdominal and pelvic area.

Koshta Abhyanga is believed to help balance the doshas, which are the three bioenergetic forces in Ayurveda. Specifically, it is known to be effective in balancing the Vata and Pitta doshas, which are associated with digestion.  The massage is used to address problems of the uterus in young women and for the Ananda PCOS programme. It also provides relief from constipation, decreases bloating, and induces a feeling of relaxation in the abdominal area. The other benefits of koshta abhyanga includes improvement in peristaltic movements stimulation in enzymatic functions, managing dysmenorrhea, regulating menstruation, cellulite breakdown and abdominal fat reduction.

It is advisable to consult an experienced Ayurvedic practitioner who can assess your individual needs and provide appropriate guidance for an experience of Koshta Abhyanga suitable to your individual needs. 

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