Navel Oiling – Introduction:
The navel or nabhi is a very crucial part of the body that provides multiple health benefits to an individual. Massaging the body with several essentials oils has different therapeutic benefits. The practice of oiling in the navel is known as navel therapy or navel oiling. The procedure of Navel oiling is an age-old process done for managing different health benefits from ancient times. The navel is a bridge that connects a mother with the growing child inside the womb; also it is a connecting chamber for several veins reaching out to different organs in the body. Therefore, According to Ayurveda, taking care of the navel with essential oils and keeping it clean can help in managing various health problems.
Navel therapy or nabhi chikitsa is the practice of the navel to absorb essential substances through essential or medicated oils via the pechoti gland which is located inside the navel. Nabhi chikitsa is a specialized Ayurvedic therapy wherein some medicated oils are applied or pooled in the navel to combat certain disorder.
Importance of Nabhi:
Anatomically, Umbilicus or nabhi is included in:
देहार्पक्वस्थानानां र्ध्ये सवमससराश्रयः।।
- Koshtanga: Acharyas Sushruta has mentioned nabhi as one of the 15 koshtangas.
- Pratyanga: According to Acharya Charaka, Nabhi is pratyanga, a structure located concerning the main part or organ of the body.
- Sira Marma: Nabhi is a vital part of the body that is predominantly made up of Siras, i.e. blood vessels, mainly veins. Nabhi is said to be a ‘Sadhyo Pranahara Marma’, i.e. when injured causes immediate death. Therefore, nabhi or navel area is a very sensitive and delicate area of our body.
- Sira Mula: Nabhi is also known as Sira Mula, or the root of blood vessels in the body. Anatomically, no arteries or veins being connected or getting originated from the nabhi but connectivity to the siras is explained in the Ayurvedic texts based on fetal circulation. During fetal circulation, the blood vessels connect the child and mother carrying essential nutrients to the child through the umbilicus of the child. Thus, as per Acharyas, the navel is considered as a root of circulation in the earlier days of the child and is responsible for our survival and existence. Thus, Nabhi is considered as the sira Mula and moola for our existence.
Physiologically: According to the Ayurvedic Acharyas, nabhi is one of the sites of Pitta. Because proximity of the digestive organs with nabhi that it is considered as pitta sthana. The agni tatwa or fire element is said to be represented in the form of Pitta, thus Nabhi is also as Agni sthana.
History of Navel Oiling:
The primary importance, location, and function of the navel in the developing life of the fetus are depicted in different texts of Ayurveda. Also, the marma or vital energy points are thoroughly documented, with nabhi as one of the great marma or ‘mahamarmani’. In Ayurvedic texts, the closest reference to Nabhi Basti comes from Bhavapraksha.
How Navel Therapy does work?
The daily practice of applying warm oil to the navel area helps in balancing Vayu, the air element seated in Manipura, the 3rd chakra, and the energy center that is located within the navel and abdomen.
The application of warm oil is recommended for the practice of navel oiling as it calms and soothes the aggravated Vata dosha. According to Ayurveda, the qualities of Vata are mobile, cold, and subtle and are one of the prime movers in the body. When Vata becomes aggravated or imbalanced, it disturbs the normal functioning of pitta and kapha dosha, which makes a person feel weak, fatigued, and leads to various symptoms. The daily practice of using warm oils on the body as well as navel is a luxurious practice that is dedicated to honoring and pacifying Vata and supporting our wellbeing with steady, stable, and unctuous life-giving goodness.
Different methods of Nabhi Chikitsa:
Various treatments over Nabhi are mentioned-below:
- Nabhi Basti: building a mini compound of black gram paste around the umbilicus and retaining medicated oil or ghee in it for a certain period.
- Nabhi Pooran: Filling of navel depression with medicated ghee or oil.
- Nabhi Lepa: It is an Ayurvedic therapy where different herbs are made into a paste and applied over the umbilical area.
Important Facts about Nabhi:
- The belly button or nabhi has the thinnest layer of muscle between the inner vagus nerve and the outer layer of the skin.
- The navel is a ‘power hub’ of nerves having almost 72,000 nerves endings which makes it vital.
- According to Ayurveda, the belly button is the location of Agni that controls urination, digestion, and formation processes. Therefore, Ayurvedic therapy for the navel helps regulates these bodily functions as well.
- The nabhi is one of the three most vital points of marma, which has an abundance of nerve endings and can help promote better digestion, mental stimulation, and circulation.
Medicated ghee or oil as per Vata, Pitta, and Kapha Prakriti as per Ayurveda:
- For Vata people: Sesame oil is indicated, it is unctuous and hot, whereas Vata is cold and dry.
- For Pitta people: Coconut ghee or oil is recommended.
- For Kapha people: Mustard oil is recommended by the Ayurvedic Acharyas.
Health Benefits of Navel Oiling:
- Manages Stomach Problems: Applying essential oils on the belly button can help in reducing abdominal pain. Regular application of navel oiling improves stomach health by preventing indigestion, diarrhea, abdominal bloating, nausea, etc.
- Removes Dirt: Just like other body parts, we need to clean the navel area regularly. For cleansing, natural oils like sunflower oil, grape seed oil can also be used. According to Ayurvedic Acharyas, the navel is that area from where nourishment is provided to the entire body, and is medically proven that our navel is connected to various veins in the body and navel oiling benefits can help in managing several ailments.
- Cures Infections: As the navel area gets dirty very easily, it becomes home to bacteria and fungi which may result in an infection and leads to various disorders. Thus Coconut is rich in antifungal and antibacterial properties and navel oiling is the best way the prevention of various infections.
- Helps in Skin Moisturizer: By navel oiling with almond oil gives a natural glow to the skin. When oil is applied to the navel, the vitamins and active components of the oil effectively work in healing dry and chapped lips. Apart from this, Navel oiling benefits detoxifies the body and promotes healthy, radiant skin.
- Reduces Menstrual Pain: Navel oil helps in relaxes the veins around the uterine lining and provides discomfort associated with menstrual cramps. The essential oil soothes the prostaglandins that mediate uterine contractions and pain.
- Improves Eye Sight: By the procedure of navel oiling, there is a stimulation of veins that can lead to better vision, reduce the puffiness around the eyes, and also lessens pigmentation. Regular practice of navel oiling prevents excessive dryness that is responsible for poor eyesight.
- Helps in Joint-related Disorders: Joint pain and joint-related disorders are very common as we age and they can disturb our daily activities. Massaging the navel or umbilical region with essential oils like castor and rosemary oil can help in relieving the symptoms like pain and it helps in strengthening joints and improving flexibility.
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