The Ayurvedic Cellulite Busting Therapy - Udvartana

The word Udvartana is largely used for the most famous body treatment in Ayurveda to lose weight. However if we refer to the classics of Ayurveda we have different types of Udvartana mentioned, which are classified according to their action on the body and the result the Ayurveda physician would like to achieve.

Also there is a large misbelief that Udvartana is only used as a treatment to lose weight, whereas Sushruta (Father of Ayurvedic Surgery), divides the Ayurvedic powder massages into three parts: Utsadana, Udgharshana and Udvartana.

Utsadana – Here different oils and powders are mixed together to form a paste and rubbed all over the body. These herbal powders and oils exfoliate and enhance the complexion and glow of the skin and are highly rejuvenating;

Udgharshana – This is a treatment where only powders which are dry and rough in nature are rubbed all over the body to induce the same qualities and remove the excess water and earth element (KAPHA). It is mostly used in obesity and diabetic cases.

Udvartana – Udvartana according to Sushrata is a body toning program, with application of a combination of prescribed herbal powder and oil on the entire body .It is used in the treatment to reduce fat and strengthen the body, at the same time taking care that the body does not become too rough and dry in the whole process.

So as you see according to Sushruta – Udvartana and Utsadana are the same treatments where herbal pastes made of different oils and powders is applied to achieve a specific result.

Whereas Charaka (Father of Ayurvedic Medicine) gives only the term Udvartana for all the above. Thus as we see above, Udvartana can be used to lose weight, improve skin complexion, de-stress and relax and as a natural full body exfoliation treatment.

Positions used for Udvartana

If Udvartana is done on a wooden bed (Droni) then the face down position would be avoided as it very uncomfortable for the guest. On the wooden bed there would be again seven positions .i.e. Sitting, Face up, Left lateral, Face-up, Right lateral, again face-up and then sitting. Here the back, waist and buttocks would be done in the lateral positions as mentioned above.

However if the preference of your guest is a cushion bed then the positions could be three (sitting, face-up and face down), or as per requirement. You need to remember that the change in positions is only to have maximum exposure of a body part for the strokes to be effective, and comfortable for you to perform, to achieve the desired result.

If done as a one-off treatment to de-stress and re-energize, it can be performed in THREE (sitting, face-up and face down) positions on the cushion bed, so that it is enjoyable for your guest.

Procedure or Technique of Udvartana

This unique body treatment begins with the Indian head and face massage with a therapeutic head and face oil. This takes place in the sitting position which is followed by the Face-up position.

Strokes – All the strokes on the extremities and back are rubbing strokes done by keeping both hands near to each other, in a downward direction with increased pressure;

Abdomen is always done in the face-up position. Starting from the left side, do horizontal movements lifting the fat / muscle tissue from left to right to left at least 4-6 times. Then placing your left hand over the right on the umbilicus, start to glide both the hands gently in clockwise direction making small circles. Gradually make the circles bigger covering the entire abdomen and then reduce the circle size coming to the centre of the abdomen;

Buttocks – If the guest lies on his stomach then you can do a mix and match of the above strokes of the extremities and the horizontal stroke from right to left and vice versa of the abdomen.

These horizontal strokes should be used on the waist and the buttocks if the guest is lying in the lateral position.

Points to Remember during the Therapy

  • As compared to Abhyangam (Ayurvedic full body massage – explained in a previous article), this treatment will require more pressure and speed;
  • Apply oil in between if the paste gets dry, as it may lead to a mild itching sensation during the rubbing movements;
  • Remember to move your body with your strokes. Appropriate body position and movement will also ensure that you do not build up pain in your body while giving this treatment;
  • During the long strokes, keep your legs wide apart, as it enables better and more uniform movement and pressure, which will also enable you to use your body weight and not the arm pressure.

How does the Treatment of Udvartana work?

In the treatment of Udvartana, we use herbal powders (in form of oils or dry powders) that are dry and rough in nature and hot in potency.

The oil taken for Udvartana is sesame-based, which is hot in potency and is infused with herbs which create lightness, dryness, roughness, remove the blockages and stiffness, and also have a ‘cutting or liquefying action’ on the fat tissue. This oil also takes care that the skin does not become dry superficially and remains soft and supple after the treatment.

This herbal paste (powders and oils) when rubbed on the body in a specific manner creates friction, which open the pores, remove blockages in vessels, increase the heat in the tissues and percolates inside to stimulate fat metabolism.

Once the paste is rubbed on the body and the massage is over, the guest is asked to sit in a herbal steam chamber where the head of the guest remains outside the steam chamber, so that he or she can stay in for a longer time. Over here a lot of excess water is lost from the body. Also as the pores open the herbal oil mixed with the paste percolates deeper into the skin inducing its fat liquefying properties and doing its work as mentioned above.

If used as a beautification treatment a different set of herbs is used as oils and powders which are extremely rejuvenating for the skin.


  • Reduced cellulite/ subcutaneous fat tissue;
  • When taken as a part of a treatment program including a strict Ayurvedic diet plan, regular exercise or Yoga and appropriate internal Ayurvedic herbal medication as prescribed by the Ayurveda physician, it helps to reduce weight and gives a well toned body;
  • Beautiful skin complexion;
  • Cleanses and revitalizes the skin and removes body odour;
  • Better skin tone – even if you are losing weight with exercises, other forms of diet etc.
  • The best benefit of Udvartana, even when taken as a one-off treatment is that, it is one the very few treatments that de-stresses you , but at the same time also have an invigorating effect.(reduces Vata and Kapha);
  • The blockages in the blood vessels are removed and pores open, removing body stiffness, facilitating better absorption of oils etc. through the skin.
  • Though the treatment is widely used to get a well-toned body, the actual outcome is highly individualized, based on the specific need; hence the consultation with the Ayurveda physician becomes extremely important. Based on the consultation, the Ayurveda physician chooses the appropriate combination of herbs and oils. This combination, especially chosen for the individual (depending on his/her body constitution, climate and ailment etc.) would yield the specific result that one is looking for.

Herbs used in the Udvartana for Weight Loss:

  • Triphala;
  • Kolkullathadi;
  • Kottumchukkadi etc.

Herbs used in the Udvartana for Glowing Skin

  • Yashtimadhu;
  • Rose;
  • Neem;
  • Sariva;
  • Sandalwood;
  • Usheer;
  • Khadir etc.

Oils used in the Udvartana for Weight Loss

  • Kottumchukadi;
  • Triphala;
  • Dhanwantaram;
  • Karpasasthyadi.

Oils used in the Udvartana for Glowing Skin

  • Mahanarayana;
  • Chandanadi;
  • Balashwagandhadi;
  • Dhanwantar Kuzumbu etc.

Contraindications: Udvartana should not be offered in:

  • Dry skin conditions;
  • In pregnancy;
  • To the emaciated;
  • Children;
  • After body detoxification and purification procedure of Panchakarma.

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