Written By: UMA Editorial Team |

Published on: February 1, 2024

While several Ayurvedic practices—such as self-massage or panchakarma—have become increasingly well-known in the wellness world, you may not have heard of the powerful, restorative practice of navel therapy. Navel therapy is a centuries-old Ayurvedic practice that involves pooling warm oil or ghee in the belly button. It is believed to possess a number of detoxifying and healing benefits for the body.

In Ayurvedic tradition, the navel (nabhi) represents the origin of life. It connects the mother and child during pregnancy, providing essential nutrients before birth. Given the centrality of the mother’s navel to one’s birth, is believed that the navel continues to serve as a center of balance throughout one’s life. In marma point therapy, the navel is also the home to the nabhi marma, a potent marma point that serves as a vital energy center in the body. The navel is thus a powerful center in the body, providing essential balance, nutrients and energy.

The practice of navel therapy can thus serve as a radical act of self-care that not only detoxifies, energizes and restores essential nutrients to the body, but also instills us with a profound groundedness and sense of interconnectedness to ourselves and to the other forms of life that surround us. As Heather Baines AD C-AP told us in a 2019 Q&A about navel therapy, “The daily self-care practice of abhyanga—using warm oils on the body—and modified nabhi basti—using warm oil on the navel—is a luxurious and life giving practice, dedicated to honoring and pacifying Vata and supporting our wellbeing with stable, steady, and unctuous life giving goodness.”

Curious to learn more about this transformative, life-affirming Ayurvedic practice? Here, we break down the benefits of navel therapy and navel therapy techniques on how to use navel therapy oils.



According to Ayurvedic tradition, an upset Vata is the cause of all imbalance, as it is known as the prime mover in the body and can therefore also upset the Pitta and Kapha dosha energies in our body. As a result, we can feel disoriented and weak. A key benefit of navel therapy is that it helps bring Vata into balance: as the seat of Vata is the colon, the act of pooling oils in the navel directly pacifies this energy.


Navel therapy is also a powerful technique for easing digestion and issues like bloating, uneasiness and gas. That’s because massaging the navel area regulates and reignites our agni, or digestive center. As a result, our digestion, bloating and elimination improve. Furthermore, a well-functioning digestive system helps to reduce inflammation and promotes a stable and healthy weight.


Like many other forms of massage, navel therapy also relieves pain—particularly joint pain, muscle aches or pain induced from poor posture. For those who struggle with pain, we recommend reading more about the restorative practice of self-massage and how you can use specific ayurvedic oils for different purposes.


One of the most profound benefits of this ancient therapeutic practice is its ability to leave one feeling grounded and centered. As the navel represents our ties to our mothers and the center of balance and life, navel therapy revitalizes and reawakens both mind and body, leaving us feeling centered and reconnected. Given the numerous demands of everyday life, which often leave us feeling tired, hazy and disconnected, navel therapy thus serves as an excellent beauty tool for mental and physical grounding.


If you’re interested in trying out this therapeutic, balancing Ayurvedic practice for yourself, we recommend our UMA Beauty Boosting & Body Balancing Navel Oil Duo, which consists of our Beauty Boosting Navel Therapy Oil and Body Balancing Navel Therapy Oil. Formulated with targeted, efficacious Ayurvedic ingredients, our Beauty Boosting Oil is designed to strengthen and protect the skin, resulting in a glowing and healthy complexion; our Body Balancing Oil is designed to reignite agni, promoting a balanced digestive system for overall detoxification.

To use either of these oils, apply 1-2 drops of the oil onto your belly button before a night’s rest. Gently massage the skin around the belly button using your finger and thumb, using a gentle pinching motion for about 1 minute. Use a small ball of cotton on the belly button to prevent staining of clothes. Leave on overnight.