As the anatomical structure of different parts of the body is different, oil may have to be applied differently according to its structure. Secondly depending upon the degree of snehana effect desired in an individual patient, one may have to adopt different forms of oil application in order to get maximum effect. Following is the list of different forms of external application of oil to different parts of the body.
The word snehana simply refers to imparting greasiness. The therapeutic procedure by which greasiness is imparted to the body using different kinds of fat is called as snehana. Certain forms of fats like oil, ghee or animal body fat are administered internally or applied externally to add oiliness to the body. Internal administration means oral, rectal or other roots of administration where the fat is given to inside of the body. External administration refers to the application of fat on to the skin and may be followed by massage. Snehana is one among the shadupakrama, and is advocated as unique therapeutic procedures in a variety of diseases. Snehana is also performed as preparation of the client prior to the administration of shodhana procedures. In such situations, where the snehana is carried out as a part of shodhana procedure it is referred by the name purvakarma.
The mere smearing of the medicated oil to a body part is known as lepa. Applying the paste of medicinal plants added with oil is also considered as lepa. After application, the oil is kept in the body for certain period and then washed off. Here any form of manipulation or massage does not follow application of oil. For the same reason, this procedure of snehana is said to be less efficacious than abhyanga. But, in some of the diseases states like obstinate skin diseases or peripheral vascular disease were performing the massage is impossible for evident reasons, lepa is the best alternative method of bahyasnehana.