Self massage is one of the joys of the Ayurvedic Daily Routine. Now that winter is here we need to be extra careful with our skin as cold air, winds and heating are terribly drying. We need to hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!
One of the best ways to do hydrate is with an oil massage. The oil penetrates the skin and forms a protective layer over the skin which helps it to remain hydrated, smooth and soft. Another less known benefit is that all the thousands of tiny pores all over the skin are like little roads that take the oil through the skin into the tissues, organs and even the cells, so an oil massage is a great way to feed your body loads of goodies. A lot more goes on than pure relaxation when you get up on that massages table. By adding essential oils to your base oil you are able to feed and nurture yourself internally through your pores.
Unfortunately most of us do not have a live in massage therapists or can afford to go and have a massage every day to keep our skin silky soft and our tissues nourished, but we all can find 5 - 10 minutes a day, week to give ourselves an oil massage. It's super easy and so, so beneficial. Choose a time that suits you and add it to your routine. After or before a shower at night works well. On the weekend before brunch is good too. Use your imagination, and follow your intuition. Light candles, put on some lovely music and make it something truly nourishing. But don't let a lack of time stop you either a few minutes is all you really need so if it's 5 minutes before bed then that's what it is. You will still get the benefits.
So what do you do? Just follow these simple steps:
- Mix the sesame oil with whatever essential oils are best for your present state of mind and dosha.
- Place the bottle in a container of hot water and wait until the oil has warmed up.
- Starting either with your feet or head and gently massage the oil into your skin. Use long strokes along your limbs and circular movements around your joints.
- If something feels tight then spend time there. If something feels good keep doing it!
- Vatas should massage themselves slowly as they want to bring balance by avoiding excess movement. Pittas would do well with a slower massage as well as they tend to push themselves and are probably overdoing it and experiencing stress. Kaphas can do with a more vigorous massage as they tend to be the ones that need stimulation. As always listen to your body and give yourself the massage that suits you and your circumstances that day. IF your feeling stressed then give yourself a slow gentle massage with lots of calming oils, and if you are feeling sluggish then a more vigorous massage will help to get you moving.
- After you have finished sit for a while and let your body soak up the oil.
- I usually leave it on over night and wash it off in the morning but if you are going to wash it off once you have finished use a gentle soap and be very careful not to fall over as your feet will be very slippery.
So there you go, one of the easiest ways to bring some balance and harmony to your life. Give it a go and see how much you benefit.