Abhyanga - Ayurveda & Massage as an Act of Self-Care
Autumn is the perfect time to learn the simple art of self-massage. Ayurveda recommends massaging oils into the body at any time of the year, but Autumn is particularly important as it’s the season where chills can easily enter the body. Rubbing a thin protective film of oil over your body nourishes your skin, muscles and nervous system.
Ayurvedic massage is good for:
- improving circulation
- lubricating the joints
- calming the nerves
- improving sleep
It also helps keep you supple as you simultaneously relax your muscles by massaging them and stretch yourself by reaching your own back and shoulders etc.
Traditionally this massage is performed in the morning before taking a shower as this helps to rid the body of stagnation and toxins that may have built up during the night.
How can I try Ayurvedic Self-Massage?
For a quick and simple self-health routine, drip some of your chosen oil into the palm of your hand and then rub your hands together vigourously to warm the oil and spread it evenly over your palms.
Now rub the oil lightly over your entire body (or as much of it as you can reach, don’t worry, the more you practice, the more you will be able to stretch and reach). It’s recommended to wait a few minutes to let some of the oil soak into your skin. If you have time to spare, now would be a good time to practise some gentle stretching or deep breathing , but if your mornings are busy, you could simply clean your mouth and brush your teeth while the oil is absorbed into your skin to nourish and soften it and work its wonders on your nervous system.
Now the oil has soaked in you can begin rubbing and massaging your body. Use long firm strokes on your limbs and circular patters over the joints, go lightly over your stomach and chest.
Now take a warm shower, be careful not to slip if you’ve oiled your feet, you shouldn’t be too slippery if you’ve used oil sparingly and rubbed it in thoroughly. After your shower you will find that you feel very relaxed and clean and your skin will be soft and well protected.
Sesame or almond oil is perfect for self-massage. Try and use cold pressed organic oil for maximum benefit. When sesame oil is absorbed into the skin it is very nourishing to the tissues of the body; and makes a pleasant and natural alternative to the chemically based beauty products that our skin usually has to deal with.
The Secret of Self Defence
Self-massage can boost your immunity and protect you from Autumn colds and chills. For maximum protection, pay attention to the area across the top of your back around, and just below, your shoulders. Keeping this area protected by a thin sheen of oil will help prevent you from catching a cold.
Practising Ayurvedic self-massage three or four times a week will work wonders for your skin and immune system.
Related Articles on Ayurveda:
- Ayurveda & Body Types: Do you Know Your Dosha?
- Ayurveda & Body Types: Doshas and the Elements
- Ayurveda - it's Elementary!
- Ayurveda Defined
- Ayurveda: 8 Golden Rules for Good Digestion
- Ayurveda: Clues for Easily Understanding the Doshas
- Ayurvedic Home Remedies: How to Get Dry Cough Relief from Bananas