08 Nov ABHYANGA: THE ART OF SELF OIL MASSAGE
In Ayurvedic medicine Autumn and early winter is the Vata season, the elements of air and ether dominate this time. This becomes a beneficial time to use air as your medicine, and practice deeper breathing and relaxation. Vata also governs the nerves and circulation, prominent features in the skin, this is a excellent time for one to receive a massage or body wrap, they are balancing for vata dosha. Oil is described as the most vata pacifying substance- being heavy, soothing, soft and warming- massaging with oil is especially soothing for vata . For the body, oil helps to lubricate the skin and make the muscles supple. For the mind, tensions are eased through the sense of touch. In between your visits to the spa you can adopt your own rituals of self massage
ABHYANGA: THE ART OF SELF OIL MASSAGE
Essential to self care in Ayurveda is the regular practice of self massage called abhyanga (abb-yun-gah).
BENEFITS OF ABHYANGA
Calms the mind and the nervous system
Promotes restful sleep
Increases bone strength
Softens, lubricates and tones the skin
Reduces signs of aging
Relieve aches and pains and prevent injuries to muscles, tendons & joints
So how is abhyanga done? Use warm massage oil. (Store your massage oil in a plastic container and warm it by holding the container under running hot water for a few minutes) Sit on an old towel (you may want a special towel for Abhyanga, the oil may alter the towel). Squeeze some oil into your hand, and apply it lightly to the entire body. (including the scalp-skip this step on days you do not want to wash your hair.) Wait for 5 minutes to let some of the oil be absorbed by your skin. Then massage the entire body, applying even pressure with the whole hand — palm and fingers.
Use more oil and spend more time where nerve endings are concentrated, such as the soles of the feet, palms of the hands and along the base of the fingernails.Use circular motions over rounded areas or joints, and straight strokes on longer areas/bones such as your arms and legs.
After you’re finished, relax for 10-15 minutes, let the oil and the massage do their work. The longer the oil is on, the deeper it penetrates. During this time you can read something relaxing or uplifting, rest, or shave, cut nails, and get ready for the day. Now take a relaxing warm bath or shower. If your schedule doesn’t allow for an oil massage, then make a habit of dry body brushing on the days you don’t do an oil massage. You’ll find it’s worth it!