“The body of one who uses oil massage regularly does not become affected much even if subjected to accidental injuries, or strenuous work. By using oil massage daily, a person is endowed with pleasant touch, trimmed body parts and becomes strong, charming and least affected by old age.”
Charaka Samhita Vol. 1, V: 88-89
Welcome to week 2!
Who doesn’t want to “become strong, charming and least effected by old age”?
This week we add 2 practices and a salt bath.
1. Abhyanga (Self-massage)
Abhyanga is daily self massage with medicated oils. It is performed to assist the body in removing toxins as well as absorbing the nutrients from the oil and herbs.
It is best to perform abhyanga before getting into the bath or shower (careful not to oil the soles of the feet so you don’t slip). Use a quality oil (almond, sesame, coconut, or olive). You may wish to infuse it with herbs, add essential oils for your dosha, or simply apply plain.
Start at the feet and move upwards, moving in circular motion around the joints (ankles, knees, hips, shoulders, elbows, wrists) and straight strokes on the long bones (shins, thighs, arms), drawing the strokes repeatedly up the body towards the torso.Use a good amount of pressure.
Rub the belly in a circular motion, moving hands up the right side, across the top and down the left side, across the bottom and repeat. Rub the kidney area or have a partner rub oil along the spine and back. It is also nice to massage oil into the scalp. You will need to apply shampoo before water when you shower in order to remove the oil effectively.
The whole body massage should take only a few minutes, but take as long as you like. Daily is preferred, however, aim for at least 3 times this week. Done in the morning before a shower will feel energizing. Performed in the evening before a bath will feel relaxing. Try both!
You may also wish to book an appointment for an abhyanga massage by a trained practitioner at an ayurvedic spa like Satin Touch.
2. Dry brushing & salt bath
The complete detox practice:
Start the bath. While it runs, dry brush the entire body (toe to head), avoiding the delicate skin on the face and neck. Then move to oil massage. Straight strokes on the long bones and circular motion over the joints. You can use the same strokes for both dry brushing and massage. Avoid oiling the soles of the feet so as not to slip in the tub.
Once the tub is finished running, add salt to the water. This can be himalayan salt, dead sea salt, epsom salts, magnesium, baking soda or a combination. Start with 1 cup of salts and work up to 2 cups by the end of this week. Soak for 15-20 minutes then towel dry. The oil should have absorbed nicely into the skin with no need to reapply.
If you bathe before bed, oil the soles of the feet after your bath, complete your alternate nostril breathing and then off to sleep you go.
By now, you should have a morning practice of hot water and about a 30-minute evening practice of self-massage and breathing. Again, take all the time you need. Your number 1 priority this week is your own self-care.
“Your skin is the fingerprint of what is going on inside your body, and all skin conditions, from psoriasis to acne to aging, are the manifestations of your body’s internal needs, including its nutritional needs.”
~ Dr. Georgiana Donadio, founder of the National Institute of Whole Health