On the seventh day of detox, I gave to me…
six spicy swishes,
five yoga poses,
four foods that heal,
two cleansing breaths,
and the most vibrant vision of me.
There are many benefits to regular massage: detoxification, improved circulation and decreased stress to name a few. You could book a series of professional massages or simply commit to daily self-massage.
Abhyanga, anointing, is an ayurvedic massage incorporating oils. It promotes the practice of snehana; to love your own body. Ayurveda believes that the body is comprised of seven layers of tissue and daily abhyanga nurtures all seven layers.
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
Who doesn’t want to be charming and least affected by old age? Abhyanga involves straight strokes on the limbs and circular massage on the joints. Try rubbing a good quality oil – sesame, almond, olive or coconut – or herb-infused oil onto the body each morning to encourage circulation.
A nighttime ritual of rubbing oil or foot butter onto the feet stimulates reflexology points and assists in releasing stress and toxins from the day, promoting better sleep. Try a lavender-infused oil or mint foot butter to restore tired tootsies.
For self-massage, use circular motions on the left ankle, straight strokes moving from ankle to knee, circular on the knee, straight strokes from knee to the hip, circular on the hip. Move to the right leg and repeat the process. On the belly, move with the path of the intestines, up the right side and down the left, continue in a circular motion in this direction. Then move to the hands and arms. You can also include scalp and face if you are preparing for bed or prior to a shower. The oils will nourish your scalp and hair while sleeping. To rinse easily, add the shampoo before water hits your hair, wash well.
Oil massage before a bath or shower leaves skin nicely hydrated and not greasy. Pat yourself dry and dress for the day or slip between the sheets for a sound sleep. Careful not to oil the feet before stepping into the shower or tub, or wash the oil off first so you do not slip.
Daily massage… how deliciously detoxifying.
Bonus detox tip: Make your own herbal oil.
Rose softens skin, lavender promotes relaxation and calendula assists skin healing. Fill a jar 1/3 to 1/2 full of dried lavender, rose petals, calendula or jasmine blossoms, dried mint or vanilla beans. For a warming winter oil, try cinnamon or clove. Fill the jar with oil of choice, stir to remove trapped air, top with oil, cap and shake well. You can sing to your oil, chant blessings, shake each day (the plant essence will slowly infuse your oil).
Or you can add the blossoms or dried herbs and oil to a double boiler or water bath and gently heat the oil until it becomes infused with the plant aroma and essence (oil will typically feel thicker and smell wonderful!). Strain herbs (great to add to bath salts or directly into a container for later use as herbal bath). Pour the oil into a container. cap tight and use within a couple weeks.