Self massage, known as Abhyanga, is a traditional ritual for treating your body as a temple. In India, this is done daily to babies. Once the children have grown, they continue the practice on their elders. Oiling up has many benefits to the mind and body, such as: rejuvenating the skin, balancing the nervous system, lubricating the joints, soothing the endocrine system, and strengthening the immune system.
Different oils can be applied depending on the person's dosha, the climate, time of year, etc. To begin a daily Abhyanga practice, purchase an organic skin-grade sesame oil, if possible.The oil gets absorbed into the skin, our largest organ of the body, so the best oil you can get your hands on, the better.
Heat the oil until it reaches skin temperature either by creating a double boiler with two bowls of different sizes or by using an oil diffuser with a tea light underneath. To make a double boiler, fill a small bowl with oil and set it inside a larger bowl. Surround the small bowl with hot water, but don't let water get inside and mix with the smaller oil bowl. Just be careful to not heat the oil too much as it can burn the skin if left unchecked.
Start with the joints and make circular strokes. Make sure to include the shoulder, elbows, wrists, hips, and ankles. Include all areas of the joints paying special attention to the armpits, groin, behind the knees, etc. where many sensitive energy points reside. You can then apply oil behind the ears and lower sacrum area. Continue with long strokes all over the body sweeping toward the heart. If you want to give your hair some extra care, you can massage it with coconut oil which will nourish your hair, while cooling the mind.
Once you are completely covered, keep the oil on as long as possible and try to stay in the house where you will be protected from the elements. I recommend designating a pair of old clothes for this practice which you don’t mind getting oily. After at least 20 minutes you can take a shower and rinse off the oil.
This practice will leave your skin glowing and rejuvenated.You may also feel more centered and grounded if you make this a consistent practice.
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