3 Lesser-Known Ayurvedic Stress Remedies (Including A Ghee Foot Massage)
The immune system is a complex biological structure that is intimately linked to your mind. Since there are branches of the sympathetic nervous system that actually end on immune tissue, every time you experience a stressful situation, your immune system gets sent a message immediately. So if you want to help protect your body from infection, it's important to deal with the stress in your life first. Here are some lesser-known ayurvedic strategies for managing stress so that it doesn't lead to illness down the line.
Massage your feet with ghee for a good night's sleep.
In ayurveda, it is traditionally massaged onto the feet to help promote deep sleep and a clear mind. Apply a generous amount to each foot before bed and massage into the skin. Then cover your feet with socks and leave on overnight. The ghee is thought to help ground excess mental chatter (which can interrupt your sleep) by pulling your energy downward. This tip is not recommended for women during pregnancy because during pregnancy, the energy is meant to stay in the pelvic area.
Give yourself a facial steam at night.
According to ayurveda, there are small and large energy channels, called shrotas, that course through the body constantly. When the channels to the mind become blocked, it can lead to stress, fear, and anxiety. Many of the ayurvedic treatments for opening up the shrotas to the mind call for steam inhalation. Here's how you can do it at home:
- Boil 3 cups of water in a medium-size pan.
- Once the water has boiled, place the pan on a heat-resistant surface and add 3-5 drops of eucalyptus essential oil.
- Cover the back of your head with a towel. Close your eyes and place your head over the pan to allow the steam to enter your nose.
- Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth for at least 5 minutes.
- Once you are done, cover your head with the towel and avoid any exposure to wind or a fan for at least 30 minutes. Since many viruses are heat-sensitive, you can do this at the end of each day as a daily preventive measure.
Use mantras as medicine.
In ancient India, mantras were used regularly as part of ayurvedic medicine. Man means "mind" and tra means "through" so mantras literally translate as "through the mind." There has been considerable clinical research on how mantra meditation can help ease conditions like anxiety and depression. In my book, Sound Medicine, I explore the healing power of certain sounds, such as these ancient mantras:
- Om Kreem
- Maha Kali
- Sarva Rogam
- Nasi Nasi
These mantras were used to remove all types of negativity that affected both individuals and larger communities. Try saying one or multiple ones aloud every day for up to 30 minutes, either alone or in a group (for pronunciation, watch this video). You can also repeat them in the mind silently as part of a mantra meditation practice.