Abhyanga Self Oiling
Self Oiling is a prized component of the Ayurvedic lifestyle. Regular self oiling nourishes the skin, relax the nervous system, remove impurities from the blood and plasma and feed the inner tissues of the body. A wonderful anti-aging treatment.
The Vata and Pitta dosha benefit the most from a daily Abhyanga. Kapha can perform Abhyanga less often. Kapha constitutions should favor dry brushing before a spicy oiled Abhyanga . Vata can used warm, grounding oils like sesame, almond oil and the the queen of Vata oils Dhanwantaram Thailam from the clinic. Pitta favor lighter, cooling oils like coconut, olive oil or our Chandadi Thailam. Kapha can use our Dharani Oil.
Balashwaganda Oil may be helpful for stress and anxiety. Ashwaganda may help stimulates DHEA, which is a precursor to both testosterone and estrogen and stimulates the production of natural skin oils.
- Put about 1/2 of dosha appropriate oil in a squeeze bottle or glass bottle. Place it in a pan of hot water until the oil is pleasantly warm.
- Sit or stand comfortable in a warm room on a towel that you don’t mind ruining over time.
- Apply oil all over the body
- Massage the oil into the entire body, beginning at the extremities and working towards the middle of the body. Use long strokes on your limbs and circular strokes on your joints. Make sure to massage the finger and toes joints. On the abdomen, follow the path of the intestine, move up the right side, across, under the rib cage and then down the left side. It is important to also massage the soles of the feet and the ears. Massage your entire body for at least 10-15 minutes, when you have more time take 30 minutes. Massage with love and patience. Your body will thank-you with better health.
- At least once a week, give yourself a little extra time to massage the oil into the scalp. Apply oil to the crown of the head or over the entire head and work slowly outward with circular strokes.
- Enjoy a warm shower. Use mild soap or chickpea powder to remove the excess oil. When the head has been oiled, remember to put shampoo throughout the hair first, no water. This will make it easier to remove the oil.
- Towel off with a special towel that you will use only for the Abhyanga treatments.
- Your body and mind will thank you.
When not to do Abhyanga
- Over painful, swollen areas or masses on the body., without knowledge or consent of you health care practitioner.
- Over infected or broken skin
- When there is high ama in the body or acute illness
- When you have acute fever, chills or flu
- When you have acute indigestion
- When you have a medical condition, consult you health practitioner first.
- During menstrual cycle
- During pregnancy
If you are under the care of an ayurveda practitioner these may not apply.
First you’ll need a high-quality dry brush. Look for one with bristles made from natural materials. They should feel stiff but not overly so. Ideally, choose a brush with a long handle so you can reach your entire back and other hard-to-reach spots.
Dry skin brushing should be done daily for best results, or even twice a day if Kapha conditions are present. Try incorporating it into your normal daily routine, such as doing your brushing before your morning shower and then again after work (avoid doing it too close to bedtime, as it may leave you feeling energized).
When brushing, always brush toward your heart, which is best for circulation and lymphatic drainage. You can brush your entire body (including the soles of your feet). Start at your feet and work your way up your legs to your arms, chest, back, and stomach. Avoid brushing your face (unless you have a special brush designed for this delicate skin), your genitals, or any areas with irritations or abrasions (including varicose veins).
The pressure you apply while brushing your skin should be firm but not painful (avoid “scrubbing”). Your skin should be pink after a session (not red or irritated) and you can brush for as long (or as little) as you’d like. An average dry brushing session may last between two and 20 minutes.
Ayurveda Foot Care.
Did you know according to the Ashtang Hridaya, one of the most authoritative texts on the science of Ayurveda, your feet have four nerves that are related to your eyes? Who would have thought that a nice soothing foot massage can actually help you see better?
The science of Ayurveda treats the human body like an inverted tree where the root is in the head region while the branches are in the feet. Your foot is an important motor organ that enables you to get by your day, move, walk or run and rarely do we acknowledge this gift of locomotion!
Our feet also feature multiple marma points. These marma points are important and any injury or pain at these points can damage or affect the associated organs, muscles, ligaments, or joints. Our feet are also where our body connects to the earth that we belong and return to. The field of reflexology believes that you can release energy blockages by putting a specific amount of pressure on specific nodes in the feet.
Even for those dealing with vata imbalances that give way to dry, rough skin, and dehydration, an Ayurvedic foot massage or pada abhyanga is said to be the solution.
According to Ayurvedic texts, foot massages must be part of the daily dinacharya—or perfected routine.
The Perfect Foot Treatment
- Give your feet a nice soak in warm water. Add some essential oil if you please.
- Dry your feet.
- Take some oil in your hand and apply it all over the feet up to the ankles.
You can use sesame oil, clarified butter (this helps in cases of vata or pitta vitiation), olive oil, ksheerbala oil, coconut oil, sunflower oil, or dosha specific oils
- Begin with gentle twists. Place your right foot between your palms and hold it with your hands. Now, pull on the right side and push up the left side of the foot and vice versa. As you do this, you can move your fingers up and down the edges.
- Rub the arches. Hold the top of each foot with one hand and rub the arch all the way from the heel to the top, move in the shape of a horseshoe.
- Stretch the toes. With one hand hold the foot from the heel. With the other, pull the toes forward and then push them away, giving them a full stretch.
- Pulling sideways. Here, with both your hands hold the foot and steady the grip. Now move them sideways, gently and with awareness. You will feel the stress leaving the foot region.
- Heel squeezing. Squeeze the heel by cupping your hands around the arch. This is the part of your foot that takes on the weight of your body and does all the walking for you.
- Press your knuckle into the arch of the heel, kneading from the bottom to the top.
- Pulling toes. Pull each toe one by one.
- Place the Achilles tendon between your thumb and index finger and gently massage it by stroking along the Achilles and heel.
- Side circles. Place the foot on the floor, flat. With your thumb, make circles around the ankles on each side.
- End with a nice twist, Take your right foot and place it on your left leg. Hold the foot with both your palms on either sides, and let the ankle rest on the left leg. Now pull the left side towards you with your left palm and push the right side of the foot away with your right hand. Then, pull the right side towards you and push away the left side. As you do this, you can move the palm along the edges of the foot.