Have you ever given yourself a massage?
It may sound like a strange concept, but self-massage is a powerful tool that increases circulation, moves lymph, calms nerves, and even smoking cessation. Ayurveda suggests Abhyanga, or self-massage, offers many healing benefits.
Abhyanga is especially beneficial during this drier, colder time of year because it brings warmth and lubrication to the skin, joints, and nervous system – all of which are affected by Vata or wind energy.
This is my favorite practice of abhyanga:
- Warm the oil you are going to use. I like the Daily Massage Oil from Banyan Botanicals. I put the 4oz bottle directly into a mason jar with about two ounces of water that has been heated.
- Set out a towel on the ground so you don’t slip. Put a quarter size amount of oil in the palm of your hand and begin applying to your feet, massaging the oil well into the ankles and heels – they tend to get cracked at this time of year.
- Apply more oil, working up the body, massaging all joints – ankles, knees, hips, elbows – in a circular motion. Massage the limbs of the body with long strokes moving in the direction of the heart.
Your skin will gain elasticity, feel hydrated, and become smoother.
This practice can take anywhere from 10 minutes to an hour depending on the care and amount of time you can spend. I suggest leaving the oil on for at least 10-15 minutes before showering and rinsing off the oil.
This practice of self-care is a wonderful gift to yourself during this busy season.