Story by: Erin Schafranek, Mar. 27, 2019
You may have heard the term Ayurveda, but what about sneha? Sneha, the word for oil in Sanskrit, is also a word for love. Ayurveda. Oil. Love. That’s one amazing basis for a self-care ritual!
Reaching way beyond the surface, oils nourish the organs, tissues and joints from the outside in. Oils are a key component in Ayurveda for anti-aging, radiant skin, detox, weight loss, rejuvenating tissues, healthy hair and countless other health benefits. Whether your dosha, or body constitution, is predominantly vata, pitta or kapha, read on for some lush tips on how to integrate Ayurvedic methods into your self-care routine.
What better way to begin or end the day than with a glorious self-massage? Abhanyga can be embraced daily or as often as your lifestyle allows. It’s great for stimulating your body’s energy channels and meridians, while releasing blockages and calming the nervous system. Best practiced before the shower or sleep, all you need for this simple technique is a towel and dish for your oil mixture to get started.
First, choose a pure organic oil from a natural source that’s right for you: olive, almond, sunflower, coconut or sesame oil will all do the trick.
Sesame oil is a favorite in Ayurveda for its warming, anti-inflammatory and antibacterial qualities. It is also inexpensive to buy, helps flush out toxins and promotes circulation.
Then (optional), add your preferred essential oil(s) to balance your dosha.
Expert Tip: Before your morning shower, apply the oil to your entire body, then rub in a few pinches of calamus root powder for its detoxing properties. Let it soak in, then rinse off in the shower.
Finally, if lying down for your massage, place the towel underneath you to absorb excess oil. Start gently massaging the oil into your skin with circular motions on your joints, long strokes and sweeping motions on extremities and longer muscles, and acupressure on points that need deep tissue and fascial release.
Swish a tablespoon of sesame or coconut oil in your mouth, pulling it through your teeth. This technique will ‘pull’ out the bacteria in your mouth, throat, teeth and gums, while also freshening the breath. After 10-20 minutes spit out the oil and rinse with water. Use a tongue scraper if available. Let the oil coating soak in after you pull, the slight coating is protective and beneficial. After some minutes, brush your teeth as usual.
Swap your creams for oils. Rose water and olive oil based products - or even simple organic olive oil - are a great combination for achieving healthy moisturized skin.
Smooth the oil over your face and neck with the tips of your fingers. Gentle circular motions work best. Apply the oil a few times throughout the day for optimal results.
Tip: Add a few drops of frankincense and lavender to natural olive oil for a nourishing and inexpensive alternative to pricey face care products.
Apply oil to your hair to stimulate growth and for overall hair health. Massage the oil of your choice (i.e. your favorite Ayurvedic oil blend product) into your scalp and let it absorb for at least 30 minutes. Leave in or rinse out. Be prepared that the oil may stay around for a few days either way, so it’s best to do it on the weekend!
Finally, relax under a third eye oil drip, or shirodhara, done by a professional. It’s been used to treat a number of bodily ailments, calm the nervous system, release blocked emotions and harmonize imbalances in the constitution. Having warm oil poured over your forehead and third eye is absolute bliss!
Ayurvedic regimes are currently experiencing an upswing due to the many health and beauty benefits of this ancient science. Ayurveda, meaning “knowledge of life”, is a healing system originating in India around 1500 BC with the aim to restore optimum function and balance in the body, mind and spirit. This ancient tradition combines nutrition, oil techniques, yoga, meditation and detox to promote health and longevity while enhancing the quality of life.
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