Self massage is a part of my daily routine, because of this I go through quite a bit of oil. So when I heard one of my teachers was hosting a medicinal oil making class, I jumped on the opportunity. This process was passed on to her by her teacher years ago and is the traditional Indian method of medicinal oil preparation.
In Ayurveda daily morning self massage is recommended to nourish the skin and muscle tissues, help eliminate toxins, aid in cleansing the body’s systems, relax the body and mind, soothe the senses and is the ultimate way of cultivating self love. Since I have been practicing daily oil massage I have not had the need to buy body lotion. This makes me most happy because I know exactly what I am rubbing all over my body- Oil and Herbs.
Today I’d like to share the traditional technique of whole body self massage that I use:
- For starters, pick a massage oil that is organic and not filled with a bunch of artificial ingredients and fragrances. Think “natural” when picking your oil and something that agrees with your body and senses. Plain sesame oil (not the type you cook with) is generally a good oil for most body types. If you are the type that runs hot in nature (like me) coconut oil is very cooling. From time to time I switch up my oils depending on what time of year it is or if my body is needing some special healing herbs. Most of the time I use sesame or coconut.
- Warm up the oil. You can do this by placing the bottle in a cup of hot water for a few minutes. If you are using coconut oil, it is likely to be solid, so just scooping up some in your hands and rubbing your hands together to melt it is warm enough.
- Spread a towel out on the floor. So it will catch any dripping oil. Also, if you decide to massage your feet, you are less likely to slip or ruin your carpet.
- Let’s get massaging! The rule of thumb is to massage the areas of your body that have long bones with back and forth long strokes and massage the joints in a clockwork circular motion. All strokes should be vigorous, as we are trying to get things moving out of our bodies. You can start your massage at your head or feet. I like to start with my feet.
- So taking a small amount of oil in the palm of your hand and massage the oil into the tops of your feet. Some massage the soles of their feet and you are welcome to, but put some socks on so you don’t slip. I save massaging the soles of my feet before bed to help me sleep:)
- Next circle massage the ankles, long strokes on the shins and calf areas, knees circular, working your way up…you get the picture. Use more oil as needed.
- When you get to your mid section, massage the belly in a clockwise motion (following the path of digestion) and circle around the breasts. I take time to massage the middle of my chest (my heart space) in a circular motion. Up down motions on the kidney areas.
- Long strokes on the neck and moving to the shoulders and arms with appropriate strokes.
- I have a special oil for my face. Which I massage the same way one might put on moisturizer. Gentle strokes moving up and away from the nose towards the back of the head.
- I don’t massage my scalp every day, because I don’t wash my hair every day. If you choose to, drip a few drops of oil on the top of your head and gently massage into the scalp.
- Try to leave the oil on for at least 15-20 minutes so it has a chance to penetrate into the layers of tissues in the body.
- Wash the oil off in a hot/warm shower. Try not to scrub all the oil off. Leave a light layer on the skin to help moisturize it.
*Usually I massage before I take my daily walk and then I come home and wash it off. Though some mornings are busier than others and I don’t get my walk right away. In this case I do a few sun salutations and then take my shower. Figure out a routine that works for you and try to stick to it. The body loves routine- especially this one!