Self-oil massage offers numerous benefits to the health of both the body and mind, making it ideal to incorporate into your daily routine.
The skin, being the largest sense organ with extensive surface area and sensory receptors, greatly benefits from oil massage. It promotes increased circulation throughout the body, which Ayurveda refers to as building Ojas.
Ojas refers to the factors within the body that contribute to its stability and soothe the mind. Regular self-oil massage nourishes and strengthens the immune system, providing an additional layer of defense against the constant external influences we encounter.
Research has shown that even practicing self-oil massage only twice a week can yield positive results, including reduced anxiety, improved sleep, and decreased back pain. Moreover, the act of self-touching and caring for ourselves is essential for enhancing self-esteem. Self-massage is, in essence, an act of self-love. [sidebar: studies show this is true for pregnant women too!]
To give yourself an oil massage, follow these steps:
- During warm summer months or if you tend to feel warm, opt for coconut oil, which has a cooling effect. If you are pregnant and experiencing higher body temperature due to increased blood volume, also choose a cooling oil like coconut or grapeseed oil. If you generally feel cool, even during the summer, almond oil is a good choice.
- Pour cold-processed, organic oil into an 8 oz. container, preferably a small glass bottle, but a BPA-free plastic bottle can also work.
- Place the bottle in a small pan of hot water to warm up the oil. Once the oil is warm, remove it from the pan. This warm oil is ideal for your massage.
- Apply oil to your hands and begin the massage. You can either start at your neck and work your way down to your toes, which helps to ground and center you, fostering a sense of stability. Alternatively, if you’ve been feeling lethargic, slightly depressed, or low in energy, start with your toes and massage upward toward your head. You can also apply oil to your face and hair, but you can skip this step until you feel more confident with the process or use your preferred moisturizer for your skin and hair.
- During the massage, use long strokes and some friction to aid oil absorption into the body. Be gentle yet firm. Leave the oil on your body for as long as possible to maximize absorption. If you’re applying oil in the morning, do so before other practices to allow ample time for absorption before taking a shower. While showering, use minimal soap except where necessary, and rinse with hot water before patting yourself dry.
- If you’re short on time, apply the oil before showering or bathing. Even if you leave it on for just 5 minutes, you can still experience benefits. Consistency is more important than the duration of oil application.
- Check out the YouTube video I made on self oil massage here
I’d love to hear from you, let me know how your self-oil massage makes you feel.
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