Self Care using Abhyanga Self Massage
Are you looking for new ways to add self care into your routine? Let me introduce you to one of my favorite self care rituals: self massage. In Ayurveda, Abhyanga is the practice of self-massage using oils and herbs specific to your dosha. There are many benefits to self-massage, including increasing circulation and promoting blood flow and lymph movement. Plus, it is a luxurious act of self-care.
There are many ways to approach choosing a massage oil. You can get fancy and find an oil specific to your dosha, or you can keep it simple and use what you’ve got in your cabinet. If you know your dosha, I prefer to either make my own infused oil, or use one made by Banyan Botanicals. If you want to learn more about making your own dosha specific body oil, check out our Shatavari e-zine issue.
Here are a few really great options for pre-made oils:
Directions for Abhyanga Massage:
- Warm the oil if desired. To do this, pour your oil into a heat safe glass jar, close the lid, and submerge in hot water until it reaches a warm but comfortable temperature.
- Pour a couple of tablespoons of oil into your hands at a time. Take anywhere from 10–30 minutes to generously apply the oil onto your body using circular motions on areas like your chest and torso and using long strokes on your extremities. Consider including your ear lobes, face, and the soles of your feet if desired (just be careful when walking if you apply it to your feet!). You may also want to incorporate a jade roller to massage your face. You also have the choice of massaging the oil onto your scalp which can be incredibly relaxing, or not if you don’t want to get your hair oily.
- Allow the oil to soak in (20 minutes is ideal). You can use this time to brush your teeth, read a book, sip an herbal tea, or meditate.
- Take a warm bath or shower. Be mindful that after you are done, the shower or bath will be slippery.
- Dry off using a towel that you don’t mind getting oily.
- Do this process as often as you like, at least a couple of days a week if possible!
Abhyanga is traditionally performed in the morning, but feel free to do it at any time that suits you. It can be especially relaxing to do after a bath and before bed, though you may want to wrap yourself in a sheet that you don’t mind getting oily before getting into bed.
However you choose to incorporate this, I hope you take the opportunity to love on yourself, as you so definitely deserve!