Ayurvedic Ritual: Self Massage
There is a saying that you are your own best friend. In Ayurvedic terms you are your own healer, therapist and doctor. In other words, each one of us possesses healing energy that we can use to treat ourselves.
Abhyanga schedule and oils
- Vata Doshas: 4-5 times a week with a warming oil like sesame, almond or other vata balancing oil.
- Pitta Doshas: 3-4 times a week with cooling and soothing oil like coconut, sunflower, ghee or other pitta balancing oil.
- Kapha Doshas: 1-2 times a week using a heating oil such as mustard, sesame, safflower or other kapha balancing oil.
Instructions for self-massage
- Warm your chosen oil (approx. ¼ cup) by placing it in a warm water bath. Every oil should warmed before using on your body.
- Sit or stand comfortably in a warm room.
- Start to apply the oil from your crown of your head and work slowly out from there in circular strokes using your fingers and palm of your hand. Then gently massage down to your back and neck. Don’t forget to apply oil on your ears.
- Slowly massage down to your chest, abdomen, arms and legs, paying attention to your joints and muscles. When working on your chest, massage towards the direction of your heart.
- Apply oil on your back as far as you can reach.
- Use long, even strokes along the length of the limbs in the direction in which the hair flows. Use circular strokes on the joints (elbows and knees).
- Finish the Abhyanga by massaging your feet. Head and feet are very important parts of the body where the nerve endings or vital marmas are located.
- Leave the oil on for 5-15 minutes to it absorb into your skin and penetrate the deeper tissues.
- Once you have oil on your body, you can use the time before you shower for yoga, stretching, breathing practice or other rituals like oil pulling. Applying oil before yoga, sports or physical activities is also very beneficial.
- Enjoy a warm water shower. Avoid chemical soaps and shampoos after this ritual.