Updated: May 3
Have you ever noticed how on some days thirsty skin just drinks up all the moisturizing you give it? And that sometimes no amount to moisturizer seems to quench that thirst?
My skin always looked dry and chapped and I kept trying all kinds of moisturizers in an attempt to get a more effective solution. Until I decided to let it all go... all the products, all the sulphates, all the parabens and all the other nasties. It was just not working for me- not on my skin and not in my mind! I went back to what I had practiced all through my childhood days…
Abhyanga or self-massage or what we called an “oil-bath”.I was back to the basics in a sense!
Safe. Healthy. Nourishing and most importantly simple!
The skin is your largest organ in the body. It has many roles in the maintenance of life and health but there are also more than 3000 skin disorders. Not only does our skin hold everything in but it plays a crucial role in providing an airtight, watertight and flexible barrier between the outside world and the systems within. It helps with temperature regulation, immune defense, vitamin production and sensation among other things.
Therefore it becomes imperative to keep the skin in good health, unclogged and fresh. It also means that we must nourish our skin with feed it with the correct selection of products that allow the skin and therefore our bodies to function at its optimum.
And that’s where the ancient ritual of self-massage can help. An abhyanga is a full body oil massage. This self- massage is ideally performed with a warm, medicated or herb infused oil. It is part of a daily routine and is highly recommended for keeping good overall health and wellbeing.
Practicing a self-massage on a regular basis improves circulation, especially to the nerve endings. The act of massaging helps to tone your muscles.
The process of applying oil to the body helps displace the collected impurities on the surface of the skin helping to cleanse our skin and keep pores unclogged helping the skin to perform its function of regulating body temperatures.
It helps you relax, calm the nerves and therefore facilitates better sleep at night.
Keeping the skin nourished and well moisturized on a regular basis also ensures no dry skin, the skin feels healthy and radiant all year round and the body feels more fit and active. It slows down ageing and keeps the hair lustrous and healthy.
Most importantly, I think the biggest benefit of an Abhyanga is that it forces you to make time for yourself.While Ayurveda suggests the self-massage as part of a daily routine, I would suggest making it a part of at least a weekend routine, twice a week at a minimum, every Saturday and Sunday.
I strongly believe the fifteen mins of self-massage is worth at least 50 times more.
It is making that time to take care of yourself, acknowledging yourself, shutting down from all else and devoting that time for some much deserved self-love.
Ayurveda is not just about the body but also the mind.
It is important to wind down, switch off and relax at regular intervals and this at-home, at your convenience spa treatment offers you another opportunity to do that.
So soak in, indulge in some me-time!