Ayurveda recommends practicing abhyanga for a minimum of fifteen minutes in order for the effects of the oil to reach the seven dhatus, or tissue layers in the body.
Here is a wonderful self-massage routine, which you can try doing in the morning for an energetic day, or before bed for a more restful sleep.
- Put about 1/4–1/2 cup oil in a 250 mL squeeze bottle.
- Place the bottle of oil in a pan of hot water until the oil is pleasantly warm.
- Sit or stand comfortably in a warm room, on a towel that you don’t mind ruining with oil accumulation. Make sure you are protected from any drafts.
- Apply oil generously to your entire body.
- Massage the oil into your body, beginning at the exterior and working toward the middle of your body. Use long strokes on the limbs and circular strokes on the joints. Massage the abdomen and chest in broad, clockwise, circular motions. On the abdomen, follow the path of the large intestine, moving up on the right side of the abdomen, then across, then down on the left side.
- Massage the body for 5–20 minutes, with love and patience.
- Give a little extra time and attention to massaging the oil into your scalp, ears, and feet, at least once a week. Apply oil to the crown of your head (adhipati marma) and work slowly outward in circular strokes. Oil applied to the head should be warm but not hot.
- Put a couple drops of warm Ear Oil on the tip of your little finger or on a cotton ball and apply to the opening of the ear canal. (If there is any current or chronic discomfort in the ears don’t do this without the recommendation of your health care practitioner).
- When you massage your feet, be sure to wash them first when you shower, so you don’t slip.
- Enjoy a warm bath or shower.
- When you get out of the bath, towel dry. Keep a special towel for drying off after your abhyanga because it will eventually get ruined due to the accumulation of oil.
- Put on a pair of cotton socks to protect your environment from the residual oil on your feet.
- Applying a high-quality essential oil to your wrists and neck can further support balance. If you are not familiar with which essential oils are balancing for each dosha, try rose or mitti for vata, rose or khus for pitta, and hina or myrrh for kapha.
Ayurvedic Winter Massage Oil Recipe
90 mL sesame oil
10 drops of ginger essential oil
10 drops of turmeric essential oil
10 drops of cardamon essential oil
Ginger to encourage circulation, turmeric to help improve join function and cardamon to reduce swelling and invite a sense of of comfort calm.