Aroma Self Care – Abhyanga
I’ve discovered a beautiful healing ritual using pure oils that will now forever be in my self-care routine.
It’s hard to describe how amazing I felt after doing this ritual.
I felt restored, exceptionally relaxed and my skin felt amazing!
I am now hooked!
It is well worth finding the time to do this oil ritual on a regular basis. Especially as we’re coming out of the winter months and want to renew ourselves for spring.
The first step is applying nourishing oils on your skin before having a shower or bath.
This ritual is actually from the practice of Ayurvedic medicine.
Ayurvedic medicine (“Ayurveda” for short) is one of the world’s oldest holistic healing systems. It was developed more than 3,000 years ago in India. It’s based on the belief that health and wellness depend on a delicate balance between the mind, body, and spirit.
If you’d love to find out more, this site is a great place to start.
Ayurveda recommends incorporating aromatherapy into your daily routines by applying aromatic oils to your skin, and inhaling diffused pure essential oils and candles. Which is great as all these things can be easily brought into your life to nurture your well-being.
This beautiful oil ritual I am raving about is called ‘Abhyanga’.
It’s an ancient Sanskrit word from India, abhy means to rub and anga means limb, so together they make up the word ‘massage’.
Basically, Abhyanga Is the anointing of the body with warm therapeutic oils. Absolute bliss!
A blend is made up of specially selected oils which is then massaged over your entire body before bathing or showering. Doing this soothes your nervous system, boosts lymphatic detoxification, improves circulation, nourishes the skin, and promotes overall mind and body balance. The oils used for the blend are often infused with herbs and essential oils and are selected according to your ‘mind-body’ type (more on this below).
The benefits of including this beautiful ritual, Abhyanga, into your routine are too good to ignore.
- Improves sleep
- Promotes sturdiness of the body
- Promotes longevity
- Nourishes the body and skin
- Overcomes fatigue
- Increases circulation
- Assists in elimination of impurities from the body
- Moves the lymph, aiding in detoxification
- Calms the nerves
- Nourishes the hair and scalp
- Softens and moisturises the skin
So how do you do Abhyanga?
First you must make yourself a personalised oil blend according to your mind-body type or ‘dosha’.
There are three dosha types each having suggested oils to use to help support balance and well-being.
If you don’t know which dosha type you are, you should read this great article
Here is a brief overview of each dosha with their specific oils to use:
Elements: air + ether
Qualities: cold, light, dry, irregular, rough, moving, quick, changeable.
Suggested oils: Vata is balanced by using sesame, avocado and/or sweet almond carrier oils along-with warming and grounding essential oils such as …
- bergamot, cardamom and frankincense
- lavender, geranium and patchouli
- sandalwood and rose
- vanilla, vetiver and ylang ylang
Elements: fire + water
Qualities: Hot, light, intense, penetrating, pungent, sharp, acidic. Those with a predominance of the Pitta principle have a fiery nature that manifests in both body and mind.
Suggested oils: Pitta is balanced by using coconut, olive and/or, sunflower carrier oils with cooling, soothing and calming essential oils such as …
- chamomile, lavender and tangerine
- geranium, lime, and ylang ylang
- peppermint, lavender and mandarin
Elements: earth + water
Qualities: Heavy, slow, steady, solid, cold, soft, oily
Suggested oils: Kapha is balanced by using safflower and/or sweet almond carrier oils with invigorating, warming and cleansing essential oils such as …
- bergamot, cedarwood and lemon
- clary sage, sweet orange and cedarwood
- eucalyptus, rosemary and lavender
- rosemary and sweet orange
Because I tend to be more Vata I made myself an oil blend containing sesame oil, calendula Infused sweet almond oil with the essential oils of lavender, geranium and patchouli.
It truly smelt divine. A gorgeous husky smoky floral.
To make your blend …
- fill a glass jar with 40 ml of your chosen base oil e.g. sesame or sweet almond
- add 20 drops (in total) of your essential oil blend
Once you have made up your blend you can gently warm it by placing your glass bottle of oil in a mug of hot water for approx. 5 minutes. Before using double check that the temperature isn’t too hot. The oil blend should be comfortably warm.
Abhyanga Massage Steps:
- Sit or stand comfortably in a warm room. I found standing (or sitting) in the shower the easiest just in case a little of the oil spilled on the floor. You just need to be careful not to slip!
- Carefully apply the oil first to the crown of your head and work slowly out from there in circular strokes—spend a couple of minutes massaging your entire scalp (which is home to many pressure points).
- Allow the oil to seep into your skin, bath in it.
- Gently massage your face in circular motion on your forehead, temples, cheeks, and relieving pressure around the jaw area. Include massaging your ears, especially your ear-lobes (again home to many pressure points).
- Use long gentle strokes to massage your arms and legs making sure to massage up toward the direction of your heart.
- Gently massage the abdomen and chest in clockwise, circular motions.
- Finish the massage by spending at least a couple of minutes massaging your feet. Feet can often be overlooked but they also have pressure points and hold a lot of tension.
- When you are soaked in oil, lay down or sit quietly in a warm spot for 10 – 15 minutes to let the oil fully absorb deeper into the skin. Really relax. Take some deep breaths and enjoy the aroma of the oils surrounding you.
- When you’re ready you can either enjoy a warm bath or have a shower and gently wash the oil off using a natural non-toxic soap (If any) and shampoo. Gently towel dry yourself and blot the towel on your body instead of rubbing vigorously.
You and your skin will feel nourished, moisturised and amazing!
“The body of one who uses oil massage regularly does not become affected much, even if subjected to accidental injuries or strenuous work. By using oil massage daily, a person is endowed with pleasant touch, trimmed body parts, and becomes strong, charming and least affected by old age.” — Charaka Samhita: Sutrasthana: V: 88-89
I absolutely loved this nurturing oil ritual and I felt so much better afterwards.
Abhyanga will definitely become a priority in my self-care routine. My plan is to prioritise my time to do it at least once a week. It is recommended to do it every day but I am not sure I can commit to that but how AMAZING would you feel!! So maybe I will try 😍. Doing Abhyanga takes approximately 15-20 minutes and the benefits of finding the time to at least try it once is totally worth it … emotionally and physically.
A fabulous way to nourish your skin with beautiful oils from nature and beneficial to do if you are struggling to make regular wellness appointments.
If you are keen to try Abhyanga and would LOVE me to make an oil blend for you with the right oils for your dosha type.
Just flick me a note HERE and I’ll be in touch. 🌸
– Crawley, R. (2012, May 4). Abhyanga: The Art of Self Love through Massage. Canada: Retrieved from http://aromaticstudies.com
Sign up for our Newsletter
Be the first to hear about latest specials, aromatherapy goodies and essential oil wisdom.
We also share our journey of establishing an aromatic garden and distilling our plants to produce beautiful aromatic waters (hydrosols).
PLUS GET A FREE $10 GIFT VOUCHER!
Published on August 22, 2018