I did this post on my natural living blog a couple of months ago and thought I should share it here:
The art of ayurvedic oil massage is called Abhyanga and it is an important daily routine in Ayurveda, an ancient Indian health theory and practice that began thousands of years ago. Ayurveda itself is a health practice that is centered on maintaining a balanced body and mind. In this ancient theory, there are a series of energies that need to be regulated within the body, one of which is Vata Dosha, an energy that controls all movement within the body. When your Vata is out of balance, this can produce feelings of anxiety and fear. When your Vata is in balance feelings of energy and vitality abound. The practice of Abhyanga helps to keep the body in balance through daily massage. By massaging the skin, which is the largest organ in the body, Abhyanga helps to provide stamina, improves the complexion, calms the body and has a myriad of other wonderful benefits.
Abyanga massage is performed with warm, herbal-infused oils prior to bathing. It is traditionally done in the morning hours in order to release any imbalances or toxins that may pre-exist from the previous day. Sesame oil or almond oil are typically used in this practice as they have naturally warming properties. Any nourishing herb can be infused within the oil. The infused oil is typically massaged onto the skin for about 5-20 minutes, and should sit on the skin after the massage for at least 5 minutes to properly penetrate into the transdermal layers.
One of my favorite Ayurvedic massage oil to make is infused with rosebuds and calendula. Also, if you have some favorite crystals, they can infuse in the oil, as well. Here is my recipe:
- 1/4 cup dried rosebuds;
- 1 Tablespoon dried calendula;
- 5-6 ounces carrier oil (i.e. sesame or almond);
- Crystals of your choosing (optional)
- In one 1/2 pint jar, incorporate the oil, rosebuds, calendula and crystals (optional);
- Cover tightly with a lid and let sit in a sunny window sill to infuse for 4-5 weeks;
- After infusing, strain the oil through cheesecloth or another fine strainer and place in another clean, 1/2 pint jar;
- Apply daily before bathing in the morning hours and feel the benefits of this balancing practice for the emotional and physical bodies.