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Self-Massage (Abhyanga)

Updated: Oct 11, 2023

Massage oils, oil warmer and dry brush on a bathroom counter
Tools for Self-Massage

Self-Massage (called Abhyanga in Ayurveda) is a nurturing habit that decreases anxiety and increases self-love. It also benefits your immunity by stimulating the lymph system, it increases circulation and is calming and detoxifying for your body.

The best time for abhyanga is right before you bathe or shower.

If your skin tends to be fairly oily, consider simply rubbing your hand over your body before getting into the shower or try dry brushing if you have one. Make long strokes down your arms and legs and loving circles around your joints. Don’t forget your torso too!

If your skin tends to be dry, use oil directly on bare skin. Use the same method as above, but instead of dry hands, you are massaging in the deep hydration of oil.

Wondering what oil to use for Self Massage? A cold-pressed, organic oil (food grade) is the best place to start, but avoid anything with chemical fragrance added). If you tend to be a bit cold blooded or the weather is cold, use a warming sesame oil (not toasted, you don’t want to smell like a stir-fry). In the summer, or if you run a bit hot, you might want to use cooling coconut oil. There are lots of other good oils, so I encourage you to experiment. I often make a blend of sesame, sunflower and almond oil, then add a couple drops of essential oil ( I like grapefruit in the morning and lavender in the evening)

I do this almost every day before I take my morning shower. I tend toward cold/dry skin, so in colder weather, I warm my oil using a ceramic butter warmer (see the picture). About 1 minute is all that's needed to warm the oil to a comfortably temperature. It’s a very hydrating and soothing practice and it feels amazing.

Tip - once in the shower, don't get crazy with the soap! Save it for the few areas of your body that actually get dirty or stinky and simply let the oil remain on the rest of your body.

Warning – it does make your tub/shower a little slippery, so be careful. I keep a spray bottle of very diluted Dawn dish soap mixed with a little rubbing alcohol on the edge of my tub. I use it to spray down the tub after I shower, then rinse it well. Occasionally flushing your drain with hot water & vinegar keeps you drain clear of oily build up.

This is a lovely self-care habit. Give it a try ASAP!



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