Part 1 explained the benefits self-massage or Abhyanga. Abhyanga can be performed in the morning or in the evening before going to bed, about half an hour before you have your shower. Before you begin it’s important that you warm up the oil you are using. If you have a glass bottle then you can place the bottle in a hot water bath (in a bowl). Otherwise, you can pour some oil into a small bowl and place it over a bigger bowl that contains hot water. When the oil has heated up a bit, remove it and let it cool a bit.
Start by massaging the feet first, then move up to your legs, then your knees, thighs, stomach, back and chest. Next come the arms, elbows and neck. If you want to massage your head you can do this at the end of your massage.
Feet: start with your feet and always give it some extra time. After pouring the oil on your palm, hold one foot at a time with your hands and rub the soles, in between the toes and on the nails. Massage both underneath and the tops of your feet. Use a circular motion to massage the ankles.
Legs, thighs and Knees: Use long strokes to massage legs and thighs but circular motion for the knees. Go back and forth with the palms of your hand when massaging longer parts of the body. The pressure should be firm strokes on the legs and thighs and gentle pressure when doing circular motions.
Chest, Stomach and Back: Use gentler circular motion when massaging the chest and stomach area. When doing your back, use longer strokes when applying the oil. Use very gentle circular motion over the heart area and over the stomach or abdomen area and begin from lower right to upper right – towards upper left to lower left area. You move your hand in a clockwise direction.
Arms, Elbows and Neck: Like the legs use long strokes for the arms, and circular motion for elbows and apply oil from the back of my neck to the front. Be gentle when massaging your neck. Make sure you apply oil between your fingers and on the top of your nails.
Head Massage: Pour some oil into your hands and apply on your head. Use the tips of your fingers to massage the oil into your scalp using a circular motion.
A weekly thorough body massage is a gift of self-care. On busier days you can do a quick massage. At the beginning it may seem like there is a lot to do but once you practice on a daily basis – it will be like a habit hard to skip, especially when you reap the benefits almost instantly. After your massage, you can wait a while for the oil to get absorbed into your skin or you can shower off immediately with your soap and shampoo.
Cleaning and Washing Tips after Abhayanga or Self Massage:
Always keep a towel around you or near you when practicing Abhyanga, even if you are doing it in the shower area or bathtub. This way other clothes or surfaces will not become oily.
Wash your towels and sheets daily with baking soda and vinegar (if washing by hand) or use essential oils with your natural laundry detergent.
Check out the range of ayurvedic massage oils we carry and look up our “Quick Guide” on massage oils. It will help you decide which one is right for you. www.esmeandsita.com.