When Winter really sets-in, I begin to notice my skin getting dry, chalky and itchy. Lips crack, my joints get stiff and my limbs can’t seem to stay warm. I begin to ‘hibernate’, slow down and eat more. In general I feel less motivated and get into a bit of a Winter ‘funk’. I begin to go out of balance of my usual ‘Pitta’ nature.
One of my favourite ways to rebalance my dosha or constitution and combat all of the above symptons with one practice is an Ayurvedic self massage called Abhyanga. This is an oil based self-massage from head to toe. It is extremely soothing, nourishing to the skin and our general sense of well-being. This self-treatment can also be invigourating by beginning with a thorough body-brushing session.
I begin by rolling my radiator heater into the bathroom to get it nice and toasty warm, then peel off all my clothes.
I’ve got a long-handled body brush with very soft bristles. I like to begin with short strokes up my toes and feet then make circular motions around joints like ankles, knees, elbows, shoulders and hips as I arrive at them, but always working my way from the extremities towards the heart. Short strokes for shorter limbs, longer strokes for long limbs, very, very gentle on the delicate skin of the face, neck and chest and nice big circles on my abdomen in clockwise direction (direction of elimination). This really gets the blood under the surface of the skin moving and I begin to pink-up nicely. Then come generous latherings of my favourite oil. You might try a beautiful nourishing argan oil or an inexpensive water-soluble almond oil. When I need a little uplifting I add a generous splash of orange oil. Apply the oil of your choice from the extremities, massaging from limbs, in towards your heart just as I do with the body-brushing. Be generous with the oil and apply it all over your face too. It really seems to plump up the skin of my face and reduce the appearance of wrinkles. I always get compliments on my complexion after regular abhyanga sessions. It is traditional to begin with applying the oil to the scalp for a really nourishing hair treatment, but I generally don’t want to wash my hair every day, so I clip my hair up. It takes about 10 minutes to complete the body-brushing and apply the oil. Now have a look in the mirror and enjoy your beautiful reflection! Allow the oil to soak into your skin for at least ten minutes or as long as possible then follow with a shower using minimal soap so you don’t strip all that nourishing moisture from yourself.
I love to give myself Abhyanga in the morning as it is a beautiful was to start the day and give myself a little kick-start.
Some benefits of Abhyanga include, but are not limited to:
* Improves elasticity of skin and overall vitality
* Reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles
* Skin feels soft, supple and moisturised
* Increases circulation
* Decreases effects of ageing
* Balances all of the doshas
* Enhances longevity and wellbeing
* Stimulates internal organs
* Improves sleep
I hope you enjoy this beautiful self-treatment as much as I do.
Why not make a difference in someone else’s life while you are spoiling yoursefl? My good friend Tammy recently traveled through Morocco and came across a women’s co-op where the kernal of the argan tree was being hand pressed into argan oil.
These ladies are either single or widowed which leaves very limited options for earning a living at their age in Morocco . The Cooperative takes orders from all over the world for it’s pure Argan oil (what’s now popular for hair these days) You pay after you receive the oil! Show your support for these ladies.
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