No matter what the season or the condition, self-oil massage or, abhyanga, is a supportive practice in any season to keep your Self in balance and feeling vital.
Abhyanga is the Ayurvedic practice of therapeutically massaging the body with oil. The oil is usually warmed and applied to the body before you take a bath or shower. For thousands of years people have used abhyanga to maintain health, benefit immunity and overall well-being.
Coconut oil is excellent for high pitta (fire/water), or in the summer season. Sesame oil works best for high vata (air/space) or kapha (earth/water) or in the autumn, winter and spring.
To begin, warm the oil in a pot on your stove – be careful, it gets hot fast. Pour the oil into a container (a glass jar works well) that you can keep in a bowl of hot water to maintain the oil’s temperature. You will want to use enough oil to cover the body, a ½ cup should suffice, but you can adjust that if needed.
For high pitta, you may not want to warm your oil. Instead, take the coconut oil right out of the jar. It will liquefy as it comes into contact with your skin.
Lay a towel down in your tub. Then apply the coconut oil or warm (not hot) sesame oil over your body until fully coated. Sit down on your towel to fully rub in the oil. Work from your extremities, the feet and hands, inward toward your heart and solar plexus surrounding the navel. The massaging of the oil should take about 15 minutes to do a thorough job. Allow the oil to sit on your skin as long as your day allows, then take your bath or shower. You may smell a little like a roasted bird at first, but don’t worry—the smell goes away with the shower and you’ll be so nourished it won’t matter anyway!
This is a wonderful practice to employ daily, if that’s feasible for you. If not, start with once a week and see what happens. It is meant to leave you feeling soothed.