Why Does a Daily Oil Massage Detox & Rejuvenate You? and More… – your SV Ayurveda Newsletter May 13, 2021 – #18, Vol 11

Detox & Rejuvenation
~ transdermally ~
Warm Oil Massage
Nowhere is the science of ayurvedic transdermal healing better illustrated than in the chapter on Abhyanga. Abhyanga is the time-tested ancient method of massaging the body with warm herbalized oils to make the limbs supple, relax and energize the mind, build resistance to physical and mental stress. Massage, when it’s done right, relieves fatigue and stress, relaxes the muscles, calms the mind, improves circulation. It is ideal to get one massage a week, or even two if you can. But if you can’t afford to get the time for one, or can’t seem to find that perfect therapist who does not leave you bruised after a too deep-tissue massage session, you can do it yourself! Doing it yourself in the comfort of your own home each morning, or at least once, or twice, per week is the best ritual you can adopt for self-care. The benefits are innumerable:
  • transdermally nourishes the body with minerals and nutrients – depending on the herbalized oil you are using;
  • pacifies all the doshas;
  • relieves fatigue;
  • provides stamina;
  • induces deep restful sleep at night;
  • promotes longevity and decreases the effects of aging;
  • Improves circulation
  • Reduces Stress and gives mental clarity
  • Strengthens Immune system
  • Rejuvenates and moiturizes all 6 layers of the skin making it smooth and supple enhancing the complexion and the luster of the skin;
  • Supports fat metabolism
  • Supports and rejuvenates fascia and eliminates tightness
  • Lubricates and nourishes the joints
  • Calms the nerves
  • Tones the muscles
  • Improves body circulation overall and helps with cold hands and feet
But why does oil massage help with Detox?
Vaidya Mishra explained that the ancient ayurvedic healers were ahead of us! They already knew, thousands of years ago, that a wide range of toxins are lipid soluble. What does this mean? Simply that even without the availability of our modern technology, they understood that many toxins settle and make residence in the fat tissue and get carried and dispersed through the fat molecules. In this sense, the fat tissue and fat molecules of the body easily become the host for these “fat soluble toxins.” When allowed to sit for extended periods of time, these toxins may cause irreversible damage.
For this purposes, when Vaidya formulated an herbal massage oil, he extracted the lipid soluble molecules of the herbs into the oil and coupled them in such a way that they would carry a detoxifying or “shodhana” effect along with the nurturing, “santharpana” and pacifying “shamana” properties. So self-massage with an herbalized oil is the best way to detoxify and to nurture your body. The benefits of oiling your body were known to ancient cultures and it’s time we brought this timeless practice back for its healthful properties. An oil massage:
  • Rejuvenates the body through the skin, by nurturing the tactile nerves through physical touch as well as the delivery of herbal ingredients
  • Reinvigorates the body by enhancing circulation again each morning
  • Detoxes – aids in the discharge of toxic buildup resulting from the night of sleep as well as longer accumulation of deeper tissue toxins
So when you should do it? It is recommended to do a morning oil massage before taking your shower – daily!  You can select the oil based you use upon the whole body skincare program for your age group (and any special needs you may have. 

When Is the Best Time To Do It?
Abhyanga, bathing, and detox can be prescribed for different times of the day according to individual needs and/or seasonal considerations. If you want to do Spring Detox, we recommend starting with a bath the evening before the day of detox. You may also do a bath on the day of detox, mornings are best as they set the tone for the rest of the day, opening channels, initiating detox, and supporting the process through the day. You will feel mentally and emotionally stronger too. However, you may also take a bath in the afternoon, after a gentle abhyanga. Best to avoid doing abhyanga in the evening on your detox day UNLESS you are continuing your detox the next day. In general, on regular work days, it is ideal to do a quick daily abhyanga as the benefits are cumulative. It’s better to do even 5-10 minutes of daily abhyanga ritual than 50 minutes once a week. Your body learns to let go of junk before it becomes accumulated, heavier, and harder to evacuate. Not to mention safer: you catch and escort out the toxic build-up before it has a chance to travel deeper into your tissues and hide there! If you skip a day, it’s ok, don’t feel bad! Just get back to it the next day. The trick is this: once you know something is good for you and you decide to adopt it as part of your daily ritual, do it NO MATTER HOW YOU THINK YOU FEEL that day – don’t give in to your mind’s excuses. Discipline is key. You deserve 10-15 minutes of daily pampering, don’t you?

How It’s Done: Step by Step !
WARM YOUR OIL slightly in the sink by keeping it under hot running water, or in a baby bottle warmer. Warm oil calms and pacifies the body and mind right away, also facilitating absorption. Pour a little warm oil into your palms and apply it onto the area you are working on.
START FROM YOUR TOES: It’s a good idea to start from the feet and the toes first and work your way up, to massage your entire body.
APPLY even gentle pressure with the whole hand — palm and fingers. If you feel some areas are tight and need a more firm grip, apply some more pressure. The pressure should always be to your personal comfort, it should not hurt. Start light and increase pressure when and where needed. You can apply more pressure when swiping down and out and lighter on the upward direction. You want to support the evacuation of used up Prana that flows down and out. In SVA, we ALWAYS go down and out. We also never go up on the spine – always downwards - unless there is a specific local issue/problem where you are focusing on a muscle etc. When massaging sensitive areas such as the abdomen or the heart, use very light pressure. Circular motions on chest area are best done clockwise; same for the lower abdomen. Go in circular motions over rounded areas such as head and joints, and straight strokes on your arms and legs. For arms and legs massage outward from core to extremities.
DO NOT RUSH Speed is a very important factor: going slow and gentle will allow the body to relax and release, and the mind to settle down. If you are in a rush, it’s best to skip the massage lest your rush through it.  
FINALLY, OIL YOUR HEAD. Use one of Vaidya Mishra’s SVA oils made especially for hair and scalp. Warm it up as well. 
Leave the oil on for 20 minutes. Cover yourself. You may leave the oil on for longer but you must cover your head with a cotton scarf or towel and make sure you warm and stay away from cold drafts. The longer the oil is on, the deeper it penetrates.
It is very important to follow your abhyanga with a relaxing warm shower to remove excess oil and toxins that got released through the skin.
When you want to do an abhyanga, but don’t have time, do the quicky version: massage only arms and legs and your lower back. It is ideal to indulge in a full body massage, at least once a week; but if it is just not happening, it is then best to at least get a quick massage on your limbs and lower back every morning. It is not recommended to do this at night or after the sun sets.

Dr Lisa Raskin was our guest lecturer and spoke about the neuro-toxicity of some vegetables from the nightshade family. We were all reminded why we choose to avoid tomatoes, potatoes, eggplants, and bellpeppers! She shared some memories and anecdotes from her time with Vaidya Mishra. It was a powerful and delightful session. We look forward to doing many more courses with her. Her presentation was followed by another enlightening talk by Elisabeth Innes, on Dinacharya or daily Rituals for Self-Care as well as the role of nutraceuticals for health.
The talks were followed by Q&A and sharing. We continue our Spring Detox with many more expert ayurvedic teachers in the weeks to come.
Did you miss signing up for detox this Spring? No worries, you can catch up in Autumn 2021. We will be announcing our next seasonal detox shortly. We look forward to having you join us.

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