Tips for a Beneficial Daily Massage + a DIY Oil-Rub Recipe

In a perfect world, I would get a message! I can only dream.

In the meanwhile, why can't I train my own fingers to do the job? In Ayurvedic medicine, self-massage (aka: abhyanga) is a technique that has been used for years to promote health and a sense of well-being. For those of you who don't like the idea of being touched by a stranger, self-massage is the answer, 

With a few simple techniques, you can reap the benefits of self-message at home. 

Tips for Self-Massage

A. Treat the massage like a meditation. Keep the awareness on the part of the body you are massaging to release any tension or pain. If you start to think and become distracted, bring it back.

B. Do the massage slowly and intentionally.

C. The massage pressure you use is up to you. Pay close attention – your body knows. Some days firmer pressure might feel good, and other days lighter pressure might feel better.

D. Self-massage can be done with or without oils, and if you choose to use oil, the type you choose matters. According to Ayurveda, if you tend to run hot, coconut oil is cooling. If you run cold, try sesame oil, which is warming. Always choose chemical-free, organic, cold-pressed oils.

E. Start at the crown of the head and massage the scalp. Ayurvedic tradition places heavy emphasis on massaging the head and neck because there are so many “energetic points” located there.

F. Continue to add small amounts of oil as you massage. For the arms and legs, use back-and-forth strokes. On the joints, use circular strokes. For your belly area, do circular strokes in a clock-wise motion (looking down at your belly). This is the direction our intestines move and it may stimulate proper digestion and elimination.

G. Slowly move down the body, giving attention to each area. Ideally, spend 15-20 minutes giving yourself loving, soothing touch. If time is an issue, five minutes will work, but be mindful of the spots around your body you skip. Bring your focus to those areas next time around.

H. Don’t forget the soles of your feet!

I. Don’t leave the oil on more than 45 minutes because this can clog the channels you’re trying to cleanse.

How To Create Your Own Massage Oil-Rub

1st: Choose a carrier oil. Use ¼ cup.

  • Sesame oil is considered the ‘king of oils’ and is inherently warming. If you tend to run hot, coconut oil is cooling. Almond oil is another option.

2nd: Add 2 drops of the ‘top note’ oils

  • Lemongrass (supports healthy digestion, purifies and tones skin and nails, repels insects)
  • Eucalyptus (soothes tired, sore muscle)

3rd: Add 10 drops of the ‘middle note’ oils

  • Lavender (calming, relaxing, soothes occasional skin irritations, may ease feelings of tension)
  • Rosemary (supports healthy digestion, supports healthy respiratory function, supports energy levels)

4th: Add 1 drop of the ‘base note’ oils

  • Peppermint (promotes healthy respiratory function & clear breathing, may alleviate occasional stomach upset, used for oral health) 
Massage relaxes muscles and releases tension, and always always remember to breathe. 
Kelly Harrington, MS, RDN
Registered Dietitian Nutritionist for Healthy Goods

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