May Well Be Humankind's Oldest
Form of Healing
Ayurvedic massage comes from the art form of healing and longevity called Ayurveda (eye-your-vay-dah). This healing art has been practiced for thousands of years in India where good health and goodwill are abundant.
Massage may well be humankind’s oldest form of healing. Think about all the times you’ve bumped your arm or other part of your body, what’s the first thing you do? You rub it or massage it, right?
In India, many families gather together each week to give each other a massage. How wonderful it would be if we treated our family and friends as well! Massage can fulfill our universal need for touch and without touch we cannot thrive.
Virtually anyone can do this massage for themselves yet it is more beneficial if you receive a massage from someone who will impart healing with caring through their touch.
According to Deepak Chopra, pioneer in mind/body medicine and co-founder of the Chopra Center for Well-Being in La Jolla, Ca, “The skin is biologically active and is rich in hormones. When we stimulate the skin we can cause literally, a shower of healing chemicals into the bloodstream.”
Remember virtually anyone can do this massage for themselves yet it is more beneficial if you receive a massage from someone who will impart healing with caring through their touch.
Ayurvedic Message Benefits
Some benefits may include:
Strengthen the immune system
Stimulate the lymphatic system which delivers nutrients to the body’s cells and carries cellular debris away
Decrease blood pressure in those with hypertension
Satisfy the need for caring and touch
Increase mind/body awareness
It is said the benefits of a massage can last for up to a month. If you’ve ever been to a massage therapist you might agree!
The techniques are quite simple yet there are some things to remember:
Bring the massage movement up towards the heart.
Never massage on any type of wound, including varicose veins.
Women of childbearing years should avoid massage during their cycle. The body is already experiencing an incredible process of cleansing/detoxification and renewal.
Drink several glasses of water to facilitate flushing of the toxins released from your massage. If you do not, you may feel terribly ill as the toxins will recycle back through your body.
Keep in mind diuretics such as coffee and other caffeinated drinks increase your body’s fluid requirement.
Ayurvedic Message Oil
You may enhance your massage experience with the use of essential oils. In Ayurveda, oils are an integral part of health and healing. These oils are obsorbed by the skin, your body’s largest organ. Depending upon which essential oil you use, you will feel relaxed or invigorated. You can purchase essential oils at health food and supplement stores and also here. Be sure and study a bit if you’re unfamiliar with essential oils. You will discover there is a vast difference between essential oils and fragrance oils.
Massage oil preparation:
Select a clean glass jar and set aside. In a medium bowl, begin with approximately ½ c. of carrier oil. The carrier oil is the base of your massage oil. Use unrefined and organic sesame oil or sunflower oil. I like to use sesame oil as it is a wonderful antioxidant. Add smaller amounts of soy, flax, jojoba and/or hemp (¼ c. or so) if you’d like. Exact proportions are not necessary.
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I prefer to use a blend of these or sesame oil alone.
The essential oils you choose will be determined by your preference to their aroma of course. These fragrances give emotion to the atmosphere and are used in minute amounts as they are highly concentrated.
If you would like a relaxing massage you might try lavender, rose geranium, basil, ginger, marjoram or chamomile. For a stimulating massage add several drops of jasmine, citrus or bergamot. If oil on your skin does not appeal to you, you can opt for a dry massage without oil. It is also beneficial to the body.
Procedure for giving yourself a massage:
Warm your oil by placing the container in a glass or bowl of very warm water for several minutes. Warming your oil will help your body to absorb it more readily.
Sit on a towel or your yoga mat. The oil can stain clothing and bedding so be careful.
Begin at the crown (top) of your head. Using your fingertips massage gently in a circular motion. Continue massaging the entire head; sides, temples, back of head and near the base of the skull.
Place a bit of oil on your palms and proceed to the face. Take your forefinger its side and rub back and forth across the forehead 10-20 times with short vigorous strokes.
Come down to the area between the eyebrows (known as the third eye or eye of intuition) and use the same procedure as the forehead.
Place your middle finger below the bottom lip and your forefinger above the chin. Perform 10-20 short strokes.
Massage in Circular Motion
Massage shoulders and all other joints in a circular motion.
Massage upper and lower arms using long back and forth strokes. Always massage upward towards the heart. Perform 10-20 strokes.
Massage the breasts gently in a circular motion. Begin in the middle massaging outward around the breast. If your breasts are tender forego this area. Always listen to your body, it will tell you what it wants.
To massage your abdomen, place your middle finger in or on your navel and feel for your pulse. It’s okay if you cannot feel your pulse. Count to 8. Using your fingertips massage gently around the navel. The second time around the navel, use your entire hand. Repeat with left hand in the opposite direction. This can help with digestion and to dispel false hunger pains.
To massage hips use a circular motion 10-20 strokes.
Buttocks and legs are massaged in long strokes toward the heart 10-20 times.
Massage knees, elbows and ankles in a circular motion 10-20 times.
Soles of the feet are best massaged by using your thumbs in a pressing motion. Work also the top of the foot in gentle strokes for there are vital reflex areas there as well. Massaging the heels of the feet will stimulate the sleep center of the brain. This is very beneficial to a cranky baby.
Leave the oil on as you do some light exercise such as yoga.
Bathe or shower using only mild soap such as castile or olive oil and only where you really need it.
In the morning it is best to start your day with a massage as it will get you going after a night’s rest. You can even do some before getting out of bed. Once you get into the habit of daily massage and feel its effects you will want to do it every day.
As a very enlightened soul once remarked concerning peace,
“It is not a matter of faith, it is a matter of practice."
When we are ready to honor and love ourselves we will do our best to care for the person that houses the soul.
Many are discovering its healthful benefits as we endeavor to become more spiritually and physically balanced and content.
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