Oil massage is balancing and soothing to the nervous system and the whole body.
The skin is the largest organ of the body and is capable of producing the most hormones. When gently massaged, the skin produces calming hormones (just the opposite to the “flight or fight” hormonal changes associated with stress).
The effects are subtle but cumulative. This massage is an ayurvedic massage used for thousands of years.
The Oil: Use cold-pressed sesame oil, available from your health food store. Ideally, it should be “cured” before using (see instructions below). The oil should be warmed before each use. If the oil is kept in a small plastic bottle, placing the bottle in hot water can easily warm it. IF you can’t get sesame oil, you can use cold pressed olive oil or ghee but it should still be warm.
The Technique: Use the open flat part of your hand (not your fingertips) to massage your entire body.
In general, use circular motions over rounded areas (joints, head) and straight strokes over straight areas (neck, long bones). Apply moderate pressure over most of your body and light pressure over your abdomen and heart.
1. Start with your head. Pour a small amount of oil on your hands and massage it into your scalp. With the flat part of your hands, use circular strokes to cover your whole head. Spend most time on the head.
APPLY A SMALL AMOUNT OF OIL AS YOU MOVE FROM ONE PART OF YOUR BODY TO THE NEXT.
2. Face and outer ears, more gently than the head
3. Front and back of neck and upper spine
4. Arms, more vigorously. Remember, a circular motion on shoulders and elbows, back-and-forth strokes on upper and fore arms.
5. Chest and stomach, gentle circles over your heart and abdomen
6. Back and spine
7. Legs, more vigorously
8. Bottoms of feet. As with your head, you can spend more time on this important area.
The Duration: For maximum benefits the oil should be left on the skin for 20 minutes and on the scalp for one hour. This can be inconvenient and messy though, so often people don’t massage their scalp or hair. Every bit helps. If you can’t do a full massage daily perhaps you can do one occasionally.
The Follow-up: Follow your oil massage with a warm bath or shower, using a mild soap.
Simplified Version: Oil just the FOREHEAD, the CHEST around the heart area and the BOTTOMS of the FEET.
Continue to use the flat of your hands with circular motions.