It’s been awhile since I started using body oil instead of body lotion, and my skin has never looked or felt better. It’s such a simple change, but has made all the different, especially during winter, so I wanted to share why you need to switch from body lotion to body oil (like, yesterday)…
Abhyanga: Ayurvedic Oil Massage
After studying Ayurveda – one of the world’s oldest holistic (“whole-body”) healing systems from India, I made many lifestyle changes, one including switching from body lotion to body oil.
Why? Well, one of the lifestyle/beauty practices within Ayurveda is a daily oil massage that you do yourself, called “Abhyanga”, ideally done before your morning shower.
In old Ayurvedic text, it says, “Give yourself a full-body oil massage on a daily basis. It is nourishing; pacifies the doshas (your body type); relieves fatigue; provides stamina, pleasure, and perfect sleep; enhances the complexion and the luster of the skin; promotes longevity, and nourishes all parts of the body”.
“The body of one who uses oil massage regularly does not become affected much, even if subjected to accidental injuries, or strenuous work. By using oil massage daily, a person is endowed with pleasant touch, trimmed body parts and becomes strong, charming and least affected by old age”
The Benefits of Abhyanga
- Increased circulation, especially to nerve endings
- Muscle tone, strong body tissue, and firm limbs
- Moves the lymph (which can only be moved manually – it doesn’t happen on its own) which helps with detoxification.
- Calming for the nerves: Abhyanga is amazing for calming your entire nervous system. The more you do it, the more of a difference you’ll see!
- Lubrication of the joints
- Enhanced vision
- Makes hair grow thick, soft, and smooth
- Increased mental alertness
1. Abhyanga Detofixication
Abhyanga on a daily basis is an amazing way to detoxify your body. Massaging your body with warm oil helps loosen toxins from the soft tissues in the body, which then helps them be removed by our bodies through elimination.
If you combine abhyanga with daily exercise, then abhyanga can help with healthy weight management and be an effective daily detox. Abhyanga also works with your daily workout by toning the muscles and getting your blood circulating.
2. Softer, smoother skin with reduced wrinkles
Using oil creates a buffer between your skin and harsh toxins/chemicals in the environment. You’ll notice less dryness, cracking, and bruising because of the hydration and lubrication your skin is getting.
3. Increased levels of stamina throughout the day
When you massage your body, it boosts your metabolism, which helps nourish and replenish skin tone and muscles, helps your internal organs function at their best, aids your body in flushing and removing toxins, and energizes the cells of your body.
4. Better, deeper sleep at night
The oils used in the Ayurvedic massage are heavy, warm, calming, and grounding- all amazing for deep sleep.
5. Nourishment for your whole body
Body lotion is usually made from a combination of oil & water. Water causes bacteria to form which then makes the oil go bad.
To keep lotions from going bad, they have to have some kind of preservative. That preservative is *usually* never natural, unfortunately, whereas when using an all-natural oil – you know exactly what you’re putting on your skin (your largest organ).
What Type of Oil to Use?
There are a lot of different oils you can use. In Ayurveda, technically you should use different oils for different Doshas (your body type) and seasons, but that’ll be a post for another day, so I’m going to give you some options you can choose from below:
- Sesame oil
- Almond oil
- Sunflower oil
- Coconut oil
- Jojoba oil
- Argan oil
- Rosehip oil
I add in my own essential oils to the carrier oils (the ones listed above) to give it a beautiful scent. Here are a few different essential oils you could use:
- Ylang Ylang
- Palo Santo
How to Do Abhyanga
- Before or after showering, pour 1/2 cup oil into a small cup and add a few drops of your favorite essential oil. Mix it around with your finger. Rub a quarter-sized amount of oil between your hands to warm it up.
- Starting at the top of your toes, massage the oil into your skin working your way up to your heart. Massage oil into skin like you would if you were getting a massage, working into your muscles. Ideally, you spend 10-15 minutes massaging the oil in, but whatever amount of time you have works.
- Allow your body to absorb the oil into your skin for 5 minutes before putting showering or putting clothes on.
- Repeat daily.
This is just one way you can incorporate Ayurveda into your daily lifestyle and start reaping the benefits of this ancient healing system.