Ayurveda is a holistic healing tradition from India, which, like Chinese medicine, dates back as far as 5,000 years. Abhyanga is ayurvedic oil massage practiced as a daily ritual for overall health and well being. Ideally, it’s done before bathing in the morning.
- calms the nerves
- nourishes the skin, improves the complexion
- promotes deeper, more restful sleep
- increases energy
- lubricates the joints
- improves elimination of toxins from the body
- increases circulation
Overall, it’s soothing and is said to promote longevity. If you’re feeling stressed with the busy-ness of the holiday season, this is a great ritual for calming agitation and grounding the spirit.
1 cup ghee (clarified butter, found in health food or Indian grocery stores) or sesame oil
½ cup mixed turmeric, fresh ginger, lotus root, fresh basil, cloves, and fresh orange peel, in any combination
Essential oils (optional): jasmine, basil, orange, rose
1. In a small saucepan, heat the ghee or sesame oil gently until it’s starting to boil but not smoking.
2. Stir in the mixed herbs and remove from heat.
3. Cover and let steep for 1 day. Strain the oil through a coffee filter or a double layer of cheesecloth into an airtight container.
4. Add 5 to 8 drops of essential oil, if desired.
5. Massage into the entire body before bathing
Excerpted from Inner Beauty, by Reenita Malhotra (Chronicle Books, 2004).