In Sanskrit the word ‘sneha’ means both oil and love. So, by oiling the skin you are being saturated by love!
In Ayurveda, Abhyanga, is the ancient art of self-massage, with herb infused oils. The idea is to massage warm herbal oil into the entire body and relax for a few minutes while the oil penetrates deep into the tissue layers. Then, follow with a warm bath or shower.
It takes a good 15 minutes to do this, so it is a bit time consuming. Make it a goal to slow down and find the time for this practice at least once a week. You will be amazed at the benefits!
You can also try it while you are in the shower. Massage a generous amount of oil over the body and let warm water run over you without soaping up. It does make for a slippery tub, so be careful.
Another option is to apply oil after your shower, especially to the really dry areas like elbows, knees and feet.
In Ayurveda, there are special oils for each dosha which you can try if you know your particular dosha. I like to make my own herbal infused oils (even if they aren’t Ayurveda compliant). There are so many great oil and herb combinations to play with but I tend to use a lot of Comfrey, Calendula, Tulsi, St, Johnswort, Rose, Dandelion Flower and Lavender. You can also just as easily purchase ready-made oils that are terrific.
So why should you take the time to oil your body? Here are a couple of great benefits:
Calms the nerves
Since the skin is full of nerve tissue, oiling the skin has a calming and soothing effect on the entire nervous system. If the skin is dry, the nerves don’t function as well. The more often you do it, the greater the effect will be.
Better, deeper sleep
If you have trouble sleeping, try massaging your herbal oil into your skin right before bed.
Abhyanga is a great way to detox. Massaging with warm herbal oil helps get toxins unstuck from the soft tissues in the body.
Its always great to have more “me time”! By making this practice a self-care priority, we are telling ourselves that we deserved to be cared for and loved.