Most Ayurvedic practitioners use oils as a way of administering medicine and treating disease. Typically used during the process of massage, these oils are absorbed into the skin and benefit the body and mind. In particular, people suffering from vata dosha disorders are frequently treated with disease-specific oils.
The Three Base Ayurvedic Oils
The oils that form the base of most Ayurvedic oils include sesame oil, mustard oil, and castor oil, with sesame oil being the most widely used.
Sesame oil infused with the right kinds of herbs can be hugely beneficial to the health. Sesame oil massaged on the scalp is used to treat everything from hair loss to lice, along with dandruff, scalp boils, and hair volume. Massaging sesame oil into the body is said to rejuvenate the skin, strengthen muscles, alleviate joint pain, and even cure insomnia.
Mustard oil and castor oil have fewer applications. Mustard oil is used mostly to treat skin disease, especially fungal infections and itching on the skin surface. Castor oil is also used to treat skin diseases, but it is also applied to virtually any kind of vata dosha disorder.
Ayurvedic Massage – Simple Home Techniques
The most common way of applying an oil is through massage. Massage is more thorough when practiced by a skilled massage therapist, but even self-massage using Ayurvedic oils is very helpful. Generally, Ayurvedic medicine recommends performing the massage in the morning, before a shower, in order to facilitate the release of toxins that have accumulated. Another good time is at the end of the day, still before a shower, to facilitate a healthy sleep.
You can start your massage by warming the oil in a bowl of boiled water. Using your palm, rather than your finger tips, massage your entire body with the oil. You should apply moderate pressure over most of your body, but light pressure over the abdomen and chest.
Begin at the top of your head, pouring a small amount of oil on your hands and working it into your scalp, then your face, ears, and the rest of your head. Gradually work your way down your body until you have massaged oil into even the soles of your feet. Let the oil absorb for about twenty minutes before taking a warm bath or shower.