Wednesday, December 19, 2012

The 12 days of detox; body, mind and spirit. day 7.

On the seventh day of detox, atONE gave to me...
seven layer massages,

There are many benefits to regular massage; detoxification, improved circulation and decreased stress to name a few.  You could book a series of professional massages or simply commit to daily self-massage.  Abhyanga, anointing, is an ayurvedic massage incorporating oils.  It promotes the practice of snehana, to love your own body.  Ayurveda believes that the body is comprised of seven layers of tissue and daily abhyanga nurtures all seven layers.

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.
  Charaka Samhita Vol. 1, V: 88-89

Who doesn't want to be charming and least affected by old age?  Abhyanga involves straight strokes on the limbs and circular massage on the joints.  Try rubbing a good quality oil - sesame, almond, olive or coconut - or herb-infused oil onto the body each morning to encourage circulation.  A nighttime ritual of rubbing oil or foot butter onto the feet stimulates reflexology points and assists in releasing stress and toxins from the day, promoting better sleep.  Try a lavender-infused oil or mint foot butter to restore tired tootsies.

Use self-massage in the morning before you shower to wake up the body and promote detoxification, or at night before bath to relieve stress and ama from your day, preparing you for a restful sleep. Careful not to oil the feet before stepping into the shower or tub, or wash the oil off first so you do not slip.

Usually I split the practice, performing self-massage in the morning and a deeply relaxing foot massage in the evening.  Lying on my back on the bed, I raise both legs in the air, feet pointed at the ceiling, a modified legs-up-the-wall pose.  I lower one leg, knee bent to massage herbal foot butter onto my foot, paying attention to all parts; heel, instep, between the toes.  I then raise the massaged foot back up towards the ceiling and lower the other foot for massage, returning it to the air for a moment more of raised legs before turning in for the night.  If you have a partner, trade foot rubs at bedtime.

For self-massage, use circular motions on the ankle, straight strokes moving from ankle to knee, circular on the knee, straight strokes from knee to the hip, circular on the hip.  Move to the other leg and repeat the process.  On the belly, move with the path of the intestines, up the right side and down the left.  Then move to the hands and arms.  You can also include scalp and face if you are preparing for bed or prior to a shower.  The oils will nourish your scalp and hair while sleeping.  To rinse easily, add the shampoo before water hits your hair, wash well.  I have been known to do a school pick-up with an herbal oil treatment in my hair.

Massaging oil before a bath or shower leaves skin nicely hydrated and not greasy.  Pat yourself dry and dress for the day or slip between the sheets for a sound sleep.  Daily massage... how deliciously detoxifying.

Bonus detox tip: Make your own herbal oil.  Rose softens skin, lavender promotes relaxation and calendula assists skin healing.  Replace the calendula blossoms in the recipe with dried lavender, rose petals, peppermint, lemon balm or for a warming winter oil, try cinnamon or clove infused-oil.

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