This winter season, many of you are looking for ways to boost your immune system and relieve stress. One way to support both of these goals is through the practice of body oiling. Body oiling is an ancient technique, revered for centuries in the Indian Ayurvedic healing system and honored in the Bible, for calming and nourishing the body and bringing the element of ritual into everyday life. Elevate your daily ritual and stay relaxed, nourished, and healthy all winter long by adding body oiling to your routine.
BENEFITS OF BODY OILING
Nervous System Support. Body oiling hydrates the skin, your body’s largest organ, which is loaded with nerve endings. Hydrating the skin not only keeps your skin looking and feeling healthy, it also soothes the nervous system by keeping those nerve endings lubricated. In addition, the act of self-massage helps your muscles release tension, allowing your body to relax deeply. You may find that doing this practice before bed helps you to fall asleep more easily and wake up feeling more refreshed.
Immune System Support. Body oiling also stimulates the lymphatic system, an integral component of the body’s immune system. The lymphatic system protects the body from illness and inflammation optimally when the lymph is flowing smoothly. Self-massage with body oil gets lymph moving, cleansing the body and keeping your immune system strong. The practice of body oiling also supports the immune system indirectly by relieving stress, which has been shown to lower the body’s immune response.
Other Benefits. Additional benefits of body oiling include increased blood circulation, joint lubrication, soft and smooth skin, thick and healthy hair (when you massage your scalp), increased stamina, and decreased anxiety. For women, this is also a wonderful way to perform regular breast checks and support overall breast health. Last but not least, body oiling is a great way to show your body loving gratitude for all that it does for you.
HOW TO PRACTICE BODY OILING AT HOME
Choose your oil. Smallflower has a large selection of body oils to choose from. Some suggestions are:
Hobacare Organic Jojoba Oil - Any pure, natural oil works wonderfully for body oiling, including vitamin-rich jojoba, sweet almond, sesame, or grapeseed oil.
Bindi Premium Massage Oil - This oil is made with traditional Ayurvedic herbs, providing your body with restorative nourishment. While people most commonly ingest herbal medicines orally, the skin is incredibly absorbent and herb-infused body oils are another way to enjoy the health benefits of herbs both inside and out.
evanhealy Blue Cactus Body Oil - This oil is exceptionally nourishing and luxurious. A blend of sunflower, sesame, jojoba, and prickly pear seed oils with essential oils of calming blue tansy, sacred sandalwood, and intoxicating ylang-ylang blossoms, this oil is top of the line for healthy, younger-looking skin and a serene mind to match.
Maria Treben St. John’s Wort Oil - This traditional German remedy is wonderful for sensitive, red, inflamed, or sunburned skin. St. John’s Wort oil may also help relieve the winter blues, as St. John’s Wort flowers bloom during the summer solstice and carry the essence of the sun within them.
Kneipp Arnica Joint & Muscle Massage Oil - Are your muscles and joints in need of some TLC? This German favorite will give tired, stiff, overworked muscles and joints some much-needed relief.
Weleda Body Oil Essentials Kit - This sampler kit from Weleda will allow you to try a number of different body oils including birch cellulite oil, arnica massage oil, lavender relaxing oil, wild rose body oil, sea buckthorn body oil, and pomegranate regenerating body oil.
Choose your method. While the traditional Ayurvedic massage technique Abhyanga involves body oiling before bathing and includes a scalp massage, the instructions outlined here will focus on body oiling done after bathing. If you’d like, we encourage you to try both techniques and decide which one works best for you.
Preparation. Prepare your skin for body oiling by taking a bath or shower. Then, lay a towel down on your bed or floor and place your oil next to you. You may perform the massage either lying or sitting down on the towel.
Let the oiling begin. Pour some oil in your hands and begin by massaging the feet. Use your thumbs to apply slow, firm, circular pressure to both the bottoms and tops of the feet, and massage each one of your toes. Then move onto your ankles, calves, knees, and thighs. Take deep slow breaths as your massage, applying more oil as needed.
Continue oiling your entire body. Continue massaging your hips, abdomen, and lower back, turning onto your side as needed. Massage the abdomen and chest using broad, circular, clockwise motions. Continue massaging your hands, wrists, arms, elbows, shoulders, upper back, and neck. Keep applying more oil as needed and do your best to stay present and focused on the sensations in your body. If you are using a pure, gentle oil like jojoba, feel free to massage your face, giving special attention to your jaw and temples.
Finishing up. To finish, put on some warm socks and cotton clothes or a cozy robe. Lay still for a few minutes and simply breathe and enjoy being in your relaxed body.
Body oiling is a time-tested practice for hydrating the skin and supporting overall wellness. We encourage you to give it a try and consider making it a weekly (or even daily) practice. Also, we realize that many of you have very busy schedules, so even if you don’t have the time or energy to massage your whole body, just do what you can. Even if it’s just taking a few minutes before bed to massage your feet with oil after a busy day, this will definitely still have a rejuvenating effect on your wellbeing.