Nothing beats the overwhelming feeling of stress and exhaustion at the end of a day or week like a relaxing full body massage at the spa!
While it sounds luxurious and dreamy, spas are not a sustainable option given their cost and availability. While usual spas can cost as much as 50 USD to 100 USD, Ayurvedic & Herbal spas, on the other hand, can cost as much as 200 USD for one single session! And let’s not forget the wait time to book even a single session according to our own availability and comfort.
This is where Ayurvedic oils come into play as absolute saviors!
Ayurveda believes that the greatest expression of self-love is that of anointing yourself from head to toe with a warm oil massage called Abhyanga. A daily Abhyanga practice helps restore the balance of the doshas and enhances well-being and longevity.
But if you thought that is all...
Ayurvedic oils have innumerable benefits, that include techniques to help relieve bodily issues, enhance oral health, for cooking and even for direct consumption.
Let’s deep dive into 9 never-heard-before benefits of Ayurvedic Ois and how you can incorporate them in your lifestyle for a holistic wellbeing!
1. Oil Pulling
Gandush or oil pulling is a traditional practice of holding a spoonful of sesame oil and / or coconut oil in your mouth for about 15 minutes on an empty stomach. It involves swishing oil in your mouth to remove bacteria and promote oral hygiene, it is believed to pull out toxins and improve oral health.
Since Ayurveda states that teeth are directly connected to certain parts of your body, gandush is believed to be extremely beneficial for overall health as well.
In the Charaka Samhita, the ancient Ayurvedic text, this process is believed to cure 30 systemic diseases ranging from migraine headaches to asthma and diabetes.
Though other oils can be used, sesame oil is the preferred oil for this Ayurvedic practice of oil pulling.
2. Cooking With Coconut Oil
Coconut oil is great for cooking at high heat because of its high smoke point. Coconut oil is made up of healthy saturated fats and it remains stable under high temperatures. Many other oils, commonly found in your kitchen, like olive oil, oxidize when heated to a certain point, making the presence of its nutrients redundant.
3. Sesame Oil for Deeply Conditioned hair
Sesame oil has been exceedingly helpful when combined with a conditioning Ayurvedic ingredient. It keeps the hair ever luscious and healthy!
Warm the oil and combine it with any deep conditioner. Apply the mixture onto your hair and leave it on for at least one hour and rinse.
For maximum results, leave it on overnight.
4. Sesame Oil with Coconut Oil- a complete Hair Moisturizer!
One of the easiest ways to add moisture and sheen to your hair is to take care of your hair by oiling it with massages. Here is how you can do it at home!
- Combine two teaspoons of sesame oil and two teaspoons of coconut oil in a bowl.
- Using your fingertips, start massaging the oil into your scalp and then work it into your hair.
- Ensure that the entire length of your hair is covered with oil when you are done.
- Once your hair is covered in the oil blend, wrap it with a hot towel.
- You can heat up a towel by wetting it in hot water.
- Leave it on for 30-40 minutes and then rinse the oil out with a mild shampoo.
5. Coconut Oil with Curry Leaves for healthy hair
You might be familiar with the aroma-infusing culinary ingredient called curry leaves, but you might have missed the potent nature of this herb when it comes to hair health.
Not to confuse with curry powder, the curry leaf plant, native to India, Sri Lanka, and other South Asian countries, is also known as Murraya koenigii or kadi patta.
These potent leaves are believed to help with hair growth, greying of hair as well as the overall health of the hair.
Here is how you can take advantage of these ingredients at home!
- Heat the oil in a saucepan and add the curry leaves
- Warm the leaves until you see a black residue forming around the leaves. Set the oil aside to cool
- Once the oil has cooled, strain out the leaves
- Start massaging the cooled oil into your scalp and then work it into your hair. Ensure that the whole length of your hair is covered when you are done
- Once your hair is covered in the oil blend, wrap it with a hot towel. You can heat up a towel by wetting it in hot water
- Leave it on for 30-40 minutes and then rinse the oil out with a mild shampoo.
6. Oral Consumption of Coconut Oil for its amazing benefits
Ayurveda deems coconut oil as extremely beneficial that can be consumed in moderation daily.
You can eat it straight out of the jar or cook or bake with it as it is heat stable. Toss it into your soups or smoothies or make coconut butter. The options are limitless!
7. Pichu (Oil Swab) For Nourishing Joints, Spine and Head
Pichu is an Ayurvedic procedure done mainly to treat local aggravation of Vata dosha. It is considered to be good practice for dealing with Vata aggravation in the head, joints, and spine.
It is traditionally used:
- In conditions where heat and nourishment are required.
- For stiffness of the lower back and calf muscles.
- On the head to give deep nourishment in various conditions marked by Vata aggravation.
Pichu is essentially an external treatment that is performed using a cotton cloth.it is an Ayurvedic palliative treatment, targeted to treat your body ailments. Oils that can be used for pichu are sesame oil, prasaranyadi oil, tungdrumadi oil (on the head) and mahanarayan oil.
How is it done?
- A folded dry cotton cloth, sized just enough to cover the area concerned is taken
- At the center of the cloth, a hole is made, and slightly warmed oil is poured through it periodically.
- This cloth, soaked in a warm base oil or an herbal oil, is applied onto the area. Throughout the procedure, the oil is heated periodically and kept lukewarm.
- The cotton soaked in the oil is left to stay on the affected area for 20 – 30 minutes all the way through the procedure.
8. Oil Massage for strong muscles and bones
Sesame and mustard oil can be used for oil massage at home to strengthen the muscles and bones. For this procedure, you can use sesame oil, mustard oil or prasaranyadi oil.
- Warm the oil before you start, up to or a degree or two above the normal body temperature. Always check the temperature of the oil on the back of your hand. The room should be warm, and the oil should be applied either in a sitting or standing position.
- First and foremost, apply the oil to these three areas- the head, the ear lobes and the base of the feet. Here’s a short description of how to do a self-massage:
Apply oil to the crown of the head (adhipati marma) where vital energy is concentrated as this spot has maximum absorbability. Then apply on the ear lobes which have many Marma points and nerve endings. Followed by the feet which is also a seat of important Marma points.
9. Skincare with Ayurvedic Oils
Full body massage
Ayurvedic massage or Abhyanga is an extremely beneficial Ayurvedic practice that has proven its efficacy over 5000 years.
- Apply an herbal oil that works best for you on the limbs and massage with long strokes.
- Use circular motions on the joints.
- Apply on the abdomen and chest using clockwise, circular strokes. This should take 20 – 30 minutes.
- Take a hot bath after 30 minutes.
Enhances the joint motions as well as nourishment for the skin!
Under Eye Care
Use a dab of coconut oil on the under-eye bags and fine lines and massage gently. Coconut oil is gentle enough for the most delicate skin on your face! Perk-up and brighten the under-eye area with the use of this ayurvedic ritual.
- Mix half-a-cup of coconut oil with a handful of coarse salt or sugar to create an exfoliator.
- Rub it on the desired area and let the moisturizing oil stay after the grains have melted away.
- Wipe with a moist tissue.
- After one hour, take a bath.
It helps remove the dead skin cells, acts as a cleanser, increases blood circulation and refreshes your appearance!
Stretch Marks + Scars
A great Ayurvedic tip for expecting moms!
After knowing this Ayurvedic secret you will keep a jar of coconut oil with you, at all times, without fail.
Coconut oil is believed to help lighten the look of stretch marks. All you have to do is just massage the skin over the baby bump gently & regularly.
Anyone can use this as a topical treatment for scars to make them less obvious.
Please consult a qualified Ayurvedic practitioner before using any Ayurvedic oil mentioned in this article.
Ayurveda does not just focus on the body of a person, but it believes that a person is healthy only when they are emotionally, physically, spiritually and mentally healthy with a balanced composition of dosha.
It is a holistic science that draws parallels between nature and humans, believing that we are interconnected and one with nature.
It truly believes in the concept of self-care and listening to one’s own body as a valuable insight.
So, next time you have a feeling that your body needs a little extra attention and care, trust yourself and act on it! And give your body, mind and spirit a treat of the utter Ayurvedic nourishers - Ayurvedic oils!
What is that one failproof way that you swear by to take care of your body and mind after a hectic day or week? We'd love to know in the comments below!