A few months ago Vasudha Gupta, my close friend and an ayurvedic practitioner told me that my Vata was aggravated. She prescribed me a Vata balancing diet that I still follow, some herbs that are better than Zanax, and a daily oil foot massage which I brushed off. Then the Fall came and as always my skin started getting dry. While browsing through the isles of my favorite Indian spice store (Kalustyan’s), my eyes stopped at Vata Balancing massage oil. This naturally scented oil is a synergistic blend of 9 herbs, including ashwagandha, bala, sesame, and passionflower. While I felt quite content at that time I decided to still buy the oil and see what was all this buzz about a daily oil massage. And I can’t tell you how glad I am that I followed my instinct! This traditionally prepared massage oil is prepared on a base of organic sesame and olive oils, it warms and lubricates the delicate vata system, restoring calm and providing strength.
Besides making my feet baby soft, a daily night-time massage has a lot of emotional and mental benefits. It is nourishing, it makes you feel warm, and somehow it makes you more grounded. The definition of ‘being grounded‘ never made sense to me completely before I felt it. I knew the meaning of the word but it was not the experiential understanding. Now when most things that upset me or made me anxious before (think being delayed at the airport, having a huge to-do list, or a looming deadline) don’t bother my mental peaceful state, I know that I am firmly grounded. And it feels very comfortable and reassuring. I also have a lot more strength to support and inspire others, as well.
My initial buy, Banyan Botanicals Vata Oil, was good but it had a strong sunflower seeds smell that my boyfriend didn’t approve of. So as a substitute I got a pure sesame seed oil from Aura Cacia. Sesame seed oil is hot by its nature so it is a perfect winter choice for all constitutions unless you have a strongly aggravated Pitta like ulcer.
So if you feel like you could use some warmth, firmer ground, and get a better sleep give this ancient remedy a try.
HOW TO: Youthful Strategies advises to:
- Warm the oil to just above body temperature. Stand on a mat or towel which can be easily washed.
- Pour a small amount of oil into a cupped hand, rub hands together then transfer the oil to your body. Pay special attention to feet, legs, hands, elbows, and knee joints.
- Use circular motions over joints and long strokes over open areas and along limbs.
- Massaging the ears, palms of the hands and soles of the feet will stimulate nerve endings to help balance energy pathways which lead to internal organs.
- Before moving off the towel or mat, wipe excess oil from the soles of your feet.
WHY IT WORKS: Sesame oil is unique in the small size of the molecules and the way it penetrates into the skin. At any time during the day, especially after having hands in water, a drop or two, worked into the skin of hands, fingers and nails will restore softness and smoothness.
WHERE TO BUY: you can buy any oil with warming properties such as sesame, mustard oil, or universal almond oil for a daily self-massage. Most natural pharmacies and health stores carry them. If you would like to get a specific dosha oil, you can buy them at Kalustyan or online.
Try ayurvedic self-massage to prevent winter depression or post-holiday anxiety. And let me know how you like it!