Monday, 30 March 2015

Your Daily Balance, By Theresa.

In the true spirit of our Massage Co-Op, I’m going to pick up where last month Suzy Blue left off. One of the joys of this (ad)venture, is that we each get to take on a new role per month, this brings us to try out new things, with the added comfort of our combined wisdom and support.
I must admit that I haven’t done a lot of the writing yet, so this will be an interesting part of the journey for me.
Perhaps this is another reason why I have found myself drawn to study massage. There I’ve experienced our body has another language, and indeed its own wisdom, which I’ve truly come to respect. And it is the things that we come to respect that we tend to listen to. So how could we listen to it?
One way is a quite simple method which everyone can do. It’s the practice of Self Abhyanga, or Warm Oil Massage, as recommended in the Ayurvedic texts of India. Ayurveda, which means Knowledge of Life, is about 5000 years old, but it is still in practice in India today. Its scripts contain a very in-depth and holistic approach to a healthier lifestyle. Its aim is to help restore balance, on the physical, emotional and mental level. It states that “Daily Abhyanga pacifies our temperaments; relieves internal fatigue; provides better stamina as well as sleep; enhances the complexion and luster of the skin; and indeed it nourishes all parts of the body, promoting its longevity”.
Whenever I find myself feeling out of balance or out of sorts; this practice becomes a part of my life. The recommended time is in the morning before your shower. What’s’ really lovely about this practice, is that it doesn’t need to take long; indeed, even 15 minutes every morning can be enough to help restore yourself. In the crazy kind of way that we use coffee to get us going at the start of our day; this approach seems to offer us the opposite! It pacifies and calms the nervous system, and it sets a quieter and more internal tone for ourselves. I advise you to keep things simple, using only natural oils, such as Jojoba, Coconut or Almond. My personal favourite is Jojoba Oil, which is a similar to that of the skin, for it absorbs straight away, and leaves hardly any residue.
Start first by warming your bottle of oil in a cup of warm water for a few minutes. This is in keeping with the Ayurvedic tradition, where the oils are always warmed. In the meantime, if you don’t want to use the oil in your hair, and it’s not necessary, start with your scalp, using the pads of your fingertips, and massage it in smooth circular motions. Pay close attention to the areas of your temples where you might experience some tenderness; this is very beneficial to help relieve any migraines or headaches. Using the fingertips of both hands to smooth your forehead from the center outwards towards your temples, do this 2-3 times. Then starting from the midline of your face again, gently pinch your eyebrows between the thumbs and forefingers and repeat it. Work along the areas of the jaw, the chin and your cheekbones.
Now using your warmed oil, continue your massage throughout your body. Do the hands, the arms, and shoulders and your torso using long strokes. Then go to your feet and work your way up.
Apply light pressure on sensitive areas such as the abdomen or the heart. Use more oil and spend more time where nerve endings are concentrated, such as the soles of the feet, palms of the hands and along the base of the fingernails. Circular motions over rounded areas such as your head or joints, and straight strokes on straight areas such as your arms and legs, work best.
After you're done, relax for 10-15 minutes, letting the oil and the massage do their magic. The longer the oil is on, the deeper it penetrates. During this time you could read something relaxing or uplifting; maybe sip one of your favourite herbal teas and listen to some soothing music. If your schedule doesn't allow for a daily massage, try to squeeze it in at least three or four times a week. You'll find it's worth it!

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