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Traditional Oil bath for Preventive Health

Updated: Jun 19, 2023

Oil bath is an age-old practice which has been neglected these days due to our fast paced and imbalanced lifestyle. .At present, many people are facing lifestyle problems such as stress, depression, insomnia, grey hair, hair-fall, dandruff etc. As per Ancient literature from Ayurveda and Siddha, one of the reasons for such problems is excess BODY HEAT generated by our food habits, work style, sleeping pattern and other habits. So it’s important to regulate and reduce excess heat regularly through daily routines. Good news is, off late many such old-gold practices are gaining momentum to overcome such problems.

Benefits of oil bath:

Oil bath, comes with tons of health benefits. Medical benefits of oil bath are; clearing dead cells, activating hair follicles, reducing body heat, balancing hormones and improving blood circulation, while therapeutic benefits include improvised sleeping, calmed mind and relaxed body. Other cosmetics benefits are; removing dirt from hair, providing glowing skin and making hair smooth and shiny and delaying graying. It also helps to remove dandruff flakes, reduce hair damage and control hair fall.

Oil bath in our tradition:

The Oil bath, also called Abhyanga Snana in Ayurveda is a highly revered health technique from antiquity in India. In the ancient Siddha medicine system of South India it is known as “Yennai Kuliyal”. Apart from these formal medicine systems, the oil bath ritual is deeply woven into the cultural fabric of India, across all its regions. The Diwali Oil bath is a very special ceremony for health and prosperity that is widely practiced even today.

There was a complete system around the oil bath ritual , which involved selection of the right day for Men & Women, the specific oils and herbs, the Shloka to be recited for longevity, the days on which Abhyanga was contra-indicated and of course the post-Abhyanga pathya diet.

How to take Oil Bath:

Oil massage should be done within 3 hours from Sunrise and it is preferred to be taken once a week. Traditionally, for Men the ideal days for taking oil bath are Wednesdays and Saturdays while for Women it is on Tuesdays and Fridays. Any day is good to take an oil bath than not taking it.

Traditionally sesame, coconut, castor and mustard oils are used for oil baths. Generally, sesame or gingelly oil is best suited. However, a mixture of oils from any of the mentioned oils can also be used.

  • Oil should be slightly heated before using..

  • Apply oil generously on your entire body and start massaging. Begin at the extremities and working toward the middle of your body. Use long strokes on the limbs and circular strokes on the joints. Massage the abdomen and chest in broad, clockwise, circular motions. On the abdomen, follow the path of the large intestine, moving up on the right side of the abdomen, then across, then down on the left side.

  • Give a little extra time and attention to massaging the oil into your Head, ears, and feet. Apply oil to the crown of your head (adhipati marma or Kondai Kolli Varmam) and work slowly outward in circular strokes. Oil applied to the head should be warm but not hot.

  • Put a couple drops of warm oil on the tip of your little finger or on a cotton ball and apply to the opening of the ear canal.

  • After massaging the oil, let it set for 30-60 minutes. People with a medical history of sinus, migraine or prone to frequent cold, cough & fever can leave the oil for about 10-15 minutes.

  • Expose to mild sunlight after application of oil

  • Enjoy a Hot water bath or shower.

Oil bath is incomplete without Herbal bath Powder / Nalangu Mavu or shikakai mix powders. The traditional shikakai powder comes with a goodness of ingredients such as reetha, thulasi, neem, hibiscus, fenugreek, vetiver, green gram, arappu and amla. Avoid soaps and shampoos and opt for warm water shikakai for bathing.

When NOT to Do Abhyanga

While self-oil bath is beneficial for most people, its not recommend during certain time and for certain People. During pregnancy is not recommended. Similar it’s best avoided during the menstrual cycle, but good to do after cycles.

Reach out to Life to live wellness to know more about similar preventive and practical lifestyle changes that can help you to keep your body and mind healthy.

Be Healthy. Stay Home and Stay Safe!! Transform yourself from Being to Well-being

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