19 Feb Dry brushing, oiling, massage, oh my!
Today, as I re-read Habit 6, Self-Massage, I realize how much I have come to love my dry brushing and self-massage, and how it has become part of my everyday practice.
When I dry brush, my body tingles and feels vibrant and alive. The dead cells are sloughed off to make room for new dynamic skin cells to take over. My skin glows and reflects how I am feeling inside and out. The oil I use helps me mold and massage my skin while deeply nourishing the cells that are being rejuvenated.
I am beginning to appreciate and love my body with all its imperfections and flaws. Sometimes I tell my body things like, “thank you for nourishing and taking care of me for so long, but I now give you permission to release this cellulite/bump/scar because it no longer serves me”.
I have learned that self-massage and oiling have tremendously helped my mind, body, and soul. But oiling my body on the outside is not enough. Being a Vata/Pitta person, with a very dry constitution, I’ve learned that oiling from the inside is also crucial.
This dry constitution has presented a lifelong challenge, but things are starting to change. I no longer use commercially prepared lotions that use chemicals and artificial additives to moisturize. Instead, I seek out natural oils to keep my skin ecosystem find balance.
Self-massage and your immune system
Most people are unaware that, as your skin is nourished with self-massage and oiling, you are making your lymphatic system become more functional. This equates to an immune system that works for you…not against you. Who doesn’t want that? Self–massage also improves sleep, helps with joint mobility, improves your relationship with yourself, and just feels great!
As your practice of self-massage evolves, you become more in tune with your body, and the energy channels within your body also become more open. Confidence, stability, and body awareness take you to the next level. Sleeping better, feeling more confident, and having a bulletproof immune system are huge benefits, especially in these times.
How to self-massage
Start by dry brushing and oiling your body. If you don’t own a dry brush yet, use your hands. What better way to feel your skin and its contours than with your own hands. You will discover areas of tenderness, crunchiness, bumpiness; all these areas are stagnated channels. Know that your skin is there to protect you! Your skin wants you to take better care of it!
After you have dry brushed, get some oil out. Experiment with what your skin prefers! A neutral oil like almond or sunflower oil is a good way to start. Sesame oil is warming and thick, and coconut and avocado oils are cooling. Buy organic cold-pressed, unrefined oils either at a natural foods store or online.
Start with a small amount, you can dry brush before you oil, or just start with dry brushing.
Rub some oil into your hand first to warm it up. Next, massage your legs—circling the joints and paying attention to any stagnated or stiff areas. Work your way up to your belly, chest and arms. I also massage oil into my lower back and buttocks.
If you have never done this before, start with small steps to build the habit. Kaizen your way into this practice! Start with dry brushing every morning for 5 minutes. Once you have that habit dialed in, add a few minutes to oil either your whole body or start with one body part. Gradually increase the time you spend doing this until this is just part of starting your day right!
Your skin will thank you because you are supporting it the way it supports you.