The Self-Massage: How to Do It, and Why It’s Awesome

 We all know how miraculous it is to get a massage: Your stress levels lower, your heart rate evens out, your muscles relax, and you can breathe more easily. Basically, you feel like your best self. Indeed, touch has important physiological effects on our systems. Among the researched effects of daily massage are improved digestion and circulation, a more balanced nervous system, smoother skin, and more luscious hair.

But not all of us can afford to head to the spa regularly to reap the benefits of a good old-fashioned rub down. As such, we’re taking a page from Ayurveda – India’s 5,000-year-old system of healing – and indulging in a little self-massage. According to ancient texts, self-massage (known as abhyanga) is an essential component of wellbeing with a myriad of rejuvenating and therapeutic benefits. While it might seem weird at first, rubbing your body is actually a totally wonderful feeling – not only does it just feel good, it’s kind of nice to know you can take care of yourself in this way.

Go on, rub those temples! 

To begin, grab yourself an organic, plant-based oil; it serves to quite literally lubricate the process, plus will leave your skin feeling hydrated and refreshed. I might be partial, but I love our Body Oil, a deeply nourishing mix of sesame, macadamia, and avocado oils. I’d also recommend coconut, olive, sesame, or almond oils – whatever works for you! Now, here’s a good routine:

  • Start at the top of your head, reveling in the relief of scalp stimulation.
  • Move down to the face, working in circular movements on your temples, eyebrows, cheeks, and ears. Head to the back of your neck and shoulders in a downward motion.
  • Next, work your arms and flow from the hands to the shoulders. It’s important to keep the movement towards your heart for the best circulation.
  • Now to your abdomen, massaging in a clockwise motion around the belly button. This step is incredibly good for your digestion!
  • To get the bottom limbs involved, use large strokes from the feet to the knees, then the knees to the hips.

Throughout the process, think circular motions on the joints and around the belly, and swooping strokes towards the heart on the limbs. If you don’t have the time for a full-on massage, test out tactics like rubbing your temples when you’re feeling stressed, or using your thumbs to kneed into the soles of your feet when your heels are aching. Small acts of self-kindness like this not only make you feel physically better, they’re great mental boosters, too!

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