In our previous article, we shared what amazing DIY tool self massage with plant oils can be. The wellness benefits range from supporting your lymphatic system (which is key to peak immune function), to improved circulation and skin tone, to promoting a deep sense of calm and relaxation. Let’s dig into how to do it, with some extra flourishes, if you’d like to add them.
Self Massage Instructions
To increase the benefits of your massage, you can incorporate dry skin brushing. Dry brushing exfoliates dead skin and gets the lymph fluid moving. Use a soft bristled brush, and stand on a towel (or in the shower). Begin with your feet, then move up your legs, to your torso, finishing with your arms (don’t forget your armpits: they’re full of lymph glands.) Use large, circular motions, with moderate pressure, brushing towards your heart. Go lightly over sensitive areas, and skip any areas with irritated or damaged skin.
When you’re done with (or don’t choose to do) your dry brushing, you’re ready to start oiling your skin. Be sure to use high-quality plant oils (sesame, jojoba, coconut or grapeseed are great nut-free picks) For added benefit, you can choose oils infused with skin-loving, antioxidant packed herbs such as amla, tulsi, neem or gotu kola.
Pour a small amount of warmed (place the bottle in warm water, or on a mug warmer) oil into your palm, and follow the order you used in dry brushing: feet first (take care not to slip, if oiling the soles), then legs, torso, and finishing up with your arms. Apply gentle, yet firm pressure, using long strokes over muscles and circling around joints. Breathe deeply and calmly, focusing on the sensations of warmth and ease throughout your body. If you have a bit more time, feel free to lie down (someplace warm!) on your towel and close your eyes.
Head and Scalp Massage Instructions
The beauty of head massage is that you can do it as a stand-alone practice, or have it as part of your daily self massage routine. The most therapeutic products for scalp and head massage will be infused with herbs known to promote skin and hair health, such as gotu kola, amla, and holy basil. Other good oil choices for head massage are jojoba (won’t clog pores), sesame, coconut (warm it up first), and almond. If you tolerate essential oils, some good picks are lavender (relaxing), rosemary (circulation boosting), lemon (energizing) , and peppermint (pain relieving and cooling). Just a few drops of essential oil mixed into your base will add the benefits of aromatherapy to your ‘mini spa’ experience.
Dip your fingers into your warmed oil, then apply them to your scalp, using firm yet gentle pressure. Move your fingers around your head in small, circular motions, allowing the scalp to move freely over your skull: aim for a 10 minute massage for maximum benefits. (If you can let the oil stay on your scalp and hair for a while before shampooing, all the better) Next, massage your face gently, smoothing across your forehead, circling over cheeks and chin, and stroking upwards from your jaw. Firmly massage your earlobes to finish.
Now you’re ready for a nice, warm shower (use gentle soap sparingly, so as not to undo all the good of the oil on your body), being careful not to slip as you get clean. Pat yourself dry, marveling at the outrageous softness of your skin and how calm and grounded you feel!
Let’s recap what you’ve gained, in less than half an hour:
- You’ve helped calm and rebalance your nervous system
- You’ve accelerated your body’s detoxification processes
- You’ve increased circulation to all your muscles and joints
Just Can’t Find The Time?
If trying to work self massage into your regular routine is seeming like too large of a task, never fear: there's a way to get some of the benefits, in an even more abbreviated way.
When you're getting ready for bed, pour a small amount of oil onto your hands, and massage deeply into the soles of your clean feet. The soles of your feet are rich in nerves and acupressure points, and a small, easy to reach site of absorption for all the goodness of oils. (We’re talking about infused plant oils, NOT undiluted essential oils here).
Last, and definitely not least, you have invested in your mental and emotional health through this regular act of self-care. Pretty impressive for a practice you can fit into your regular routine without too much fuss, right?