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Oiling your body: Moisturize your skin the Indian way
11 Feb 2022
Oiling your body: Moisturize your skin the Indian way image

What if I asked you to apply oil on your scalp, feet, and ears daily? How many of you would just take a second look at me and say duh?? Let me give you a glance at the history of oiling and its benefits.

The modern way of living has pushed us so far away from traditional practices that some of them have been obsolete and some have re-emerged. Ancient India had a rich tradition of medical literature and Vaidya (Sanskrit term for doctors) held an important role in society so Ayurveda was the science that thrived and fulfilled the needs of the sick and ailing. 

The flora and fauna that existed during that time period served as medicines in the form of decoctions (Kashaya), fermented preparation (Arishta), oil (Taila), and various other forms.  Oils became an integral part of disease management particularly in the Southern part of the subcontinent. It was not just a medicinal preparation used to treat diseases but was also used by healthy people.  It was used by warriors and also persons receiving training in martial arts. 

How to use oils?

  1. Select an oil that suits your body type.
  2. Oil should also be in accordance with geographical location and climate.
  3. Warm it (do not heat directly, double heating).
  4. Apply a small amount of oil on the scalp, ears and hands, and feet (avoid the bottom part).
  5. Use your fingertips to gently massage the warm oil on your scalp.
  6. Then apply oil on the palms and gently rub your palms together.
  7. Apply oil on upper arms and forearms. Give gentle pressure on your joints, shoulders, elbows, and wrists)
  8. Similarly, apply oil on legs starting from hip joints and ending at the toes.
  9. Oil has to be applied to the upper back and lower back. Assistance is required to do so.

How much time should the oil be retained?

  1. Depends on the health status and body type. For eg: Children and the elderly can retain oil for around 25 minutes while middle-aged persons can retain it for 10-15 minutes.
  2. The number of days in a week – Depends on job nature, work schedules, and health status hence it would be beneficial to do it at least 2 times a week.
  3. Morning or evening? – This can be done according to your convenience and it would be good to perform an oil massage after workouts in the morning so if an oil massage is to be done in the evening, it should be between 4-5 pm.

Water for a bath?

  1. Use warm water to bathe the body.
  2. Coldwater/ room temperature water is suitable for washing the head.
  3. Herbal powders can be used to remove oil from the body.

When not to use oils?

Some of the instances where oiling is to be avoided are:

  1. Fever, cough, cold.
  2. Any kind of infection.
  3. Allergic to oil bases.
  4. Immediately after food intake.
  5. During episodes of indigestion.

Benefits of oil application

  1. Improves skin texture
  2. Promotes muscle health.
  3. Improves blood circulation
  4. Flushes out toxins.
  5. Reduces stress
  6. Ensure sound sleep
  7. Improves mood and general well-being.

How to choose an oil that suits your skin and body?

Generally, skin texture and health status are important factors in selecting oils. Seek help from a registered Ayurveda practitioner for the right prescription.

Try this Ayurveda way of healthy living and let us know. Call 1800 889 2559

Dr. Israa Ismail Ahmed

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