Go On and Touch Yourself

Self-Massage (abhyanga) is one of the BEST acts of self-love you can give yourself, and teach your kids.

Here's why...

The practice of using your own hands on your own body is the ultimate healing tool in terms of keeping your skin youthful, your nervous system calm and you in contact with what your body needs. 

Every woman I know wants to feel beautiful and radiant. But, unfortunately, most women I know are also put off by the warped, media-pushed, superficial version of beauty that we are spoon-fed daily.

We're constantly bombarded with images of what we "should" look like and what supposedly defines beauty dictated by the "beauty business." Sadly, this keeps almost all of us feeling "less than," not good enough, or just plain bad about ourselves on some level. This is all while simultaneously spending money on products we hope will "fix us" or make us feel better about ourselves for a moment.

Ayurveda (the science of life) has everything to do with feeling connected and aligned to life so that we can embody illuminating natural beauty. It is so much less about living up to an illusion set by Hollywood, fashion magazines, and media standards (which is ALWAYS retouched and untrue). Everyone now has access to an editing tool in some form or another, which perpetuates the problem, especially with our young kids.

Whether or not we feel radiant, thriving, and connected to life is directly related to how we feel in our bodies.

Of course, feeling vibrant, confident, and in alignment with our higher purpose, etc., is "inside-out work." However, we're talking about our SKIN (outside-in) right now.

Ayurveda understands that our skin is the essential organ of our natural outer beauty and is connected to our feelings of worthiness. As we age and with time, things start to dry up.

Ayurveda teaches us to keep things as moist and juicy as possible. To slow this natural aging process down, boost radiance, and maintain our youthful glow, oiling and massaging our bodies as part of daily self-care practice is vital.

This daily practice of self-massage:
• tones your tissues.
• stimulates your immune system.
• improves your sleep.
• calms the nervous system, increases vitality, strengthens vision, and prevents dehydration.
• stimulates your lymph.
• promotes longevity.
• cleans and soothes the nervous and endocrine systems.
• lubricates and promotes flexibility of joints, muscles, and tissues.
• boosts self-esteem, confidence, and self-love from the inside out.
• promotes a radiant glow and healthy aging.

(Research shows that massage can decrease cortisol, a stress hormone that can be degenerative when you have too much of it. Massage can also increase dopamine, oxytocin, and norepinephrine- all known mood boosters that reduce anxiety and increase relaxation and pleasure)

Most of us are used to paying someone else or begging our partner for a back massage or a foot rub (or is it just me). As much of a massage whore as I identify as I also know that becoming my own healer is about deepening my ability to respond to what my body needs for deep nourishment. This is OUR own responsibility, yet many people put their health and self-care in the hands of others regularly. So let's start with what we can do to get the desired results.

How to Start:

Before you get dressed, rub your hands over your skin to stimulate circulation and allow your body to feel your attention and care.

Eventually, graduate to give yourself a daily oil massage to get the full benefits of self-massage. In the dry season of Fall, I love to slather my body in warm sesame oil BEFORE entering the shower, using a mild soap ONLY on the armpits and undercarriage (ever seen the movie, Bridesmaids?)

If you're in a warmer climate, opt for a lighter oil like coconut oil. Another option is to apply oil AFTER the shower, allowing the oil to absorb into the skin before getting dressed. 

Stand on an old towel, gently massage the oil onto your face, and continue down your arms and legs using long back-and-forth strokes. On your joints, use circular strokes. On your belly, use circular strokes in a clockwise direction, looking down (as this is the direction in which your long intestines move to stimulate proper digestion).

Use this time to take care of YOU. When short on time, I can do this practice in 2 minutes. It helps me slow down and tend to any tightness or sore muscles, nourish my skin, and dissolve any stagnation that can get stuck in the bigger muscle groups like hips, thighs, and booty.

The practice of self-massage is so sweetly healing, connective, and loving. Our body changes over time, so this practice teaches us to embrace these changes and incorporate daily sacred practices that heal, protect, preserve, and enlighten. I've found this practice indispensable for myself and my kids for self-improvement, self-acceptance, and long-term health.

If this is new to you, start with a 2-minute practice of rubbing oil on your hands and giving yourself a hand massage, or use a dry brush on your skin to begin the practice of self-healing. Then, carve out a few minutes before or after a shower, before bed at night, or first thing in the morning. Keep it short and sweet and build on it from there.

I hope you enjoy this gift to yourself.

In my signature program, "MIND BODY BRIGHT DAILY HABITS", we spend an entire week, dialing in this beautiful habit.