Talk to anyone who creates or uses natural and organic skincare and the idea of rituals will come up. Whether it be body oils, bath oils or the many ways you can use aromatherapy, all lead to rituals we can create for ourselves.
One of our key mantras is that when you have to do something every day or week, turn it into something to look forward to – a ritual. The following Ayurvedic shower ritual is easy and you can do it every week or every day. Remember that the pleasures in life are often found in the simple things you do everyday.
What is An Ayurvedic Shower Ritual?
An Ayurvedic shower ritual is based on the Ayurvedic practice of Abhyanga. This shower ritual is a warming massage with oil, followed by a rinse. We can perform it as part of panchakarma or can use it as a daily practice. Couple this with the link to the Sanskrit word sneha, which means both ‘oil’ and ‘love’, and the Abhyanga practice is a wonderful act of self-care.
There are many benefits of this type of massage: it improves circulation, releases muscle tension and helps to relax your body (and mind), all of which help you get a better night’s sleep at the end of the day and softer, smoother skin.
In Ayurveda, the skin is treated as seven layers of tissue called dhatus. As you progress through the layers, each is more concentrated and life-giving. For ‘sneha’ to reach the deepest layer, oil should be massaged into the body for 800 matras (roughly 5 minutes). For the entire body, you may need 15 minutes.
What we love about incorporating this ritual into your day is that you are effectively giving yourself a massage – every day. Sesame oil (don’t use toasted oil from your kitchen!) is traditionally the base oil for this massage, but you can also use sweet almond oil or your favourite base oil. Then just add a few drops of any essential oil you wish. We like eucalyptus, lemon myrtle and citrus in the mornings, and lavender or frankincense at night.
How to Ayurvedic Shower Ritual
Start your Ayurvedic shower ritual by drinking a large glass of water. Stand your bottle of oil in a basin of hot water to warm while you do 5 minutes of dry skin body brushing. You can add a few fresh herbs to the oil, a sprig of rosemary and thyme if you like, or add a couple of drops of your favourite essential oil.
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Start by applying a layer of oil to the entire body while standing on a towel (to avoid slipping if oil lands on the floor). Wait for a few minutes to let some of the oil absorb before massaging your body for about 15 minutes.
Begin at the feet and work towards the middle of the body. Use long strokes on the limbs and circular strokes on the joints. When you get to the abdomen and chest, use larger circular motions in a clockwise direction.
Use more oil on nerve endings, including the soles of the feet, palms of the hands and along the base of the fingernails.
Relax for 10–15 minutes, if you have time, letting the oil do its magic. The longer the oil is on the skin, the deeper it penetrates. Follow with a warm bath or shower, making sure your feet are free from oil to avoid slipping, then apply your favourite scented body oil.