Abhyanga, or self-massage, is one of Ayurveda’s most important practices. The numerous benefits of abhyanga, including balancing the doshas, calming and steadying the body and mind, and grounding the nervous system, make it an important part of a healthy lifestyle. Knowing your current state of balance can further support an oil massage by guiding you to the right oil for maximum benefit. If you are unsure of your doshic balance, the Ayurvedic Profile™ quiz will support you in finding the perfect oil for your body type.
One of the most important qualities of self-massage is using warm oil. It’s not just about moisturizing—it’s about getting the vata-balancing qualities of oily and warm into your life, and onto your skin. Here are four ways to warm your oil, guaranteeing a perfectly warm, but not-too-hot oil, that can be easily and quickly incorporated into your daily routine.
Placing Oil Bottle in a Mug of Hot Water
This is a simple method that can be done at your bathroom sink. If you are using a smaller bottle of oil, you can fill a mug with hot water and place the oil bottle into it. If you are using a larger bottle of oil, pour the desired amount of oil into a glass or plastic bottle and place it in a mug of hot water. Your oil should warm up within 5–10 minutes. Exercise caution when removing the oil from the mug—sometimes the water on the outside of the bottle can still be quite hot.
This is one of the easiest ways to warm oil to the perfect temperature. You will need two glass or thin ceramic bowls that will nest into each other. Pour enough hot water into the larger bowl so that when the smaller bowl is placed inside of it there is just enough water to gently touch the bottom of the bowl, but not overflow. Then pour your oil into the top bowl. Gently swirl the oil with your fingers, and after a minute or so the temperature of the oil in the top bowl should be just right.
Using a Massage Oil Warmer
Investing in a single bottle massage oil warmer can be a convenient choice. These devices usually use plastic bottles, are plugged into a wall socket, and automatically control the oil temperature. They can usually stay on overnight, so the oil will be warm and ready for use the next morning. It’s a good idea to do some research and pick the oil warmer that meets your needs.
Warming with a Candle Holder
There is also the option of purchasing a massage oil warmer bowl that can be warmed with tea lights. Since this type of warmer uses an open flame, it can’t be left unattended. If this method fits your lifestyle, you can incorporate a ritual of lighting the candles as you prepare for your massage. This can deepen and help bring a more meditative quality to this practice.
Banyan offers a wide range of traditional. organic Ayurvedic oils for you to choose from. Consider either an herbal massage oil or a classic carrier oil, depending on the type of experience you’re looking for.
No matter the choice, warming the oil will enhance your self-massage experience. As the scent of the oil is activated, your mind and your senses are preparing for what’s to come. By soothing your body with calming oil or uplifting it with a more invigorating oil, you are preparing to meet whatever comes next from a place of grounded balance.