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Body oiling or Abyhanga is the Ayurvedic technique of self-massage & oiling your body. I am far from an Ayurvedic expert – in fact, it was the lovely ladies at Alchemy Oils who first introduced me to this practice – but I am always down for a good massage.
Body oiling involves massaging yourself with oil (recommended daily though I’ll be honest, making it a daily practice is a challenge) and is said to ward off ageing, improve sleep, benefit deep tissues and a host of other benefits. Personally, I try to oil my whole body as often as possible – I suffer from horrendous dry skin and I’ve found it incredibly beneficial, but if I’m in a pinch I’ll usually oil my hands, feet and ears/neck (each have their own benefits), as they’re my most affected areas.
Here are 10 benefits of body oiling:
- Improved skin condition – body oiling can help to heal dry and flaky skin, improve skin circulation and improve tone and pigmentation.
- Benefits sleep – oiling is incredibly relaxing which can help to improve sleep if you’re someone who struggles to wind down
- Improves your mood – using specific essential oils can be energising, relaxing, soothing, or sensual. You can tailor it to your own needs!
- Benefits sore muscles – oiling is great if you suffer from soreness, stiffness, aches and pains when done correctly. Great after a long day or tough gym session!
- It gets your back in touch with your own body – one of the main benefits I found when I started this practice was noticing how often I actually touched certain parts of my body, especially the bits I wasn’t so keen on. It’s a strange one to think about, but often we completely neglect bits of our body that we’re not so happy with, and body oiling really put me back in touch with those parts. It let me take care of some of my hang-ups too! My poor dry legs got some much needed TLC and I can’t express enough how wonderful gently massaging your abdomen can feel when you don’t like your stomach much. It can be tough at first, but it’s a great practice for when you need a little extra self-love in your life.
There’s a really great informative article on the Ayurvedic benefits of Body Oiling, how and when to do it here on Banyan Botanicals.
How To Oil Your Bod
Body oiling is a simple practice – warm your oil slightly and massage away! The oils you use are entirely up to you – I mix it up with pre-made oils vs mixing my own depending on how much time I have. I like to start from the feet up as I would with body brushing, which is a whole other post. The pressure to work with depends entirely on what you like – work your muscles as you feel necessary and comfortable. Usually, I spent a minute or two per body part, but I work a little harder on particularly sore parts, areas that are dry, or on areas that are freshly shaved (I’ve noticed this seems to massively reduce the irritation I usually deal with after any sort of hair removal). Afterwards, wear loose clothing or a robe that won’t get too sticky, and let the oil work its wonders!
Which oils to use for body oiling
In Ayurveda, the oils used can be tailored depending on your Dosha, but since I’m still not an expert I’ll often stick to plain oils and add my own essential oils depending on my needs at the time. I use avocado oil, sweet almond oil, or jojoba oils, and add whatever essential oils I feel like. Here’s a list of my most “essential (ha) essential oils.
Sometimes, I opt for a premade body oil – one I’m really loving right now is the Inner Senses Tranquil body oil, which comes with all the good stuff ready mixed for when I want all the benefits without the time spent counting drops. It contains a super soothing mixture of Lavender, Neroli, Petitgrain, and Mandarin. It’s quick to absorb and smells divine, so there’s less sticky bedsheets or pyjamas as I get ready for bed. Inner Senses have a whole range of blended oils to soothe and moisturise the skin as well as provide all of the mood-boosting benefits of essential oils and floral extracts – I’m a huge fan.
Other oils I’ve loved trying in the past include the Human Kind All-in-One body oil, Isla Apothecary’s Jasmine Sunset Radiance Body oil, and the Yoghanda Muscle Soothe Oil.
Have you ever tried body oiling? Will you be giving it a go?