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Ayurvedic warm oil massage

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There is something deeply soothing and profoundly nourishing when you experience a warm oil self massage. I love them. So I’m writing this post as a reminder of just how therapeutic and nurturing this simple self care ritual is. Note to self.  Do more often!

The warm oil speaks kindly to my nervous system. I can feel my body relax and let go with each gentle stroke or circular motion around the joints. The intimacy of self massage is the gift of connecting with my body, noticing my body, listening to my body, feeling into the energy of my body and profoundly supporting its health and well being.

Effortlessly, as I glide the warm oil over my skin, bones and joints, I appreciate the unseen therapeutic processes taking place – improved circulation – increased suppleness – calmer emotions and the drawing out of toxins.

The great news is my Ayurvedic practitioner Kester from Mudita Institute at Byron Bay (Australia) has kindly created a wonderful video (shown below) that talks you through the whole self massage process in around 6 minutes. I know many of you will love this video and appreciate the professional, thorough explanation. Had to share:

Visual instructions for self massage:

Written instructions for self massage

Here’s Mudita Institute’s written instructions for practising the beautiful self care ritual of a warm oil self massage (known as self abhyanga).

Oil massage improves circulation and increases suppleness of the body, expels toxins and calms the mind — which aids restful sleep.

It also nourishes and tones all the tissues and channels of the body thereby improving their integrity and resistance to disease.

Abhyanga — or oil massage — should always be performed with warm oil as this increases the absorption of the oil and so its therapeutic effect. It also prevents congestion of the channels.


Do not massage during fever, indigestion, diarrhoea, cough or cold, or on a full stomach.

Start by warming 1/2 a cup of oil by placing the oil bottle in a mug of boiled water and massage the entire body.

Feet and Legs:

Massage the feet — including the soles and the joints of the toes — using small circles.

With a wringing motion of both hands work the ankle joint and the knee.

Massage with long strokes from the ankle to the knee, then from the knee to the hip joint.

Back and Hips:

Beginning at the coccyx, massage up the sacrum (base of the spine) and out across the ileac crest and lower back.

Massage up the spine and out across the back in broad strokes and far as your reach allows.

Abdomen and Chest:

Apply oil to the abdomen in a gentle circular motion. Begin at the navel in a clockwise direction and slowly widen the circles.

Massage up over the sternum and out across the chest, flanks and collar bone to the shoulder joint (women should finish with a decreasing spiral motion around the breast).


Work the hands and arms in a similar fashion to the feet and legs, paying particular attention to the joints.


Pour 2-3 tablespoons of warm oil onto the crown and massage outward into the scalp. Pay special attention to the temples, area behind the ears and base of the skull. Massage ears from the top, along the rim to the lobes.

Relax in a warm place for 5-10 minutes after your massage before taking a warm shower. _______________________________

Peace, love and chocolate, Carole

This article appears on Midlifexpress with Carole’s kind permission. You can read more of her wonderful words at

Author: Carole Fogarty
Carole Fogarty runs retreats and you can read her blog at:

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