Spring is a time of renewal and rejuvenation. As the seasons change, it makes us naturally want to cleanse. We may feel the urge to get rid of old clutter in our houses and make space for the new, so why not do this in our body as well?
Ayurveda views this tendency to purge as something very significant: a powerful and natural movement within; to adapt to the upcoming change in our environment. Ayurveda honours and supports that the body wants to do something different as the seasons come and go.
Moving from a season that is cold, rough and dry (winter) to one that is warm, wet and damp (spring) definitely affects our body and it’s not always an easy transition. We’ve most likely accumulated some toxins from excess food consumption over the colder months or let our immune system take a beating from one of those nasty flu’s. We can find ourselves feeling heavy, grumpy and dull as the sunlight finally starts to crack open our hard winter shell. All the more reason to take advantage of these grey,rainy shoulder-season days and get ahead of the game by purifying our system.
One of the main detoxification treatments in the Ayurvedic healing is warm oil massage known as “abhyanga”. These Ayurvedic healing practices were written in the Vedic texts and have been followed in India for thousands of years. The ancient Indian physician, Sushruta, wrote this about oil
massage (translated from Sanskrit) :
“Oil applied on the human organism imparts a tone and vigour to its tissues, in the same manner as water furnishes the roots of a tree or a plant with the necessary nutritive elements, and fosters its growth, when poured into the soil where it grows. The oil penetrates into the system through the mouths of the veins and the ducts of the body, as also through the roots of the hair, and thus soothes and invigorates the body with its own essence.”
Pretty Neat, huh?!
Here are 3 of the main ways that oil massage detoxifies the body:
1) Loosens Toxins: Friction applied to the body with warm oil starts to stimulate the vulnerable lymph, located closely underneath the skins’ surface. The lymph nodes are related to our immune system which may be blocked by excess toxins. During the massage, these toxins start to loosen and flow into the digestive tract where they can eventually be removed from the system through the bowels.
2) Increases Digestive Fire: Ayurveda refers to our digestive fire (“agni” in Sanskrit) as the source of life. Every imbalance or disease can be traced back to poor digestive function making our “agni” the most important area of focus for optimal health. Massage stimulates the activity of all major organs, including the ones we use for elimination; liver, colon and large intestine. Special massage on the abdomen (known as “nabi abhyanga”) can relieve constipation and sluggishness, making way for the production of positive gut flora.
3) Releases Stress: Abhyanga is not only focused on the physical body, but the mental and emotional components that go into healing as well. There are many receptors on the skin connecting to the nervous system. Applying oil to the skin with a soothing touch allows the mind to become calm and open to receive the loving attention that it needs. Energetic treatment through specific points on the body called “marma”, allow important neurotransmitters in the brain to fire, releasing stress from the entire system.
Those are just a few examples of the many benefits that Ayurvedic massage has to offer. You can start applying oil to your body every morning at home in the form of self massage OR better yet, come receive a massage from our certified Ayurvedic practitioner, Alison Evin, at Wild Woods Wellness!
Alison has done all her Ayurvedic massage and detoxification training from a traditional school in Kerala, India and is excited to share this healing system with everyone in the Kootenays. She is available most week days til 9pm and on Sundays as well. Book online or by phone to begin your spring detox, now!