In our busy world, taking the time to restore our vital energy is essential. When we forget to nourish and support the body and mind, balance is lost that can lead us to feel physically and mentally depleted.
Ancient health systems like Ayurveda stress the importance of nourishing the body and brain. If an Ayurvedic health center is not accessible or affordable for you don’t worry, there are several at-home treatments you can do yourself on a regular basis.
Some are quick and easy enough to add to your regular routine, while others take a little longer. Set aside time to test out the treatments described below to find which ones you like best.
Try not to rush through these treatments. Relax as you follow the steps. Put on some soothing music and adjust the lighting to make the atmosphere nice. Also, remember to stay hydrated. Drink water or herbal tea before and after your treatment. And make sure you won’t be distracted—you may want to turn your phone off.
1. Body Brushing
Body brushing is nice to do in the morning before you shower. It helps wake you up, improves circulation, and tones and firms the skin. For those with thicker, oilier skin, choose a natural bristle dry brush. For those with dry or sensitive skin, a gharshana glove (a massage glove made from raw silk) will feel less abrasive. While the skin is dry, massage upward with circular motions, starting at the feet and moving towards the heart. Rinse off when done.
2. Ayurvedic Facial
Nourish, exfoliate, soften, and cool the skin as you loosen clogged pores with this simple facial.
- Take a warm, moist washcloth and gently wash the face with a cream cleanser to remove dirt or makeup.
- Apply several drops of oil to your face. It could be coconut oil or any facial oil you like. Gently massage into the face and neck adding more oil as it gets absorbed by the skin.
- Bring a cup of milk to a boil and add a few drops of rosewater to the milk and whisk until foamy. Apply the foam to the face and neck. Repeat a few times.
- Simmer the milk so that it steams and use a towel to make a tent over your head, bathing your face in warm steam for a minute or two. Pay close attention to ensure the steam is not too hot. This step requires attention and care.
- At this point you can apply clay to the face. A very thin layer is ideal. Leave it on until the skin begins to feel tight.
- Using your washcloth and the remaining milk, gently wipe the clay from your face and then rinse the face with warm water.
- Pat your skin dry with a soft towel.
- Apply a thin layer of facial oil to the skin and then your favorite face cream.
3. Scalp Massage
This is something you can do yourself, or even better, ask a friend or family member to massage your scalp for you! It’s nice to do this for others too!
- Massage 1 teaspoon of warm oil into your scalp for 10 minutes in the evening—use more oil if you have long hair.
- To massage, make gentle, circular strokes with your fingertips, like if you were shampooing.
- Wrap your head in a warm towel and leave on for 5 to 10 minutes as you sit with your feet up or lying down. (To warm up the towel, you can dampen the towel with water and then place it in a casserole dish in the microwave for 30 seconds, or alternately boil water in a kettle and pour over the towel so that the towel is a little wet but not soaked.
4. Eye Treat for Strained Eyes
- Soak two cotton pads in rose water
- Lie down, close your eyes, and place one on each eyelid
- Rest for 10 minutes
5. Bath and Body Treatment
Practice this self-massage/bath treatment to relax and nourish your nervous system.
Begin with a full-body self-massage using warm oil. Coconut oil, raw sesame oil, or a light body oil are all good choices depending on your preference. The easiest way to warm the oil and dispense it is by filling a small plastic bottle and letting it sit in a glass of hot water for a few minutes.
- In the palm of your hand, apply a small amount of oil at a time
- Making small circles with your fingertips, take your time massaging the scalp first, then the face and ears. Then do the shoulders and arms, wrists and hands. Move gradually down the body, until everything is done, all the way to the toes.
- Fill your tub with warm, not hot, water. In summer you may even want to take a luke warm bath if it’s really hot out. Turn off the lights and keep a candle lit, or have no light at all. This allows the mind to slow down. Soak for 30 minutes.
- Pat your skin dry with a soft towel. You can even warm up the towel in the dryer first. Apply a rich lotion to your skin once you’ve dried off.