Self-care is a trend rapidly growing today. With the need to slow down from the increasingly fast-paced lifestyle we all live, the idea of caring for one’s wellness has gone past fancy trips to the spa or hours getting pampered in the salon.
The idea of DIY self-care practices dates back to a time where short, daily rituals are an essential part of holistic health.
Ayurveda is the ancient system of medicine and health care, which hails from India. The word itself literally means the science of Life (“ayur” means life and veda means “knowledge”). I first stumbled upon it when my fascination for natural ways to improve my wellbeing began to grow. Since then, I have incorporated a few Ayurvedic rituals into my lifestyle.
Oil Pulling (Gandush)
What it is: The practice of swishing oil in the mouth for 15-20 minutes to pull toxins
How to do it: I personally use organic, cold-pressed Virgin Coconut Oil for this. Swish a tablespoon of oil in your mouth as soon as you wake up, before brushing your teeth making sure to cover your teeth and gums, getting to the spots your toothbrush can’t reach. Do not gargle and be sure to spit it out in your toilet, not your sink.
What it does: Apart from putting you in a quiet meditative state for 15-20 minutes in the morning, oil pulling is great for oral health. Benefits vary from person to person but some of them include relief from migraine, cold sores, chapped lips, insomnia, etc. It also helps keep teeth free from cavities.
Dry Brushing (Garshana)
What it is: The use of a soft-bristled brush on dry skin prior to cleansing
How to do it: Using a soft-bristled brush (ones with a wooden paddle work great), start making circular motions from the top of your head working your way down to your legs and feet. Direct your strokes towards your heart (to improve blood circulation) and avoid using the same brush on your face. Proceed to cleansing in the shower. Traditionally, this practice isn’t done on the face, but there are small brushes with softer bristles available in stores, which will allow a gentler dry brushing experience for your face. Do this daily before stepping into the shower for optimum results.
What it does: Dry Brushing stimulates the skin and the lymphatic system. It gets rid of any toxin that may be blocking the pores making it easier for the body to eliminate waste through perspiration. The skin ends up glowing, softer and more supple without the need for any product. As for the face, I noticed that products I put afterwards such as serums and moisturizers were absorbed better and much faster.
Oil Massage (Abhyanga)
What it is: Not your typical massage. Traditionally, Abhyanga involves buckets of warm oil poured all over the body and massaged until the skin absorbs a good amount.
How to do it: At home, combine a carrier oil such as virgin coconut oil or almond oil with a few drops of therapeutic grade essential oils. You may come up with your own blend depending on your needs. For example, I combine Lavender with Frankincense for their calming and grounding effects. Pour the blend over the entire body and massage the oil into the skin using long strokes (no need to put any pressure). Shower afterwards.
Tip: If you want the full traditional experience, which I highly recommend, visit Arogya Ayurvedic Wellness Center in Makati.
What it does: The immediate effect of Abhyanga on me was improved sleeping patterns. For days after just one treatment, I slept incredibly well and felt so refreshed upon waking up. Other benefits include anti-aging effects on the body, the nourishment of internal organs and improved circulation to name a few.