Ah, the busyness + bustle of the holiday season is again upon us and if we could figure out how to stay balanced it would be way more enjoyable. Would you believe me if I said two ancient, simple practices could leave you at the end of this holiday season with glowy, toned skin, and a feeling of vitality, alertness, and lightness? All you need are a dry brush for the skin and organic sesame oil. It’s so simple. And, in a complicated, busy world, simple + slow is the perfect antidote to overload + overwhelm.
If you can carve out ten to fifteen minutes a day before your bath or shower, your body and mind will reap numerous benefits almost immediately. If you haven’t yet picked up the practice of dry brushing + Abhyanga, now is the time with the demands of the holiday season steadily increasing. Every day, we can balance out the chaos before it even happens with quiet, intentional care of the largest organ of our body.
Dry brushing clears pores, exfoliates, detoxifies, increases circulation, and rejuvenates the nervous system and so much more. Done regularly, it can give our skin a glowy, toned, and tightened appearance. I know, I am always striving for that! Some dry brushing benefits are noticed immediately, such as a subtle glow and improved color with an increase in circulation. And, with regular practice, there are other beneficial changes that come about more slowly like anti-aging, stronger immunity, and vitality. Since the lymphatic system is self-circulating, it needs a little help to keep it in motion. Without proper attention, this system becomes stagnant which is when toxins begin to build up and affect our health. So, ten to fifteen minutes before bath time, grab your dry brush, remove your clothing and starting at the ankles, begin to brush toward the heart using long strokes of your dry brush. Brush your legs, your stomach, back, chest, hands, and arms. Always brushing in the direction of your heart. Remember to wash your brush once a week and allow it to dry thoroughly before the next use.
Don’t hop in the bath or shower just yet! Grab your organic sesame oil, warm it under warm water from the faucet and begin the Ayurvedic practice of Abhyanga or self-massage. Abhyanga is the perfect follow-up after dry brushing because it helps to keep the lymphatic system moving and nourishes the skin with the hydrating properties of organic sesame oil. With the warm oil gently poured into the palm of your hand, begin at the feet and slowly massage upward. I save the bottoms of my feet for last. Then the abdomen, chest, back and hands, arms, shoulders, and neck. Abhyanga stimulates the circulation of the blood and lymphatic system, which oxygenates your muscles and skin and boosts lymphatic drainage. Stress is relieved by lowering cortisol and increasing endorphin levels. Have a seat on the side of the bathtub or steady yourself against the bathroom counter to massage the bottom of your feet and toes with oil that is already on your hands. You only want the slightest amount on the soles of your feet to avoid any slips in the bath or shower. Now, you are all ready to step into a relaxing bath or into a steamy shower!
Committing to this daily practice will leave you feeling more grounded, centered, and attuned to yourself. You will decrease your toxin load and water retention. And, your body and mind with become more harmonious with one another. Be intentional with this luxurious act of self-care and you will certainly reap rewards greater than you may have anticipated or thought possible. If you have trouble with sleep, committing to dry brushing, abhyanga and a bath with Epsom salts and lavender essential oil could have a significant impact on improving your sleep. Hot flashes during the night? Coconut oil is more cooling than sesame oil, so a switch could be helpful if temperature regulation is an issue keeping you awake at night. Give it a try, you will love it, especially during the busy holiday season! xxo!