Sourced From: Lifespa.com Dr. John Douillard

Daily self-massage, called Abhyanga (ah-bee-yon-guh), is a powerful way to calm and disarm the nervous system while activating detoxification pathways. Traditionally, herb-infused sesame oil is used to lubricate the skin and coat the nervous system with a soothing and protective layer against the elements. This allows us to walk through our days more centered and calm. Benefits include:

• Lubricates and promotes flexibility of the muscles, tissues, and joints

• Promotes softness, youthfulness, and luster of the skin

• Provides oils that beneficial skin microbes need to survive, and boost immunity, complexion, and function of the skin

Massage has proven to decrease stress hormones and increase bliss, as well as love and bonding hormones. In one study, oxytocin (the love and bonding hormone) increased by 27 percent and cortisol (the stress hormone) decreased by 24 percent.

1. Head Massage: Start by massaging your head. Place a small amount of oil on your palms and begin to massage the scalp vigorously with the palm of your hand. The head and the feet are considered the most important parts of the body to massage, so really take some time here.

2. Face and Ears: With the open part of the hand, gently apply oil to your face and outer ears.

3. Neck: Massage both the front and back of your neck, and the upper part of the spine. Continue to use your open hand in a rubbing type of motion.

4. Body Application: Apply a small amount of oil to your entire body before proceeding to massage each area of the body. This has the added benefit of letting the oil have more time in contact with your skin.

5. Arms, Hands, and Fingers: Massage your arms. The ideal motion is back and forth over your long bones, and circular movements over your joints. Massage both arms, including the hands and fingers.

6. Chest and Abdomen: A very gentle circular motion should be used over your heart. Over your abdomen, use a gentle circular motion following the bowel pattern. In other words, moving clockwise from the right lower part of the abdomen up toward the right upper part of the abdomen, over to the upper left, down to the lower left, then over to the lower right (down on the left, up on the right).

7. Back and Spine: Massage your back and spine. There will be some areas which you may have difficulty reaching. Do the best you can, or ask your partner for help.

8. Legs: Massage your legs. Like the arms, use a back and forth motion over the long bones and a circular motion over the joints.

9. Feet: Lastly, massage the bottom of the feet. The feet are considered especially important, so give them some extra time. Use the open part of your hand and massage vigorously back-and-forth over the soles of the feet

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