Strengthening the immune system in times of COVID-19
Self massage to strengthen the immune system
The current situation around the coronavirus (or COVID-19) shows once again how important a healthy immune system is. The consequences of an infection depend not only on the intensity of a virus, but also on the ability of the own immune system to react to it.
Ayurveda includes a whole range of health-promoting practices that anyone can use at home. These include the preparation of type-appropriate nutrition, the composition of herbal preparations, the performance of body therapies and the general promotion of the balance between nature and biological clock. Based on the inner and outer rhythms, the sages of India (so-called Rishis) have created an ideal daily routine (or Dinacharya). To maintain physical and mental health, it is essential to organize daily life according to these natural principles.
A core element of Dinacharya is the full body oil massage, which is easy to perform and requires little time. The massage stimulates circulation and metabolism, strengthens the immune system and calms the nervous system. In addition, the Abhyanga (as the whole body oil massage is called in Sanskrit) refines the complexion and thus has a rejuvenating and detoxifying effect. By heating the massage oil, it is able to penetrate into the cell nucleus and bind waste products. These waste products are then excreted through the excretory ducts such as the skin or the gastrointestinal tract. To help the skin detoxify, it is important that the body is made to sweat after a full body oil massage (this process is also called Svedana). This is best done at home with a bath or a warm shower.
Abhyanga could be described as “big oiling with loving hands” and is one of the most beneficial and effective treatments of Ayurveda. The massage form is not only used for medical purposes, but also as an everyday massage in Indian families.
Traditionally, matured sesame oil is used because of its antioxidant, nourishing properties and its high penetration power. In order to make the sesame oil more fluid, it is heated to 110 degrees for a short period of time (as a preventive measure, high-quality sesame oil is sufficient). The selection of the herbal oil is primarily based on the findings of the constitution test – depending on the Dosha that needs to be treated, a different oil is suitable. The Abhyanga thus becomes a kind of phytotherapy and has an additional high therapeutic benefit.
When should you do the full body oil massage?
It is recommended to do the massage in the morning or in the evening to allow enough time for rest and relaxation. In addition, the massage should be performed at regular intervals, approximately once or twice a week. Especially for people with a Vata constitution or those suffering from acute stress, regular application can provide a lot of inner strength and stability.
What is the overall aim of the whole body oil massage?
Basically, the massage is not about strong massaging of the muscles. Rather, it is about pampering body and mind through harmonizing, gentle, even movements and thus creating a deep, inner balance.
For whom is the full body oil massage suitable?
The full-body oil massage is suitable for everyone. However, it is important that the state of health at the time of the planned massage is evaluated individually. A full body oil massage is not recommended if the person has the following symptoms: fever, basic inertia, acute fatigue and severe overweight. In general, a dry massage (also known as Garshan massage) with raw silk gloves is more recommended for overweight persons.
Instructions for the full body oil massage
For a massage you need about 50ml oil.
Sit comfortably on a stool in a pleasantly warm room and spread a bath towel under you (so that the oil does not drip on the floor). Start your massage with your head and end with your feet. The joints, head, chest and abdomen are massaged with circular movements, while the muscles are massaged with lengthwise movements.
Drip some oil on the top of the head and massage it in circular movements. Then start to massage the entire scalp from the middle parting outwards to the ears in small, circular movements. Gently massage the ears with the fingers up and down, paying particular attention to the back of the ears – these help to calm Vata. Now, place your fingertips up and tap lightly all over your head. Then gently pull your hair – this will help the blood circulation. Finish the head massage by gently stroking backwards from the base of your forehead.
Begin with flat, transverse strokes on the forehead, then linger at the temples with gentle, circular movements, then move to the cheeks. At the chin, stroke across again and massage up and down along the sides of the nose with your index fingers. Finally, stroke the neck.
Body, legs, feet and back
Circle around the chest with both hands in opposite directions. Then walk to the belly and massage in circles with the flat of your hand only to the right. Continue to the right leg by massaging the hip joint at the same time. Then stroke along the thigh, around the knee, over the lower leg and finally around the ankle. Stroke the sole of the foot vigorously and reach between the spaces of the toes. Now, massage the right leg in the same way from the bottom to the top. Stand up and massage the buttocks muscles with circular movements. Finally, tilt your upper body forward and circle symmetrically with both hands along the back in the kidney area before sitting down again.
Massage the right arm with your left hand. Start at the shoulder and work your way forward to the fingertips. Proceed in the same way as for the legs. Now, massage the left arm in the same way. After you have spread out your whole body, connect your right side of the body with the left. To do this, stroke with your left hand first over your right arm, then over your stomach, towards your left leg and back again. Do the same with the other side.
The oil will be absorbed into the skin after a few minutes. Once this is done, wait for about 15 minutes before taking a warm bath or shower. Now wash the oil off with a washcloth without soap, so that a fine protective film remains on the skin.
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