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I am going to be completely candid here: I was not fond of Ayurvedic body massage oils before. I always thought they would be too greasy for my skin, they would have a smell I wouldn’t like, and I didn’t see the underlying body oil massage benefits. There were way too many myths, too many inhibitions, and misconceptions I had about them, seemingly from just information around. That was until I actually tried them and educated myself about Ayurveda! After this, I was shocked to realize that all of the myths and reasons I had in my head over the use of Ayurvedic massage oils were misconstrued, or simply a result of misinformation.
Body massage oils used by Ayurveda have existed for centuries. They were part of a routine to attain an ideal lifestyle back in the day, and the range of multifaceted body oil massage benefits they offer is guaranteed to astonish you! Today, I have decided to bust the most common myths I have heard about Ayurvedic massage oils. Hopefully, this will open up your mind about not just Ayurvedic massage oils, but the benefits of a body massage oil in general. Ready? Let’s go!
Myth 1: Ayurvedic massage oils are thick and greasy
Do you have oily skin? Ah, that would make the dread of grease understandable for you. This is something that is said about most ayurvedic massage oils - they’re too thick for the skin, they’re greasy, they will get all over your bedsheets and pillows. Does this mean that only people with dry skin can use the benefits of ayurvedic massage oil on the body? Absolutely not!
The Real Truth: Body massage oils are not designed to merely act as lubrication. These massage oils are made to suit certain problems, and in Ayurveda, they are based on your dosha imbalance. Therefore, there exist Ayurvedic massage oils in all shapes and sizes! What I mean is, while a lot of base oils meant for body massage may be thick, they are often concocted with lots of essential herbs that are put in the oil for specified physiological problems to suit one’s uses and to give multiple body oil massage benefits. This also dilutes their consistency significantly.
To add, the thickness of oils compared to other moisturizers is essential during a massage. This is what ensures that an ayurvedic massage oil takes its time to absorb into your muscle tissues to activate their healing and strengthening. Massages are often followed by warm showers that wash away the grease of oils and instead leave behind smooth, radiant skin and stronger muscles.
Myth 2: Ayurvedic massage oils probably don't smell good
I don’t know if you have personally heard this, but I definitely heard it enough to believe it for years! There is an age-old myth about our lovely traditional medicinal system that claims that Ayurvedic medicines are always bitter and pungent in taste. From this myth arises the presumption that Ayurvedic massage oils definitely smell terrible. And oh boy, are they wrong!
The real truth: While it is true that Ayurvedic medicines do not always taste the sweetest and loveliest, aromatherapy is an age-old practice in Ayurveda! The medicinal system preaches the use of naturally fragrant herbs, flowers, and trees in its body massage oils. Now, why would a therapeutic oil that has been designed to heal through its aroma smell bad? Sounds silly now, doesn’t it!
That’s not even the best part about Ayurvedic massage oils! Just like it does for its physical consistency, the aromatic concoction in body massage oils is specified as per dosha imbalances in Ayurveda. For the Pitta dosha, Ayurveda recommends soothing essential oils with peppermint, jasmine, ylang-ylang, and lemongrass. For the Vata Dosha, it recommends a little warm aromatic such as cinnamon, sandalwood, basil, cloves, or camphor. Finally, for the Kapha dosha, it recommends spicy aromas such as those of cloves, tulsi, black pepper, and cedar.
Myth 3: Body Massage Oils are good only in winters
Dry skin is often found to be at its worst in the colder seasons, which is why people tend to believe that using Ayurvedic massage oil on your skin is optimal in winters. Body oil massage benefits are generally believed to be utilized with warmed-up oils in the winter season. Oils are also believed to be something that warms you up, which is why honestly, this myth is understandable. However, it does not mean that you can’t use ayurvedic oil massage oil in summers!
The Real Truth: Believe it or not, not all oils are warming in nature! As explained before, in Ayurveda, medicine is based on balancing the three doshas - Pitta, Vatta, and Kapha. Certain seasons often see an increase in one of these doshas. In summers, Pitta dosha or the fire imbalance is at its highest strength! BUT, since ayurvedic massage oils are designed to be dosha-specific, they are automatically suitable for certain seasons. Pitta dosha massage oils such as coconut oil or peppermint essential oil can act as a cooling agent for your body. Coconut oil is popularly used on the scalp in summers thanks to this exact cooling property it possesses.
Additionally, skincare can be difficult to master when it is scorching hot outside. You don’t want to wear body lotion only to have it mix with sweat later on. This is where a good Ayurvedic body massage oil can come in handy before you go to shower! Not only will it wash away toxins, but it will also make sure your skin is getting its fair share of moisturization and nourishment in the hot season. Look for body oil massage benefits that you would derive even in this scorching summer and you won't regret it.
Myth 5: Oil Massage once a month is good for my body
There are many body oil massage benefits, however, body oil massage oils are often seen as a luxurious thing because of their association with spas today. Other people may see body massages as a kind of self-care that needs to be done just once a month for stress relief. This is a flawed understanding of the objectives of Abhyanga.
The Real Truth: If you are looking to optimize the body oil massage benefits, I’m afraid, once a month is simply not enough! The ancient practice of body oil massages in Ayurveda specifically is known as “Abhyanga”, which was recommended by Ayurvedic sages, not just for the wellbeing of your skin and muscles - but overall immunity, mental wellbeing, and spiritual wellbeing. Applying oil to your body was believed to be an act of “Sneha”, as in, love for yourself. Traditionally, Abhyanga massages are recommended 4 to 5 times a week for optimal wellbeing.
Considering the stressful life, we live in the 21st century, our need for stress management and self-care is at an all-time high. This is why I recommend you invest in good Ayurvedic body massage oil and use it at least twice or thrice a week. The body oil massage benefits you will see on your muscles and skin will make it all worth it!
Myth 6: Oil Massage is only for legs and arms
This is a practice followed because many view body oil massages as similar to applying lotion on your body. Others may believe that since it is your legs and arms that you (visibly) use for muscle activities, it is only essential to oil your arms and legs.
The Real Truth: There is a good reason why we call massage oils “body oils” and the art of massaging “body massaging”. You see, there are pressure points all over your body. The objective and body oil massage benefits are not merely moisturizing your body, but getting to appropriate pressure points, relieving any pent-up stress and tension in these points, relaxing your entire body, and increasing blood circulation. Besides, a body oil massage benefit is to strengthen your muscles and make them more resilient. Your shoulders, lower back, and even your stomach require their share of body oil massages so that you truly bask in the glory of the herbs and benefits of Ayurvedic massage oils.
The Ayurvedic art of body oil massages, called “Abhyanga” serves the objective of overall spiritual, mental, AND physical wellbeing - not just serving as an alternative to moisturizers and pain relievers.
Myth 7: Body lotion is better than Body massage oils
If I got a rupee for every time people have said this to me when I recommended them body oil massage benefits, I would probably be insanely rich! There is often an assumption that since oils are thick, it is better to use body lotions for all skin lubrication needs and body massages. And while I bear no ill-will to my favorite moisturizers for face and body, and body lotions too, I must defend my favorite Ayurvedic massage oils here!
The Real Truth: Body Lotions and oils have different purposes - there is no way to declare one better than the other. Yes, it is certainly true that body lotions absorb faster and seem to give lubrication just like oils do. However, lotions are something that is to be used to add hydration to your skin. This enables them to add water to your skin but they do not necessarily create a barrier on your skin that will stop this hydration from escaping your skin and evaporating into the atmosphere.
This is where body oils come in - oils are occlusives (barriers) and serve the purpose of locking in the hydration of body lotions. They are what make hydration last in your skin.
Other body oil massage benefits such as increased blood circulation and stress relief act as bonuses! Body Lotions are much easier to apply without any effort and therefore it is easy to miss a thorough massage when you use a body lotion. Body oils, because of their thicker consistency, typically require being massaged into the skin for proper absorption. This is one of the reasons why benefits are more popular than massages that use body lotions.
Myth 8: Body massage oils will clog pores
Oils are accused of being too thick, too sticky, comedogenic, and the biggest pore-cloggers. Is there really anything in the skincare community that has people more disputed than oils? Are they good for your skin or bad? They provide lubrication and good moisture - but oh no, they clog your pores and cause skin problems! Or…. do they?
The Real Truth: Often, the overproduction of sebum (associated with oily skin), is a means through which your skin fights dryness. Often people with oily skin develop a habit of washing their face more than required to combat oil on their skin. And often, what it leads to is more oil production on the skin. Now, now, I am not saying that you caused your skin to be oily. One’s skin type is declared to be oily on good past evidence. What I’m saying is, oils are not your enemy! They are produced by your skin to protect your skin from damage. The real cause for clogged pores is unattended dirt, pollution, bacteria, and inflammation.
Ayurvedic massage oils have herbs specified to balance the Kapha dosha, which is the natural imbalance associated with oily skin. Granted that you should definitely be careful about how much oil you use on your skin and how long you keep it on, in the long run, body oil massages benefits can actually aid you in oil control and prevention of acne.
Myth 9: Body massage oils cannot use on face
This is a myth pretty similar to other myths we have already discussed. But I think it is time to answer the age-old question of whether oil on the face is a completely bad idea or simply a misunderstood blessing.
The Real Truth: There exist some really thick oils out there that are used as carrier or base oils in body massage oils such as coconut oil, jojoba oil, or olive oil. BUT there are also much milder oils that have been diluted with the goodness of several herbs, so that they can be used on the face. An example of this is the popular Kumkumadi Tailam, which is used as a serum to treat pigmentation, dry skin, acne scars, fine lines, and much more. The Kumkumadi serum, in fact, is usually exclusively used on the face.
Coming back to Ayurvedic massage oils, yes, some are too thick to apply on the face and should best be kept away if you already have an oil problem. However, there is no reason to not let diluted essential oils such as the tea tree oil (very popular amongst people with acne problems) absorb into your face. In the long run, applying oils to your face can aid in healing scars, preventing fine lines and wrinkles, and making your skin smooth & plump.
Myth 10: Body massage oils takes a long time for results to show
This is another interesting myth that comes from people’s assumptions about the Ayurvedic medicine system. Often, ayurvedic medicines do not treat symptoms of diseases automatically, instead, they focus on the holistic wellbeing of a person and treat the root causes behind distressing symptoms. There are several herbs in Ayurveda such as Ashwagandha and Shatavari that are prescribed not for just one thing, but as an adaptogen that prevents worsening current problems and combating future health risks. Therefore, it can take a while for one to notice a significant change in their health. Does this apply to ayurvedic massage oil for body? Let’s find out!
The Real Truth: This myth simply cannot be further from the truth. Body oil massage benefits are known to be instant stress relievers that use deep tissue massage to relieve any built-up tension in your muscles that you have accumulated during your day. If you have a hectic and stressful lifestyle, I recommend you treat yourself with an Ayurvedic body oil massage and a warm shower before going to bed. You are sure to feel instant relaxation!
Additionally, body oil massage oil also has the characteristic of instantaneously dealing with dry and flaky skin. If you have used a good body massage oil at night, there is no way you will wake up with flaky skin in the morning! All these body oil massage benefits do not even include the long-term benefits of regular Abhyanga - strengthened muscles, increased energy, reduced stress, muscle pain relief, and beautifully radiant skin.
Well, that’s about all the myths I had in my mind to bust for today! I hope I did well and you now have a more open mind about Ayurvedic massage oils. Are you an Ayurvedic massage oil fanatic like me? Are there myths about Ayurvedic massage oils that you have heard from people that I have missed? Then, feel free to write to us in the comments below!
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