As consumers, many of us have woken up to the fact that we want to reduce chemicals in our lives, reduce plastic usage and save the environment as we are the last generation who can do this. Our natural environment is dying fast and it can’t be replaced. And we need better ways for our children, plus we do know chemicals are not good for our health and well-being since the increased rate of chronic lifestyle diseases has to be caused by something. We want to live long, stay healthy and pass a functional planet on to the next generation. We pretty much need a lifestyle change and here is what you can do to change your personal care regime, which will also produce a better body bio-energy balance resulting in better sleep.
The reason we want to reduce chemicals which are artificially made and rely on natural substances which are grown ecologically is that skin is a selectively permeable membrane and absorbs what you put on it, especially when that substance is mixed with fats. So what you put on your skin will find its way into your body; this is especially true of facial skin, which is highly absorbent as it is much thinner than the skin on the rest of the body.
Ayurveda is a traditional medicine with a two-tier approach. On the one hand its strength lies in healing many of the chronic lifestyle diseases of our time with natural methods, but on the other hand it is also concerned with health maintenance and disease prevention. The most attractive feature of this approach is its natural methods. We are a bit fed up with unsustainable chemicals and the synthetic and fake approaches of our time which are applied to pretty much everything including food, health and personal care.
Ayurvedic oils contain herbal essences. They are actually infused with all naturally grown things. The way they are made is that the natural oils are boiled with the herb oil and thereby the oils absorb the essence of the herbs. In theory, you could make these oils at home in your kitchen and you won’t need a chemical cal factory. Oils have different properties. Some are warming, some are cooling; qualities which make them suitable for different people and for different seasons. These oils can be used to balance your body bio-energies and your well-being. It is an increase in body bio-energies which disrupts natural processes, such as sleep.
One golden rule in Ayurvedic medicine is cleanse first then tonify. So before oils are applied, it is best to detox in some way. If you are applying oils as a daily routine, remove overnight toxins first. And oils require massaging on the body, which helps with pressure points and with lymphatic circulation. The oils help by being on the skin and also through massage. Natural oils can be put on your body, on feet, on face, on hair and on the head, plus you can even gargle with oils. Gargling is called oil pulling and has become popular recently.
In a professional setting and in Ayurvedic treatments, there are steam rooms where you can sit after the oil massage. This is lovely! It is incredibly relaxing to sit in a steam chamber covered in oil. Abhyanga is the name of an oil treatment which helps circulation, works on the lymphatic system, energy channels and energy points, muscles and tendons, lubricates dry skin and keeps it elastic and fresh looking, plus delivers herbal preparations to joints and bones located underneath the skin. More oil treatments are available for the purpose of balancing body bio-energies, such as shiro dhara, a head treatment which delivers herbs to the skull and the brain region for a relaxing sleep. If you are suffering from sleep problems and insomnia, you should definitely get a shiro dhara treatment!
In my course “7 Steps to Better Sleep”, I am asking people in “Step 6: Daily Routines” to swap their creams for natural oils and consider oil applications they may not have thought about before. I recommend they use natural oils in the morning as part of their morning routine, which makes the reliance on creams containing synthetically produced chemicals unnecessary. They simply fall by the wayside as you use the oils instead, at least in the mornings.
These daily routines help you remove tiredness and that low energy feeling. They are part of balancing natural processes with natural methods, such as sleep.
What most people don’t know is that you can use natural oils for quite a lot of applications. If you are the “shower and go” kind of person, you will be surprised at these recommendations. But if you are unable to live without moisturizing in the morning, you will simply be able to swap your moisturizers.
Face & Ears
Simply apply a little oil on to your hands and rub them together, then apply to the face and also swing by your ears and give them a bit of a kneading. There are a lot of pressure points in the ears which are beneficial for health when activated and you will enjoy the experience too. This benefits the ear; natural oils also clear wax and prevent infection due to their antibacterial properties. It also benefits the neck and prevents a stiff neck or stiffness of the jaw.
You can apply oil to the scalp; this is a good conditioning treatment for the hair, resulting in hair which grows luxuriantly, and is thick, soft and glossy. But it also soothes and invigorates the sensory organs, many of which are located in the head and upper clavicle area. And, of course, oil treatments also remove facial and neck wrinkles. However, putting oil on the hair does require a hair-wash afterwards.
For the nose there is a special oil available called anutaila, which is designed to be sniffed up the nose. It is a bit sharp tasting and not everybody’s cup of tea. Some people prefer to rinse their sinuses with lightly salted water instead. Personally, I do like the oil version.
Oil pulling has become popular recently. It works by swirling pure coconut or sesame seed oil in your mouth for some time (5—20 min). This will absorb bacteria and toxins from the mouth. Most oils are antibacterial and antiviral. Sesame oil comes with the added benefit of containing calcium.
Rub a bit of oil in your hands and apply. I personally like to use the Ayurvedic oils generously and shower afterwards. There is a little side effect to using the Ayurvedic herbal oils in that they are a bit smelly, so a shower is great! Otherwise use natural oils and put a few drops of essential oils in them for a more pleasant smell if you can’t or won’t shower afterwards.
In India, babies are regularly massaged with natural oils. It nourishes the body, decreases the effects of aging and improves the look and feel of the skin. It is actually an immunity promoting morning activity, not only because it lubricates and help move lymph fluids and blood around the body through massage, but many oils are antibacterial and antiviral, so it adds a protective shield. Choose from sesame, almond (warming oils) or coconut and olive (cooling oils) as base oils.
An invigorating dry rub before you bathe is to massage your skin with a dry, herbal powder like Amalaki Herbal Powder Mix or chickpea flour, but be careful not to clog up the drain pipes in the process.
Like the ears, feet have a lot of pressure points which benefit the whole body. Applying oil with a firm massage can help coarseness, stiffness, roughness, fatigue and numbness of the feet. It imparts strength to local veins and ligaments.
Due to the reflexology action, this can have benefits for the whole body such as enhanced vision, improved sciatica and many more.
If you are looking to sleep better, then you need to know that everything you do, eat and apply to your body will cause an effect on your psychosomatic physiology in a way which you would not automatically know about. Every substance has an action on the body. It can be heating or cooling, drying or moisturizing, anabolic or catabolic, tonifying or toxifying, calming or irritating, depressing or invigorating, and I could list many more actions! What all of these actions do in total is determine your level of body bio-energies. These body bio-energies determine how you feel and how likely it is that you cope with natural processes, such as sleeping better.
If you are looking for help on how to sleep better, then you will be interested in my course “7 Steps to Better Sleep” where I explain in detail what you can do to keep your body bio-energies balanced and your natural processes functioning.