How to do an Abhyanga Oil Massage

Abhyanga is a daily oil massage that is a key ritual in Ayurveda. Beneficial at any life stage, it's extremely helpful to do during pregnancy and postpartum, since your body is going through its own metamorphosis to accommodate the new life you have created.  The more you are in touch with your body, the more comfortable you will feel, allowing your body to more easily adapt to its changes along the way. Even if you only have 5 minutes a day or while in the shower, take a few moments to massage your body. 
This can be performed by a massage therapist, partner, family member, or you can do it yourself. 
Remember - if you are postpartum - check in with your Dr or Mid-wife before starting the massage. Here are the steps to perform a self-massage - 
Step 1: You will need 1/4-1/2 cup of oil.  Some of my favorite oils include Sesame, Almond, or Sunflower Oil. Sesame and Almond are on the heavier side whereas Sunflower oil is on the lighter side. 
Step 2: Warm the oil. I keep my oil in a glass bottle and use a bottle warmer. Alternatively, you can place the oil bottle in the glass of hot water for 5 minutes to heat. 
Step 3: Lay a towel on the ground (use a towel that you don't mind getting oily and stained!)

Step 4: Make sure your room is warm. There should be no cold air or drafts. I turn on a heater for added warmth.

Step 5: Sit or stand comfortably on your oil towel. 

Step 6: Strokes should be soft and gentle. Start by placing a few drops of oil on the crown of your head, then massage your scalp in a circular motion. Move down to your ears, then your face. Make your way down your body. Use long, up-and-down strokes on the long bones of your arms and legs. Massage your joints in a circular motion. 

Step 7 – Massage your breasts in a circular motion.  This is great for lactation.

Step 8 – Massage gently around the tummy area.

Step 9 – If you are pregnant – you can massage your perineum (the area between your yoni and rectum) to help your body prepare for labor and decrease the likelihood of tearing.

Step 10 – finally, don’t forget to massage your feet.  It will help you get a better night’s rest (or at least help with the sleep in between frequent feeds once you have the baby).  If you plan to carry on with activities after, be sure to wipe your feet with the towel to ensure to keep from slipping!

I let the oil soak in my skin at least a half hour before showering or bathing. Oil on your skin also keeps your skin from getting dried out from the water from the shower. You will see with continued use not only will you feel great, but your skin will be ultra-moisturized.