Sesame Oil Massage - nurture yourself!
A self-administered sesame oil massage is very settling for all constitutions (or if you're lucky of course it's also great to have someone perform the massage for you!). It's said to be the only oil that can penetrate all seven layers of the skin and also that it is able to nourish all the organs and tissues.
It is very soothing to the nervous system, helps to tone the muscles and eliminate impurities, and it softens and revitalises the skin.
Use sesame oil of the kind found in health food stores (not the toasted or Chinese sesame oil which will make you smell like a Chinese takeaway and is not absorbed by the skin in the same way). If sesame oil irritates your skin (which is uncommon) almond or light olive oil can be substituted. During hot weather those with a more fiery constitution will find coconut oil to be more cooling than sesame.
How to give yourself a soothing sesame oil massage
This oil massage is so beneficial to the nervous system it's recommended that, even if you don’t have time to do the whole thing, you massage oil into the soles of the feet everyday and into the scalp before washing your hair. Basically, what ever you can manage will reap rewards.
Start by ‘curing’ a quantity of sesame oil in a saucepan over a moderate heat. Heat just until you start to see the oil moving around in the pan or until a drop of water sizzles. Let it cool and pour back into your bottle. The heating process changes the oil slightly so that it can be absorbed more easily into the skin.
For a full massage:
- The sesame oil massage is probably best performed in the bathroom as you probably won't want to risk spilling oil on carpets. It may be best to protect the floor with an old towel or similar.
- Pour 3 or 4 tablespoons of cured oil into a plastic cup or a squeeze bottle and set in a cup of very hot water for a few minutes until it has warmed up.
- Pour a tablespoon or so of warm oil onto your head and massage into the scalp using the flat of your hand, not your fingertips, in circular movements.
- Massage gently over the face using your palms and paying particular attention to your temples and the backs of the ears. Use a gentle horizontal movement with your palm across your forehead, put a little oil in your ears with your fingertip and rub your ears and front and back of your neck.
- Put a little more oil on your palms and using circular movements over the joints and long up and down movements on the long bones, vigorously massage the shoulders and arms.
- Next use the warm sesame oil to massage your abdomen gently and then the chest using large clockwise circular movements. Use a straight up and down motion on the breastbone.
- Massage your back as best you can without straining and then your hips and buttocks.
- Next work on your legs using the same vigorous up and down motion as on the arms with circular movements on the knees and ankles.
- Finally, spend a few minutes giving a sesame oil massage to your feet using a vigorous back and forth motion especially on the sides of the feet, where it is said that energy centres are located that will help produce a settling effect on the nervous system if stimulated by massage in this way. You can use your fingertips to apply oil to the toes.
- Take care. You will be very slippery!
- After your sesame oil massage it is very beneficial to allow the oil to soak in for a while, ideally 20 mins or so, or even to apply oil to the head and leave it on whilst you sleep (obviously protecting your pillow with an old towel or similar). However, more often you will probably not have the time and will need to get into the shower or bath more or less straightaway. You will still receive benefit from the massage, and naturally, the more regularly you can do it and the longer the oil stays on the more beneficial it will be.
- The idea is to leave a fine almost indiscernible film of oil on the skin, so once in the shower or bath use a small amount of light soap to wash the oil off. Shampoo your hair in the normal way.
Those of us suffering from anxiety states will often find that we have dry, uncomfortable skin - a regular sesame oil massage will really help to make your skin feel smooth and supple - and a bonus is the less dry it is the less it will be prone to wrinkles!