Shirodhara & Svedana  ~ An Ayurvedic Treatment

Ayurveda is a 5,000 year old science of natural and holistic healing that has its origins in the Vedic culture of India. According to Ayurveda, the center of the forehead, or Third Eye, is the seat of intuition, spirituality and healing.

Shirodhara

This is a simple, yet profound treatment that works specifically on balancing and stabilizing the activity of the mind. Warm, herbal oil is continuously streamed over the Ajna Chakra or Third Eye, taking the participant on a journey deep within.

Benefits Include:

  • Bring balance and harmony to body, mind and spirit
  • Generates a profound state of relaxation in body and mind and relieves stress
  • Rejuvenates and opens up the flow of energy in the body
  • Stabilizes the nervous system and can help to reduce anxiety, tension, deshirodharapression and mental disorders.
  • Eliminates imbalances of the head affecting the neck, eyes, ears, and nose
  • Treats insomnia
  • Turns on the body’s healing mechanisms
  • Nourishes hair, scalp, and strengthens hair follicles to prevent hair loss and premature graying.
  • Replenishes skin oils, regaining natural luster and youthfulness.
  • Softens lines and wrinkles on the face by clearing the mind, dissolving stress and relaxing face muscles.
  • Activates the pituitary and pineal glands, as well as the hypothalamus, which organize and regulate all hormones in the body.
  • Enhances concentration, mental clarity and comprehension.
  • Heightens the senses and helps produce endorphins
  • Stimulates cognitive memories and increases intuition

Svedana

Svedana or Swedana means to “sweat” or “perspire”. This treatment is a process of inducing sweat with an exquisite hot herbal steam treatment that will leave you feeling clear, rejuvenated and deeply moisturized. Medicinal herbs like Lavender, Chamomile, Bay Leaf, Eucalyptus, Rosemary, and Lemongrass help to clear the channels, relax the muscles and nurture the senses.

 Benefits include:

  • Makes Your Skin glow and healthy
  • Relieves body aches
  • Improves blood circulation
  • Helps in reducing weight
  • Drains toxins from deep tissues

Contact us via email or phone to schedule your appointment.

Advertisements

How to Practice & Benefits of Self Massage ~ Abhyanga!

Ayurveda enriches our lives with its natural health benefits and numerous practices of self-care and self-LOVE. To care for yourself by cooking, meditating, keeping a clean home, and exercising is an act of self-love that takes time and effort. The time you take to care for yourself will keep you from prescription drugs, visits to the ER and many health challenges.

One of the most rewarding Sadhana practices Ayurveda has to offer is Abhyanga!

What is Self Abhyanga?

The word for “oiling the body” in Sanskrit, is Snehana, which means “TO LOVE”. Self Abhyanga is a warm herbal oil massage that has amazing benefits:self-massage

  • brings nourishment to the tissues
  • deep relaxation to the muscles
  • calms the nervous system
  • reduces anxiety, anger, and depression
  • promotes a restful sleep
  • increases circulation and reduces cellulite
  • helpful for managing weight
  • moves toxins to the digestive tract for elimination
  • opens chakras or energy channels that are blocked
  • decreases common skin irritates such eczema, psoriasis, dry, flaky, itchy, hot, oily skin. 

What type of herbal oil should I use?

I recommend using a herbal infused oil that is customized for your body type or season that will create the desired action. I sell customized oils, so stop by our clinic and pick up an 8oz bottle.

During the vata season (Late Fall and Winter) use sesame oil which is warmer. During the kapha season (Spring) I recommend using a lighter oil such sunflower. And, during the pitta season (Summer) coconut or sunflower oil is nice. Add essential oils to bring in beneficial aromas that lift your spirit!  

What do I need to do a Self Abhyanga?

  • Personalized oil
  • Pot or warmer to warm oil
  • Dedicated clothing and towel
  • An open heart and awareness
  • Devotional music 

How do I perform a Self Abhyanga?

  • Warm your oil using a small crock pot or pot/stove. You can also place your oil in a sink of hot water.
  • Massage oil in fast vigorous motions over long bones, circular motions over joints, in an upward and down motion on abdomen, and inward/outward motion over breasts.

Kapha: Start from the feet and move upward (*less oil is needed)

Pitta: All motions to the heart and center of the body

Vata: All motions from head downward

  • Try to do your Abhyanga before yoga and meditation in the morning and allow the oil to stay on your body as long as possible.  

* Enjoy this time with your Self!

* Embrace positive thinking while performing your Abhyanga!

* Repeat positive affirmation!

* Smile and love your Self up!

* Embrace the existence of Mother Earth and the Divine within you!

Vata Balancing Regimens

This season Mother Nature has shown us what a huge impact she can have on our vikruti (current state of balance). Before the weather dropped to the 30’s, I remember walking down Hood St. toward Cedar Springs Rd. to start my day seeing clients and as I was taking in the colors of the Fall, I was awestricken by a long train of wind carrying leaves. It was beautiful and swift. Right then, I said to myself, “Vata is here and she is going to bring about rapid change”. Sure enough, a few days later the weather turned from the high 60’s to mid 30’s, then to the high 70’s and now low 50’s. This is vata at her best – change and inconsistency!

The magnificent science of Ayurveda proves itself with each seasonal shift. Living an Ayurvedic lifestyle means living with Mother Nature, attuning yourself inwardly to her beauty both destructive and life-giving. The vata dosha is imaginative, on-the-go, and has an active mind. It is also dry, light and cold. Vata moves like the wind and changes direction often. When those with a vata nature lack a consistent schedule it disturbs the body’s internal energy, prana. This leads to anxiety, nervousness, feelings of overwhelm, insomnia, constipation, dry stools, bloating, gas, and dry skin. Vata does best when stable, regular routines help to channel and focus their  large, natural amount of energy, prana. With structure vata’s are able to accomplish a great deal within a very short period of time and can be more productive than any other doshic type.

DIET:

In Ayurveda, seasonal eating is primarily beneficial for prevention. A vata pacifying diet is best during the early Fall which will prevent vata from becoming aggravated in the Winter. If vata is aggravated in the winter, a vata-pacifying food program may prevent overflow or minimize symptoms.

Vata is balanced by foods that have a sweet, sour and salty rasa (taste). Foods should be heavier and nourishing and moderately spiced. This is the season for spices and all spices are good for vata as long as not taken in excess – ginger, black pepper, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, fenugreek, etc. Food and drinks should be taken in warm, never ice cold, raw or uncooked as this will support a strong agni – digestive fire. For those with more vata in their prakruti/constitution, they do best when they eat more frequently, 5 times a day. Food should be taken in small amounts as to not dampen the agni. Meals should be taken at the same time each day.

Here are some of my favorite winter recipes: Fall Veggie + Quinoa Soup, Winter Chai Tea, Warm Spiced Milk, Stewed Spiced Fruits, Warm Spiced Quinoa Cereal

YOGA:

Yoga should be practiced in a warm environment with slow and calming asanas with a connection and awareness to the earth. Keeping vata grounded to prevent excess mobility is essential. For example, tree pose (Vrksasana) and mountain pose (Tadasana) root your feet into the ground, reducing anxiety and overwhelm. Warrior I and II are also beneficial, helping to ground you while building strength in the thighs, lower back and hips which are main regions of the vata dosha. Since vata is prone to constipation, standing or sitting forward bends that compress the pelvis are healing. 

Fast-paced vinyasas or flow sequences can aggravate vata. Slow movement supports the joints while quick movements increase mobility, creating dryness. To make a vinyasa more vata-pacifying, move deliberately and slowly, extending the length of time that you hold each pose. Moving through transitions between poses, with conscious awareness rather than rushing on to the next pose will help you to remain present.

Finally, vata types benefit from doing a long, deep corpse pose or shavasana – at least 15–20 minutes. Keep a blanket nearby so that after your practice, you can cover the body allowing you to contain the heat from your practice.

SLEEP:

One of the most common signs of a vata imbalance is difficulty falling or staying asleep. To much creative energy, anxiety or worry is surging through the mind and the body becomes restless. Rest is rejuvenating and has heavy and stable qualities that help to balance the light and mobile tendencies of vata. It is important to go to bed and wake up at or about the same time every day. A general rule is that we are in bed by 10:00pm and wake with the sun, sunrise! Establishing proper bedtime routines can be life saving! Avoid t.v., computer, phone, or any stimulating activities an hour prior to bed. Instead, spend the last hour before getting into bed doing one or more of the following: do a warm herbal massage, take a warm bath, meditate, curl up in bed with a warm cup of chamomile tea and a book.

AROMAS:

Vatas do best with oils that are warming and calming, think sweet and spicy! The sweeter the oil the more nourishing and the spicier, the more warming. Blending oils can help you get both qualities vata needs. Sweet oils: sandalwood, jasmine, chamomile, or lavender mixed with Spicy Oils: cinnamon, rosemary, patchouli, or basil can be beneficial. You can put these into a diffuser to create an aromatic environment in your home or room. You can make a room spritzer by adding a few drops of each a spicy and sweet oil to a spray bottle of distilled water. You can add oils to your bath water to get that nice relaxing and warm sensation while bathing.

TOUCH:

Studies show that the sense of touch can bring just as much healing as the food we take into our bodies. A lead researcher, Dr. Tiffany Field from the University of Miami School of Medicine, states that, “touch is the first sense to develop and the last to fade even after sight, hearing, smell and taste have faded with age”.

Benefits of touch:

  • reduces aggression
  • stimulates growth and development in children
  • improves sleep and alertness
  • reduces pain, depression and stress by reducing cortisol levels, a hormone that rises when we are under stress.
  • increases dopamine and serotonin, two brain chemicals that improve mental outlook
  • improves the immune system and increases T-cells that fight cancer and viruses

Ayurveda massage with herbal, warm oils, is called “snehana” which means, “to love”. The daily application of oil to the body builds self-love. Abhyanga (ayurveda massage) daily can be life changing for those with a vata imbalance. The primary qualities of Vata are dry, light, cool, rough, subtle and mobile. These qualities are opposite to those of the warmed, herbal oil. The great teacher Sushruta said, “The deranged vayu [Vata] of the body is restored to its normal condition by the help of Udvartana (oil massage).” Sushruta Vol.2, 24:28.

It is important to consider the type of oil you choose for massage. Vata benefits from warm, heavy, moist oils such as sesame and almond.

Vata Pacifying Abhyanga:

  • It is best to do the abhyanga in a warm place to avoid getting cold. I like to turn the heater on in the bathroom or place a space heater in the room.
  • The oils should be warmed (not hot) prior to application. You can do this by putting a cup of the oil into a squeeze bottle and place it in a warm water bath in a pan on the stove or in the bathroom sink filled with hot water.
  • Sit or stand on a dedicated “oil towel”, an old towel or bath mat that you don’t mind getting a little oily. I like using a bath mat and then I just roll it up after each use.
  • Without being in a hurry, lovingly and patiently massage the oil over your entire body for 10-15 minutes,
    beginning at the extremities and working toward the center of the body. Use long strokes on the
    limbs (long bones) and circular strokes on the joints. Massage the abdomen and chest in broad, clockwise,
    circular motions. In the morning, I like to do more fast vigorous motions to stimulate lymph and circulation and in the evening I do it more slowly to promote relaxation.
  • To apply the oil to the crown of your head, put about a quarter size amount of oil into your hand and using the pads of your fingers massage your entire scalp in circular strokes. Sometimes I do a “hair oil bath” about once per month where I drench my hair in the oil and leave it over night in a towel – great for beautiful, shiny, strong hair!
  • Lastly, put a couple drops of warm oil on the tip of your little finger and apply to the opening of the ear canals and to the opening and inside of the nasal passage.

Hope these recommendations bring you warmth and grounding energy this season!

Namaste,
Christina