This time of year the cold weather causes the body’s joints to crack and pop worse than at any other time. This is due to excess vata (air and space) in the system. An amazingly simple remedy for this is to do daily self massage with warm sesame oil or Vata oil (herbally medicated oil) before bathing, but don’t soap the oil off in the process, let it stay on and work its magic. Work the oil into the skin well and then take a nice hot bath or shower, I prefer a long bath myself, more relaxing!
In Ayurveda, oil massage is called abhyanga and is also helpful for stiff, achy muscles, dry skin, sciatica and insomnia.
Sesame oil is heating and penetrates deeply into the tissues. It counters the qualities of the cold, dry and rough associated with fall and winter weather as well as the dry heat in our houses. If the muscles and joints are painful or if there is arthritis then apply Maha Narayan oil directly to those areas before covering the rest of the body with another type of oil.
Abhyanga can be done before bedtime or early in the morning to start the day. You will notice the difference in how you feel almost immediately. At bedtime massaging a little warm sesame oil on the soles of the feet and the crown of the head is one of the best and natural ways to promote sound sleep.
Remember to also drink plenty of water and warm teas and eat warm, oily and nourishing foods like mung dal and vegetable soups to pacify vata.