Day spas are becoming more and more popular. They provide an oasis in our buzzing world, where you can get away for a few hours or a day of relaxation, rejuvenation and beautification. If there isn't a spa around, or if you'd rather enjoy the benefits in your own home, try this ayurvedic do-it-yourself routine. Spend an evening or weekend afternoon pampering yourself and restoring your mental, physical and emotional energy.
This ayurvedic facial both nourishes and exfoliates your skin. Milk softens and cools the skin and loosens up pore-clogging particles. Hot steam opens your pores and bentonite clay removes impurities. The Youthful Skin Oil and Cream restore the lipid and moisture levels of the skin.
- Cleanse face and neck with Youthful Skin Herbal Soap to remove makeup and impurities.
- Apply several drops of Youthful Skin Oil on fingers and gently massage the face and neck. Repeat three times.
- Slowly bring half a cup of organic milk to a boil, add a few drops of Organic Rose Water and beat until a thick layer of foam appears. Massage milk foam onto the face and neck. Repeat three times.
- Use a facial steamer for five minutes or until the skin perspires. Make a tent for yourself using a towel or sheet.
- Apply a thin layer of bentonite clay to the face and neck. Leave on for three to five minutes or until the skin begins to feel tight.
- Remove clay with remaining organic milk and then rinse milk off with warm water. Use natural sponges for removal of clay.
- Apply a thin layer of Youthful Skin Oil to the face and neck. Dab off excess with a tissue.
- After one hour, apply a thin layer of Youthful Skin Cream to the face and neck.
After you have treated your face, it's time to administer an ayurvedic self-massage. Abhyanga (warm oil massage) should be practiced every morning preceding your shower. For this spa treatment, extend the massage to make it a relaxing, luxurious experience. Massaging your whole body with oil feeds your skin and helps release toxins that accumulate in the body and skin over time. It also improves circulation, relaxes the mind and the body, and nourishes all the tissues and organs. For the home spa treatment, try Maharishi Ayurveda Massage Oils, which contain specially-formulated combinations of ayurvedic herbs and oil to moisturize and purify your skin.
Steps for Abhyanga
- Fill a small plastic bottle with oil and place it in a glass of hot water for a few minutes to heat the oil.
- Apply a small amount of oil to the body, starting with the scalp all the way down to your toes.
- Start massaging your scalp slowly with firm pressure. After two minutes, move down to your ears and face using small circles. (If you have just done a facial, skip the face.)
- Then start with the left shoulder in a circular motion. Follow with long strokes on the upper arm, circles on the elbow and long strokes on the forearm. Circle around the wrist and do long strokes on the hand. Repeat with the other arm.
- Use circular strokes on the chest and the stomach and upward strokes on your lower back.
- Continue on to the left leg, by doing circles on the joints and long strokes on the limbs. The feet should get special attention, which we will detail in the next section.
We use our feet all day, but they are often the most neglected parts of the body. Therefore, foot massage is a very important part of abhyanga. A foot massage not only benefits the feet but revitalizes the whole body. It increases energy, balances emotions, and improves blood and lymph circulation. By massaging the nerve endings in your feet, you can release stress and relieve aches and pains.
- First wash your feet thoroughly with soap and warm water.
- Apply oil to one of your feet for lubrication.
- Start by gently rubbing the base of your first (little) toe.
- Continue at the base of the second toe.
- Next, apply slight pressure between the first and second toes.
- Then, rub between the third and fourth toe.
- Next, massage, stretch and pull the big toe gently and rub each side of the nails.
- Finally, massage the ball of your foot in a circular motion, followed by circling around your ankle joint with both hands in a clockwise motion. This improves circulation and the energy level of the body. Repeat the same steps on your other foot. You can do this foot massage in the evening, a couple of times a week to give your tired feet a break.
The perfect bath
The perfect bath should stimulate all the five senses, provide relaxation and a feeling of emotional fullness. After your full-body massage, you should let your skin absorb the oil for at least 15 minutes before you get into the tub. During this time, you can assemble everything you will need for a full sensory experience.
- Taste: It's important to remain hydrated while you are cleansing and detoxifying your body. For a soothing drink, try one of Maharishi Ayurveda's herbal teas. Worry Free Tea is specially designed to calm the mind. Ayurveda does not recommend drinking coffee and alcohol, because they stimulate the body instead of soothing it.
- Sight: For a peaceful atmosphere, light a few candles and turn off the lights. Make sure you place the candles in a secure place, where you can't knock them off while bathing.
- Sound: To help you focus on your spa experience, turn off your phone and mute the answering machine. Put on your favorite soothing, low-volume music. You can also listen to Maharishi Gandharva Veda music, the pacifying melodies of nature, which will help revitalize your body, mind and spirit. If you have a portable CD player, you can place it in the bathroom but away from the bathtub for safety reasons.
- Smell: Now you are ready to fill your tub with warm water. Do not bathe in hot water, because it dries your skin and depletes your energy. Make sure to use a filter if the tap water is heavily chlorinated. If you are planning to soak for a while, you can use bath pillows to cushion your head and neck.
- Touch: The oil massage has already stimulated your sense of touch. Now it's time to exfoliate. Use natural sponges or scrubs such as loofah, to soften rough elbows and knees, and pumice stone to scrub calluses on your feet. Instead of petroleum-based soaps, use Maharishi Ayurveda's herbal soaps to cleanse your skin.
After you have soaked for up to 30 minutes, wipe your body with a soft, warm towel. Apply a rich lotion.
Whether you do this entire routine or just parts of it, don't rush. You gain more benefits if you focus on the procedures and take your time. If you follow the instructions, you will release stress, nurture your skin and uplift your mood.
© 1999, 2021 Maharishi AyurVeda Products International, Inc. (MAPI). All Rights Reserved. MAPI does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. See additional information.