You may have heard of “oil pulling” and Shirodhara massage recently. You may have even seen holistic health nuts post bizarre selfies as they swish mouths full of organic coconut oil. Although these regimens recently surged in popularity, they’re more than silly health fads. They’re well known Ayurvedic practices that have been around for thousands of years, and people still swear by them.
Look for the following Ayurvedic tips and techniques to become incredibly popular in the coming months. (We’re seeing a huge trend in oil pulling–it’s only a matter of time before everyone’s doing it.)
This is an Ayurvedic oil massage, available at many day spas, where warm, aromatic oil is continuously drizzled from a container onto the forehead or “third eye” and runs through your hair to create a relaxed, blissful sensation that lasts long after the 30-minute treatment. It’s said to improve your hair and scalp and also relieve headaches, anxiety, irritability and anger.
2. Oil Pulling
Practitioners believe that if you rub your gums and then swish with a mouthful of natural oil, such as coconut or sesame, for up to 20 minutes, it not only extracts toxins for improved oral health, you’ll actually benefit from whiter teeth and fresher breath.
3. Tongue Scraping
Look at your tongue when you wake up in the morning. It’s a great indicator of what’s going on in your overall health, according to Ayurvedic teachings. If it’s covered in a layer of white film, your system may need a little boost either in digestion or in expelling toxins. Before or after brushing, gently scrape the top layer of your tongue from back to front with a plastic dental scraper (a spoon could work, too) to ensure that the buildup doesn’t go back into your system. It’s also believed that tongue scraping helps rev up your digestion system for the day.
4. Exfoliation and Oil Massage
Before you shower or bathe in the morning, take a moment to gently exfoliate your skin with a dry brush or dry washcloth. Then, with a natural massage oil – grab the coconut or sesame seed oil you just swished – and massage onto your skin. Use circular motions on your tummy and joints. Straightforward motions on your arms and legs. (You can take it from there.) Enjoy this moment of “me time” as your joints and nerves all get a chance to relax before jumping into the stresses of the day.
5. Nasal Flushing
Dr. Oz is a huge proponent of the the Neti Pot calling it his, “favorite alternative health remedy for nasal sinus pain and congestion.” Turns out, people have been pouring water into one nostril and letting it run out from the other for thousands of years. Not only does nasal flushing remove yesterday’s lingering gunk and itchy pollen, it’s also supposed to help clear out the connected passages to your ears and throat, boosting your natural senses.
6. Sipping Warm Water
Before you make like a zombie and pour the first cup of coffee, try starting your day with sips of warm water and lemon. This will wake up your digestion system and aid in a proper a.m. evacuation. It’s also going to help rehydrate your body after several hours of sleep.
Before jumping into the shower, you may also wish to take a few minutes to clear your mind with some deep breathing, meditation, prayer, yoga or whatever it is that helps you release negative thoughts and breathe in positive energy.
8. Rise With The Sun
When you wake up early, you not only allow yourself more time to cleanse and prepare, both physically and emotionally, for your day, but you also sync your body with the earth’s natural rhythm, which is believed to aid in overall health and sleep patterns.
9. Eat Your Largest Meal at Lunch
Ayurvedic teachings say that diet should be based on your body type, but it’s best for everyone to have their largest meal around lunchtime because this when the “digestive fire” is strongest. It’s also important not to overeat or to eat again too soon between meals. This is crucial to maintain digestive balance and health.
10. Sip Ginger Tea
Again with the healthy digestion. Sipping ginger tea throughout the day is said to help settle restless tummies and it also aids in the digestive process.
Photo credit: Therme Loipersdorf via Flickr