One of the symbolic traditions of Deepavali is a ritualistic oil bath before dawn to purify mind and body. This rejuvenating oil bath has a long-standing history in the ancient Indian art of healing, Ayurveda, and is believed to be beneficial to our general wellbeing in many ways.
An oil bath is by no means diving into a tub full of oils. Rather the practice involves oil being massaged into the body, including the scalp. It is used to facilitate and release toxins and heat from the body that has piled up overnight, or even over the years.
Oil baths are commonly done with gingelly, castor, coconut, or sesame oil, although various oils can be used in practice. There are however a few specific steps to adhere to in order to maximise its benefits. These include starting by applying the oil from the scalp to the upper body and lower body accordingly.
If you want to spice things up a little, blend the oil with healing herbs such as turmeric and follow the practice with a warm bath. It can help to bring balance, promote relaxation and lowering blood pressure.
Benefits of an oil bath:
- Gain deep and restorative sleep
- Glowing and radiant skin resulting in a younger and fresher look
- Prevent dry skin
- Strengthen the hair
- Remove dead skin cells
How to do your own oil bath:
- 50ml-70ml of castor, coconut or sesame oil
- 5g-8g of shikakai powder
- Pour a small quantity of the oil of your preference on top of your head, and slowly massage your scalp and hair.
- Rub the oil onto your face, around eyes and nasal passages.
- Slowly spread it all over your body from top to bottom.
- Let the oil stay for at least 10 minutes
- Make a wet paste by slowly adding a few drops of water in a bowl of shikakai powder
- Apply the paste on the head and rub till you see froth to remove oil
- Rinse it off with warm water.
- Repeat steps 6 & 7 to remove the oil from your face and body.