As winter approaches and the days get shorter and colder, I am reminded that I am just not a cold weather person. I easily get chilled to the bone, and it seems like my hands and feet don’t thaw out until spring. “What am I doing in Chicago???”, I ruminate. In an earlier blog post I talked about a 7-day detox I did in the fall. It included something called Abhyanga – an ayurvedic oil massage. The type of oil you use depends upon your dominant ayurvedic dosha (mind and body type). If you’d like to identify your dominant dosha, you can google “dosha” or “what’s my dosha” and you’ll find a slew of short “quizzes” that’ll give you a quick answer. Here’s the Abhyanga process.
– Rub body with oil before shower, using a circular motion around the joints
– Olive or sunflower for pitta dosha; sesame for vatta and kapha doshas
– Follow with hot shower and cold rinse
– Don’t try to wash off all oil with soap
– Pat the skin dry
As the body detoxes, it becomes more susceptible to catching a chill, so the purpose of the practice during the cleanse is to protect the body. I did notice both the susceptibility and feeling easily chilled, but also greater protection by having that very light layer of oil on my skin. After the detox, and as the weather got colder, I decided to continue the practice. I don’t do this every day. Maybe every third or fourth day. But when I do, I feel better able to ward off the cold – better protected – as if I have an extra insulating layer. I can’t explain why it works, all I know is, it does. The chill just doesn’t go as deep, and I haven’t gotten a cold yet this season. I usually get one or two every winter. Time will tell. The practice also has the added benefit of making the skin feel nice and soft, so why not give it a try? It might just make a cold winter just a little easier.