Like every other part of the body, the nervous system is a complex one that receives and carries information from the sense organs to the brain and coordinate appropriate responses.
Disturbances in the nervous system will generate physiological reactions whether the individual is aware or not of the origin of the disturbance. Examples of those would be rapid heartbeat, sweating, digestion issues, chills…
*When I mention that the individual may not be aware of the origin of the disturbances, it comes from two aspects: Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) or when the individual has an overactive mind and is therefore disconnected from the physical and physiological sensations in their body.
The nervous system act as a translator of stimuli, a messenger, and a protector by generating responses.
The skin being the largest organ of the body also acts as a guardian. It protects the internal milieu from the external environment.
The ayurvedic technique of abhyanga is a simple way to soothe an aroused nervous system.
Abhyanga means warm oil application.
Warm oil application is different than a massage. A massage addresses tension in the deeper tissues that the muscles are. Instead, warm oil application is a stroke on the skin. A calming, soothing and nurturing stroke.
This technique has many benefits ranging from hydrating and nourishing the skin, lubricating the joints, increasing circulation, moving the lymph/gentle detoxification, calming the nerves, to being an act of self-love.
This is a technique that I may offer some of my Yoga Therapy students according to their needs.
The simplest way to start is with sesame oil (an untoasted oil that you’ll find in the massage/body care section of your local health food store).
Warm up the glass bottle in a Bain Marie.
Add a few drops of oil in the palm of your hand and rub both hands together.
Apply the oil in gentle, nurturing strokes in the specific areas recommended by your Yoga Therapist.
Keep the oil on your skin for 10 to 20 minutes. It is a good time to do your Yoga Therapy, pranayama or mindfulness meditation practice provided by your Yoga Therapist. If you do not see a Yoga Therapist yet, you can simply sit and take a few conscious breaths during that time.
Shower the excess oil. Avoid using soap or use little if you feel you should use some.
Towel your skin gently.
There are a few contra-indication to Abhyanga so please do some additional research on the subject/speak to your medical team before trying out. You can also contact me if you have any questions.