Oil bath for a healthy body and mind
During my childhood, I have often come across people whose faces gleam with happiness and peace, their hair neatly oiled and combed. Their inner tranquility comes from their daily routine of bathing. In my village, there are community ponds where people swim, bathe and wash. The boon of village life is that we don’t have to do everything hurriedly. We take our oil bath as a daily ritual – enjoying completely dipping in the cold pond water. Till recently, I had not seen it from a health perspective.
Now a days, we don’t see anyone with oil in their hair. They shy away from oil bath complaining about headaches or catching a cold. Today’s new generation avoid oil bath saying their faces look oily and its difficult to wash long hair.
Oil bath keeps our body and mind healthy
Sidha – a branch of natural medicine in India, emphasizes daily oil bath as a ‘daily discipline’. There are innumerable benefits of oil bath. Our skin is one of the largest parts of our body. Based on the changes in climate, our skin is the first affected by increase or decrease in the surrounding temperature. Skin can absorb oil applied on it.
Effects of pollution
Due to pollution in our environment, dust accumulates on the skin. All such dust is not soluble in water. Washing with soap cleans the dust which is on the outside – but cant remove the dirt seeping into the skin pores. Such accumulated dirt, while spoiling beauty also causes skin diseases. These types of dirt are not plainly visible to our eyes. Our ancestors used to keep their skin clean and healthy by taking a mandatory oil bath once a week. As a general rule, Saturday was reserved for weekly oil bath. During those days, we never saw people suffering from skin diseases. But now a days, the need for oil bath is overlooked due to fast paced life. People just shampoo their hair over and over. This is not good for the skin and causes a variety of problems. It is best to take an oil bath even daily to keep our body cool and maintain clean skin.
Oil bath for general well-being
Without oil bath, many body parts are affected. Skin, liver, bone joints, muscles and skin tissue are affected. Some people suffer from sleeplessness also known as Insomnia Muscular Pain. Early ageing – generally appearing older and problems related to blood are common. Other conditions include hypertension, depression, fatigue and constipation. Irregular bath routine causes increase in the body heat and bile irritating the stomach. In general the body heat makes our body vulnerable to infection. Jaundice, viral infection, ulcer, stomach and eye diseases are related to increase in body heat.
Benefits of oil bath
Oil content in the skin allows our body to assimilate vitamin D from sunlight. This increases blood circulation. When we massage our body with oil, the lymphatic nodes work efficiently. It heals our mind and alleviates depression. Removes urinary infection and dissipates body heat and keeps our internal organs cool. Skin allergies, prickly heat, itches, impetigo etc. can be avoided by regular oil bath. Taking oil bath twice a week keeps the skin beautiful and glowing; gives peace to the mind and helps to cool eyes and body. Oil bath helps hair growth, avoid frontal baldness, wards off dandruff and lice. Our body feels energetic.
How to take oil bath
Sesame oil is one of the best suited oils for oil bath. A mixture of equal amounts of Castor oil, coconut oil and sesame oil is also generally used. Oil is to be applied and massaged all over the body – particularly focus on ears, eyes and navel. The oil can then be massaged onto the hair and scalp, followed by shoulders, chest, back, arms and legs. Pay attention to the joints – knees and elbows. Do not forget the face ! Relax for some time and let the oil nourish your body.
- Use luke-warm water to take bath.
- Shikakai (Acacia concinna) powder is best for washing the hair and scalp. It cleanses and calms the scalp, helps in preventing greying and also gives a natural shine to the hair.
- For the body – use a mixture of chickpeas powder, green gram and turmeric powder in curd.
After taking Oil Bath
- Avoid going out in hot sun to allow the cooling effect of oil rejuvenate the body
- Do not take cool drink or icecream to avoid catching cold
Keeping the body heat in control prevents most diseases.
Beat the heat this summer and stay healthy !