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  • Writer's pictureAsha Venkatarao

Winter Care - Homemade Pain-Relieving Massage Oil for Muscle Pain; Ayurvedic Remedies

As the weather remains colder and the temperatures fluctuate from cold to warm, we observe that the body tends to feel contracted, tighter and stiffer. Usually, there's chronic stiffness and pain early in the morning and which tends to ease as the day passes. If we can catch the issues as they are arising, we have a chance of lessening the pain and tightness. Certain unconscious habits—holding your breath, chronically tensing your muscles, suppressing your emotions, eating overprocessed, refined food, ingesting too much caffeine or not enough water—make us more susceptible to pain because they aggravate Vata, the dosha that is often involved when there is pain. If you can step back and observe which of your activities and habits contribute to the problem, you can start to undo your pain naturally. These are some basic ideas to keep the body healthy and pain-free;

- Restorative Asana Practice with emphasis on Breathing : Start motivating yourself to stretch everyday for 10 minutes, in the morning and in the evening. If there's pain, go gentle with your body. Practice Abdominal breathing as you move through simple Asanas; like Neck Rolls, Forward Bends, Spinal Twists, Side Bends and Low-back Movements. When we don't move the muscles, toxins accumulate and cause pain and fatigue.

- Short Relaxation Time : When the body is feeling pain or anxiety, try a Short Shavasana practice, maybe 5 - 6 minutes. Play 'OM' vibration meditation in the background, soften breaths, relax the body and mind. This pose always helps to reduce muscle tension and brings softness to the body and mind.

- Try a Self-Massage over the weekend : In Ayurveda, oil massage or 'Snehana' is a very important part of therapy. Done weekly, it helps release muscle stiffness, balances Vata and increases circulation. You can get a Massage with a therapist or try it at home. You can warm up 4 tbl.sp of coconut oil, add a few drops of Lavender essential oil and massage gently. Let the oils absorb for 5 minutes and finish your shower.

- Ayurvedic Massage oil: Instead of using commercial pain balms like BenGay, do try this recipe for a pain-relieving oil at home.

  • Heat 1 cup organic mustard oil or coconut oil gently in a saucepan.

  • Add 1 tsp finely grated ginger, 1 tsp finely grated fresh turmeric, 1 tsp fenugreek seeds. Boil this mixture lightly for 5 minutes.

  • Cool it down, strain and keep. This oil is very effective on joints, muscles and helps improve blood circulation.

  • You can keep it in the fridge and use when needed.

- Diet: The food we have has a powerful effect on inflammation and body pain. During the winter months, it's better to eat Vata-pacifying foods which are warm, lightly spiced and freshly made.

Dal Khichdi, cooked mung dal with a tadka of ghee, cumin, hing is considered the best food to have during winter months :)

Warm homemade soups, with a touch of salt and black pepper are good too.

- Aromatherapy oils : Sprinkle a few drops of Lavender , Peppermint essential oil into a Diffuser or a hot bath. This helps relax the muscles and soothes the mind.

- Warm Bath with Epsom Salt : A wonderful way to soothe tight muscles is to sit in a warm bath with 2 tablespoons of Epsom Salt. Do finish this in 15 minutes, or your skin will tend to get very dry. Moisturize well later and hydrate the body.

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