“The spirit is always pure, taintless; yet the body benefits from regular cleansing. So why not make cleansing the body a ritual worthy of the majestic spirit that you are?” ~ Ayurveda Lifestyle Wisdom

My first experience with self-massage was a little awkward… Ok, maybe a lot awkward!

It was during my first long-term stay in Japan. I joined a popular yoga studio. The studio website was in Japanese, but I was able to navigate the website and schedule classes with the help of Google Translate (thanks!).

One day, I booked a class translated as “Lymph Node Yoga”. I remember it sounded weird to me, but I figured it’s a type of yoga that’s supposed to open up your lymph nodes or something. It’s yoga after all!

It ended up being a group self-massage class… Yes, that’s right, a GROUP SELF-MASSAGE CLASS!

Everyone brought a little tub of rubbing gel. The teacher let me borrow some of hers… Not only was the whole thing awkward because I never expected (or heard!) of such a class, but can you imagine massaging yourself in front of other people? It was one of the weirdest and uncomfortable experiences I’ve had in Japan.

That said, I do like getting professional massages. One of the big reasons I love spending time in Thailand is because the massages are sooooo cheap ($5 - $10), I get one almost every day!

My body is super stiff and inflexible. In yoga class, I’m usually the least flexible person. Even the men are more flexible than me most of the time! And when I’m stressed, my neck and top shoulder area gets ridiculously stiff. I really need massages.

Fast forward to now… Recently, I’ve been experiencing extreme stress. As soon as I got to Ketchikan, Alaska, my body fell apart. I don’t like taking any medications. So I’ve been focusing on healing myself in the fastest way possible - by eating healthy foods, sticking to a strict daily routine, and getting massages.

Unfortunately, massages in Alaska are very expensive! It is not Thailand… I simply can’t afford a massage every day (or even once a week!). I asked my massage therapist, Onthana, what I can do to help relieve the pain, migraines, and vertigo I was experiencing at the time. She just confirmed what I already knew… my body is extremely stiff (thanks stress!) and I need more massage…

She did say that I can do a self massage. Especially around my eyebrows and ears. Self massage… flashbacks to that yoga class to Japan… cringe!! I wasn’t planning on doing it…

But at the same time, I was reading Ayurveda Lifestyle Wisdom by the amazing Acharya Shunya to reinforce my healthy eating, daily routine, etc to heal faster.

Following the Ayurveda lifestyle advice has been the most effective for me personally up to this point. I’ve been able to cure small health issues that Western doctors were incapable of solving. Here are some examples of daily health routines I’ve already incorporated into my life.

In the book, Acharya Shunya keeps mentioning the benefits of self massage over and over and over again.

“daily Ayurvedic massage seems to effectively release emotional tension, discharge pent-up memories, and leave you feeling cheerful, optimistic, and deeply relaxed.” ~ Ayurveda Lifestyle Wisdom

I reluctantly decided to give it a try… I ordered a small bottle of Organic Cold-Pressed Black Sesame Oil, as recommended in the book.

I also ordered these mini mason jars - as mentioned in the book, I could heat the oil by pouring it in a glass jar and putting the jar into a bowl of hot water like this:

This made a lot of sense vs messing with heating the oil in a pan or something. That would be hard! Heating the oil this easily has made the process of doing the massage daily so much easier!

So I got my hot oil and went into the shower… again, reluctant… This should be awkward and weird and a lot of work (have you ever tried to massage someone else?)…

I started pouring the oil on myself and WOW, I immediately LOVED it. I first took a shorter time rubbing the oil into all parts of my body, and then naturally just started massaging everything a lot slower, rubbing in the oil.

In the book, it mentions to specifically focus on the head (including face), ears, and feet. It was an incredibly enjoyable experience. Such luxury! After some time, I took a shower.

I did this for the first time after an intense 5 hour hike, which included climbing a mountain (both physically and mentally!). I was exhausted and dead tired. But after this massage and shower, it felt like I was born again! My body LOVED it!! I felt amazing, refreshed, new!

I’ve been doing this massage every day as part of my morning routine (right before showering) since that first time, and it instantly became one of my favorite parts of the day. I can’t imagine living without it. It’s like I was a rusty Tin Man this whole time, and suddenly I discovered oil! Seriously, that is how it feels. My body is more flexible, it’s glowing, and healing - immediately.

I’m now in panic mode because my small bottle of black sesame oil is running out, and I can’t get a new one that fast because it takes a long time to ship to Alaska. It’s funny how a thing like self-massage seemed awkward and weird to me only a few days ago has become something I rely on for optimal health. That Japanese yoga class was onto something after all…