How Ayurveda treats Skin
The Skin is treated with a great deal of respect and sensitivity in Ayurveda. This is because the skin is the seat of 2 doshas – Pitta and Vata and their proper functioning gives the skin good health and vitality. This is also because along with “mutra” (urine and faeces, the skin is the 3rd largest excretory system in the body, producing “sveda” or sweat which is extremely important in removing toxins from the body and in regulating the body’s temperature and maintaining thermal equilibrium.
The Srota system in Ayurveda
The body also comprises of several srotas / channels according to Lord Atreya. The srotas transport “prana” or breath, “udaka” water, “anna” or food, “rasa” (fluids), “rakta” (blood), “mamsa” (flesh, medas , asthi (bones), majja (marrow), sukra (semen), urine, faeces or sweat. Along with these dhatus, the srotas also transport vata, kapha and pitta dosha across the body. The srotas also carry the impulses of the sense organs to the brain and back to the sense organs, so the body responds with consciousness and intelligence to the external environment.
The skin is the seat of the Swedavaha srotas and these channels have their root in medas (fat) and Keshya (hair follicles). When these srotas are blocked they lose their functionality leading rise to several symptoms like a loss of perspiration, excessive sweating, coarseness of skin, excessive smoothness, burning sensation over the body, etc.
Keeping the Srotas clean – purpose of Abhyanga and Snana
One of the primary purpose of the daily abhyanga and bath is to keep the skin clean and ensure the minute srotas in the skin are clear, free from ama / toxins and can function properly.
How the abhyanga helps care for and balance doshas in the body:
As a general rule, Ayurveda advises oil application / abhyanga before the bath. The abhyanga is done using warm oil and oil is applied vigorously and copiously all over the body, paying special attention to the seats of vayu which is the whole skin, joints, limbs, ears and soles of the feet.
As a general practice, a short bout of exercise is advised after the abhyanga or just before. As the sweat rises out of the skin from the exercise and the vigorous abhyanga, the heat generated liquefies fat soluble toxins and excess kapha and helps their passage out of the body through the sweat.
Cleaning the skin – the Ayurevdic snana
We suggest using the Krya Ubtan (available as separate products for Men and Women) to clean the skin post abhyanga oil application. The combination of fine grain and lentil power with the right set of herbs helps in micro exfoliation – this removes the excess oil from the skin and also helps the minute srotas open up so that the ama can be cleansed roughly from skin. The difference in this Ayurvedic bath is that we are treating the entire skin as a living organ and through our activities (abhyanga, exercise and bathing with a grain and herb based product) we are literally coaxing the toxins out of the skin and actively encouraging good elimination so the body is in a state of well being.
Do you need to apply an external moisturiser after an abhyanga + Ayurevdic Snana / bath?
In this scenario, where we are working to clean the srotas and leave them active and unblocked, the application of an external moisturiser post a bath goes against the very principle behind how Ayurveda recommends we care and look after our skin. Unless there are specific cases of infection of skin disease where there is s longer application of herbs required, Ayurveda does not advocate a post bath moisturiser.
How the Krya Abhyanga oil with Vacha & Ashwagandha is made:
- The Krya Abhyanga Oil with Vacha & Ashwagandha is made using a classical 3-part Ayurvedic method, called Sneha Kalpana, combining Taila ( oil ) , Kashayam ( Aqueous Extract ) and Kalpa ( paste) .This is a method unique to Indian traditional medicine, where the nutrients inside herbs are extracted in both water and oil - this ensures that every part of the herb is extracted into the oil, giving you an oil which is both powerful and "sookshma" (capable of penetrating even the minute cells). This process alone takes us between 6 - 8 hours of constant manual stirring to ensure the oil maintains a perfect consistency and the herbs do not get burned.
- After processing the base oil and base herbs, we further add cold pressed , organic oils and more herbs to infuse their properties into the oil.
- At the end of the oil manufacturing process, the texture of the oil changes and the oil is extremely different from its basic nature - so even though heavy oils like sesame and coconut are used, the end oil is much lighter, less sticky and penetrates skin much faster than the base oil.
What goes into the Krya Abhyanga oil with Vacha & Ashwagandha :
- Wild harvested : Nirgundi, Sucukrika (Tamarind) leaves , Nimba (Neem)
- Organically grown : Sunthi (dried ginger), Maricha (Black Pepper), Bala, Ashwagandha, Jeera (cumin) Ajwain
- Forest collected : Vacha, Manjishta & Daru haridra
- Processed in Organic, Cold pressed, Sesame Oil, Coconut Oil, Kokum butter
- Heat the Krya abhyanga oil by putting the glass bottle into a bowl of hot water. Alternatively, you may dilute the oil with an equal amount of hot sesame oil.
- If diluting the oil, heat plain sesame oil well with 1 peppercorn, 1 clove garlic, 1/2 teaspoon jeera and 1/2 teaspoon rice. Ensure the spices and grains do not burn / char. Filter the hot oil carefully and mix with Krya Abhyanga oil which is at room temperature.
- Apply when bearably hot on skin using firm upward-downward strokes. The texts advise “bathing” the skin with generous amounts of oil so that the skin is extremely moist and glistens with oil. Pay attention to all the joints and the limbs of movement like ten fingers, wrists , ankles, knees and soles of the feet and ensure these areas are generously and vigorously massaged with warm oil. Ensure abhyanga is done in a closed room with fan and ac switched off and there is no wind / draft in the room.
- After 15 minutes have a bath in warm – hot water using the Krya Men’s ubtan or the Krya Women’s Ubtan. Make a moderately thick paste of the ubtan and apply on skin using circular motion until you get a slight tingle on skin. Wash off with warm water.
- On the abhyanga day do not expose yourself to high amount of sun or do any heavy exercise. Do not eat any heavy to digest food like processed food, non-veg etc. Ensure all meals are freshly cooked with mild spices. Do not sleep in the afternoon on this day.
Prescribed Abhyanga times and dates:
- An abhyanga is best done within the first hour of Sunrise before the heat of the day sets in. Women are advised to do an abhyanga on Tuesdays and Fridays. Men are advised to do an Abhyanga on Tuesdays and Saturdays.
- If you have the time, and you are in good health, a daily Abhyanga can also be done at the time suggested. This is very good to maintain a tridoshic state and keep vata to its right levels.
Avoid Abhyanga during these times
- An abhyanga is not suggested during your periods. Similarly avoid abhyanga on days when you are running a temperature, are ill / sick in any way, if you are fasting, after extreme sun exposure, when you have a stomach upset, etc.