How to Do a Self-Massage With Oil

Mostly done before a bath in the morning, abhyanga or the ayurvedic self-massage with warm oil preps your body and mind for the rest of the day. It sets the right tone – a calm one.

If the entire concept is new to you, here are a few things you might want to keep in mind…

1. Cure the Oil First

You may be able to get hold of a cured (or purified) commercial sesame oil, but if you can’t, do the curing yourself. It’s as simple as heating the oil to the boiling point of water on low heat.

Add 2 drops of water to the oil before you start heating. When the water starts to sputter, you know your oil is ready. Now cool the oil and store it. Ration it out every morning (about a quarter cup should be enough), heat to slightly above body temperature, and it’s ready to be used.

To make life easier, cure about a liter of oil at a time. It’ll serve you for at least 15 massages.

Note: If for whatever reason you don’t want to use sesame oil, you could try coconut or olive oil. Olive oil does not need to be cured.

2. Move From the Head to Your Feet

Do the massage progressing in this direction:


  • Spend the most time on your head, followed by your feet.
  • Be gentle on your face, ears, chest, and abdomen.
  • Once you’re done with the neck, apply a small amount of oil to your entire body to give it enough time to soak.
  • Use the entire palm side of your hand to massage (palm and fingers), not just the fingertips.

3. Spend 15 Minutes

Ideally, you should be spending a good 10–15 minutes doing the massage. But if you just don’t have that kind of time, go for a briefer massage or make that time at least thrice a week.

Pamper yourself! You deserve it.