But I feel compelled to share one of my tips for anxiety self-care: Self-massage. It’s such a small but important addition to a self-care routine, and one with enormous benefits for the body and soul.
I’ve been doing self massage for a few years now after reading Aveda Rituals : A Daily Guide to Natural Health and Beauty. Now, I can’t stop talking about it.
The benefits of self-massage are many:
7 Benefits of Self-Massage
1. Massage is said to reduce toxins in the skin
2. Lustrous skin from all of the oils
3. Deep relaxation from the massage; increased circulation to nerve endings
5. Deeper nighttime sleep (really)
6. Almost immediate relaxation response
7. Boosted immune system response
How to Do Self-Massage
If you’ve never done self-massage before, it would be helpful to watch this video, which walks you through an entire full-body massage. Note that the video is only about six minutes long. A good self-massage, done completely, should only take you about 10 minutes a day.
The Scent Connection
While you’ll find a lot of naysayers out there on the benefits of aromatherapy, studies have shown it to have great effects on one malady in particular:
I have my own theory of why this may work. For one, researchers recently discovered that you have olfactory cells all over your body. So it follows that if you use a scented oil, you are harnessing the scent power of the oil and delivering it to your entire body.
Scented oils also work for anxiety because:
1.) You receive the benefits of massage, even if you are doing it yourself
2.) Paying attention to what you are doing feels like a meditation
3.) Smelling essential oils during the process works a little like it does for a monk smelling sandalwood or a Christian smelling incense while praying
4.) Scent has a way of establishing you in the moment when you focus on it
This recipe I have been using is the one below I modified from www.naturallivingideas.com, which also guides you through a wonderful how-to on mixing oils. Though it is intended to promote emotional well-being, but the effect on me has been nothing less than extreme contentedness (that might be the same thing).
Clary Sage: 3 drops – (middle: dry, tea-like and floral)
Jasmine: 2 drops – (middle: warm, rich, deeply floral)
Bergamot: 12 drops – (top note: fresh, spicy, floral, citrus)
Benzoin: 5 drops – (base: rich, sweet, similar to vanilla)
Ylang Ylang: 2 drops – (base: rich, sweet, floral)
Grapefruit: 2 drops – (secondary top note: fresh, tangy, citrus)
Carrier Oil: 2/3 C. Jojoba oil (most like human oils, little to no scent)
***My friend Amy says this oil I’ve been making smells like Napoleon’s iconic perfume Eau de Cologne which he had custom-made.
I can’t help but share the self-love. My new plan is to develop half a dozen different types of self massage oil for my friends to try out and comment back on. Have you tried self-massage? What do you do for anxiety?