There’s nothing quite like a good massage. When the right pair of hands can get deep into tissue to release knots and increase blood flood, the body responds by recovering faster from soreness and injuries, and eases feelings of stress and tension.
A good massage can go a long way to giving your body a refresh, but it’s often over too soon. If you want to enhance your experience and maximize the benefits of each massage, consider adding ashwagandha.
Ashwagandha root has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for centuries. Research has found that Ashwagandha contains a chemical known as an adaptogen. Adaptogens interact with receptors in the brain in a manner that can support cognitive and emotional well-being.
Ashwagandha for Relaxation
Ashwagandha is a ‘rasayana,’ an Ayurvedic term that comes from the Sanskrit language. ‘Rasa’ means to preserve, transform, and replenish; ‘ayana’ means to increase or circulate. An herb that is a rasayana, like ashwagandha, is therefore able to provide “enhanced” physical and mental clarity over similar herbs, according to Ayurvedic practitioners.
Ashwagandha is commonly used for purposes related to relaxation, such as stress, anxiety, and mood support. The herb is said to help normalize functions of the body so that it is better equipped to handle stress. Ashwagandha has been found to help balance the hypothalamic, pituitary, and adrenal glands. These glands work collectively in the body to transition back and forth between stress and relaxation.
Ashwagandha can aid not just one’s muscles, but joints as well. Studies have shown that the herb had a positive impact on tender and swollen joints. Ashwagandha is often taken orally, but using the herb as an essential oil may be ideal during a massage to help the beneficial compounds to reach the joints and other trouble areas.
Herbs for Easing Muscle Tension
Massage therapy takes advantage of other essential oils as well. Lavender, chamomile, lemon balm, and hawthorn are just a few of the many popular options for people that may support relaxation during a massage. If you don’t have the time or budget for a massage, you can apply each oil right at home, preferably after a long soak in the tub.
Before using each oil, make sure to mix it with a carrier oil. This dilutes the oils as each essential oil is highly concentrated and can irritate or damage the skin. Some of the most common carrier oils come from almond, coconut, grapeseed, jojoba, and olive oil. By carefully selecting your carrier oil, you can take the first step in making a massage oil that speaks to you by having the ideal feel and aroma to relax you.
For a slightly more involved application, check out the Thai Herbal Ball massage. The “ball,” traditionally comprised of muslin, is filled with herb and tied at the top with string to form a type of handle. The ball is steamed so it can act as a hot compress when pressed against the skin. Experiment with tamarind, lemongrass, kaffir lime, shikakai, cassia siamea, and mangosteen to get the most from the Thai style of massage.
As fun as it can be to be pampered once in a while, you may also want to think about making your own massage oil.
We all need a bit of “R&R” every now and then. Whether it’s by making an appointment with a massage therapist or creating your own massage oil at home, consider including herbs such as Ashwagandha to your massage routine. Life can be stressful, but nature has plenty to help your body cope and even thrive.