Dryness and your immune system

When we do a cleanse therapy in Ayurveda we oil up the insides and the outsides. The idea being that the process helps to move the toxins to the digestive system for it to then be eliminated. Once the purge has been done, we then use extensive oil treatments to build up the system again. Sesame oil is wonderful in that it has cleansing and building properties. Daily oiling assists the skin in detoxing, especially if a sweat is slightly induced. The skin is a digestive organ and a channel for elimination via sweat. It is important that our skin be allowed to breath. It is also important that our skin feel protected, that we feel protected against the elements.

A dry stick breaks, but if you soak the stick in oil, it becomes flexible. The same thing happens to the body. Vata makes the body dry and stiff, as dry muscles and fascia become achy. However if you do frequent oil therapy your body will become like a juicy stick that doesn’t break.
— Dr Vasant Lad -Shodhana Chikitsa - Ayurveda Volume III

Ayurveda is a big proponent of protecting your immunity. We consider that you should live a life that considers a form of daily self protection.  We are not only impacted by the elements in terms of the weather but also the energy of others in our interactions with them. I'm observing that intimacy is lessening due to the fact that we are all becoming hyper sensitive - to food, to whom we interact with, to silly Facebook posts. We seem to create more laws around what we can/can't say, what we should eat, how far to the edge of the cliff we can stand. Our knack for protecting ourselves is being handed over, since the art of context is not a viable premise in our society.

So. Oil your body daily. Choose an oil that works for your body type. The classic is that sesame oil works for Vata, coconut/sunflowe for Pitta, Mustard for Kapha. However, should you be able to get medicated oils, they are just so much nicer. You have an opportunity to feed your body herbs via the skin and it just doubles the impact you are looking for - to calm Vatas nerves before she starts the day, to cool Pitta's hotness before intensity and inflammation hit, to invigorate Kapha's lethargy and cold wetness to feel productive.

Central Victoria is a harsh environment that feels like it ravages you. Over here I do not know what I would do without daily oiling. For more lush environments it may not be as important for a general maintenance, depending on your situation of course. And if you don't oil, please don't soap! removing the natural oils in your skin is counter productive to building immunity. If you smell, then you have an issue with your digestion and that should be attended to. There should be no need for deoderant, which masks an underlying issue.  High essential oils notwithstanding as they add a therapeutic element to the sense of smell.

Honour your water element in as many forms as you can. As we age this naturally depletes and can cause Vata to promote more problems. The time of menopause is one of them, where the intensity of work and excessive movement in our lives can cause Vata to push Pitta resulting in hot flashes. Calming the system down, ensuring elimination and digestion are in working order and protecting yourself via oiling are simple measure to ease the transition. Menopause is not a disease, it's a transition and transitions are Vata inducing.

Stay oily. It will fare you well as you age and how you attend to your day. Your skin will look better, and your mindset will naturally calm at feeling like it's not always on the defense.

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Sandra Radja

Established in 2012 The She Oak aims to provide healing through diet and lifestyle counselling as well as educational programs. I believe in teaching others to not only know their inherent constitutions that will best serve them but also how to help themselves should they mis-align with their true nature. Ayurveda treats the individual not the disease.