Many of the doulas and midwives in Newborn Mothers Collective LOVE my self massage guide so much they ask to share it with their clients. So I decided to make it available to everyone - completely free of charge. Please enjoy and share with your friends, colleagues and clients.
Oil massage increases oxytocin! Daily self-massage can help you manage stress, accelerate recovery from childbirth, reduce pain and build deeper self-love. If you are massaging yourself or your baby, this guide will give you an overview of massage and answer your questions.
Oil can stain or deteriorate clothing so wear old underwear, or none at all. I’ll tell you how to wash out oil at the end of this guide.
Start by warming up (see below) and then undress and stir comfortably on an old towel. It might be worth grabbing a few second hand towels and a bath robe or dressing gown from the op shop if you don’t have any lying around the house.
- Warm Room - About 15 minutes before you plan your massage you may want to prepare the room by putting on a heater. A small draft free room is easiest to heat, like a bathroom, though your bedroom may be more comfortable.
- Warm Bath - Running the bath is sometimes the easiest way to warm a bathroom, and you and your baby can slip into the bath together after your massage. Bliss!!
- Warm Oil - About five minutes before you start warm your oil. My personal favourite way to warm your oil is in an essential oil burner, with a tea light (candle) underneath.
- Warm Hands - Wash your hands in hot water if you need to warm them up.
- Warm Heart - Massage from a place of love and you can’t go wrong!
Always use long strokes, open palms, clockwise circles. Avoid pinching poking or any deep tissue work unless you are a qualified massage therapist. You can download quick guides specifically for self-massage and baby massage underneath each video.
Oil massage increases oxytocin. Doing this self-massage and baby massage daily can help you manage stress, accelerate recovery from childbirth, reduce pain and build deeper self-love.
Oil massage can help:
- Increase your circulation and metabolism.
- Tone your muscles.
- Calm your nerves.
- Lubricate your joints.
- Improve elimination of impurities from the body.
- Give you softer, smoother skin.
- Increase stamina through the day.
- Give you better, deeper sleep at night.
More important than the strokes is the organic black sesame oil! It penetrates the skin deeply, rejuvenating all seven tissues in the body.
Ayurveda suggests that you shouldn't put anything on your skin that isn't good enough to eat! I love this idea of the skin as a digestive organ and it narrows down your massage oil options immensely. It also explains why we should never, never use mineral oil for massage. Mineral Oil is a highly processed by-product of petroleum and aside from being something you definitely would NOT eat, it blocks natural skin secretions and stops the skin from regulating temperature.
Any oil used on a baby is best organic, extra virgin and cold pressed!
Organic black sesame oil is the most classical Ayurvedic massage oil. It is the only oil to penetrate all seven tissues. It's hot and heavy qualities are very grounding and nourishing for new mums and babies, but it may be unbalancing if Kapha or Pitta is high. I strongly recommend that you use this oil - unless you or your baby have allergies or heat rash.
Store oil out of direct sunlight, in a dark glass bottle in a cool place.
Once you have finished your massage leave the oil on your skin for a few minutes to sink in. If your baby is happy you can leave the oil on for up to 45 minutes, but after that no more will be absorbed, and it can block your pores.
During this time you can meditate, practise your affirmations, read to your toddler, listen to music… This is one of the easiest times to massage your baby or older children too cause the room is warm and oil and towels are all ready to go.
Some people like to use an old bath robe or dressing gown to stay warm after they’ve applied oil.
When you and your baby have had enough - it may only be a few minutes - have a shower or bath (together is lovely!) If you need to rush off for any reason and don’t have time to bathe then wipe off the excess oil with your old towels.
Washing Off The Oils
Don’t use soap to wash off the oil off your skin, just warm water is fine. In Ayurveda they use chickpea flour or mung bean flour! It feels lovely, but it’s a bit messy. Just mix some with a little water to make a paste if you want to try this out.
If you don’t want to have oily hair then skip the oil for your head massage (though oil on your head is really wonderful for the nervous system!) Sometimes you need to shampoo twice to get the oil out of your hair. During the first six weeks I suggest you just stay home and get greasy!
Wash your towels or any clothes that get oily in a hot machine wash with a tiny drop of dishwashing liquid. This helps remove the grease.