Black sesame oil [til] is the primary staple oil used by Ayurveda for external application when it comes to healing, nourishing & protecting the body & senses. Ayurveda espouses that oiling the skin daily [abhyanga] creates a protective, strengthening force field around you for the day.
Sweet, bitter and astringent in taste, warming in action, black sesame easily penetrates and nourishes the skin. Soothing and reducing the effects of Vata, without aggravating Kapha, it is known to promote stability, strength & softness. Owing to its warming nature, black sesame is indicated for those who run cold, experience dry skin, or live in cooler climates.
It’s best to apply the oil thickly & warmed before you shower or bath, as the warm water will open the pores and the oil will penetrate deeply. You can warm the oil by sitting it in a container inside another container of hot water (I place my bottle in the bath, whilst filling the bath with warm water).
Apply the oil for 5 minutes before showering or bathing, using long strokes on the limbs and smaller circular strokes around the joints. Apply at least a palm full of oil starting with the head, oiling the ears, nostrils the scalp, nape of the neck , décolletage and centre of the chest or heart. Oil the feet, and pay special attention to the hips, buttocks and lower abdomen, known as the seat of Vata. Once your in the warm water, continue to massage the oil into yourself – do not use soap the remove the oil – just soap the hairy parts to remove oil. As you towel off, gently pat your body dry and avoid getting dressed immediately, this way the oil can continue to penetrate the body.
For best results, once a week, apply the oil and allow yourself a 15 min rest or meditation (in a warm place and warm robe) before you shower or bath. This practise allows the nerves to calm and for impurities to be softened and carried out of the body. It helps with pain management, strengthens the nervous system and enhances immunity. Be sure to apply the oil with patience and kindness, this is not a rushed practice, in Ayurveda it’s known as ‘snehana’ or ‘self love’, and is literally an application of love. Take good care during this practice and make sure to clean the floors and bath room during and after so as to avoid slipping. Covering the floor with a rug or large towel is advisable.
*never dry towels used for abhyanga or oiling in your dryer, place them outside to sun dry.