As the temperatures drop, different people will be affected in different ways. While the cooler temperatures provide some relief to more fiery folks, they are not as comforting for others. Some of us may start to feel chilled and dried-out, while others may feel more slow and sluggish, or tend toward depression. For those of us in the second camp, one way to balance out the cold and help our bodies trend back toward neutral is to use warming body oils.
The best way to use oils therapeutically is to apply them to your body daily via self-massage. By massaging the oils into our skin, we can warm our bodies more quickly by stimulating our skin and getting our blood, and any other stagnation, moving. The best areas to focus your self-massage are the parts of your body that tend to be cold or stagnant, such as your hands and feet, or your lower back/kidney area. You can also add warming oils to your bath, or foot-bath, for a slightly different treatment.
In choosing your oils, it’s best to consider 1) if they are more cooling or warming, and 2) which would be best for your particular needs. If you tend to run hot or are easily aggravated by heat, you should avoid warming oils altogether and opt for more neutral oils, such as sunflower or jojoba oil.
However, if you tend to chill easily and have no qualms with heat, try using Sesame or Almond oil. Both of these oils are warming and nourishing for skin that tends to dry out. I find almond oil to be more hydrating than sesame, so for drier skin, I like to use a combination of both. Mahanarayan oil is an Ayurvedic formula that is infused with warming oils and is especially beneficial if you suffer from joint stiffness during the cooler months.
You can also add extra heat to your warming oils by adding essential oils. Some warming essential oils include: cinnamon, rosemary, clove, ginger, myrrh, basil, juniper berry, black pepper.*
For those who tend towards anxiety, try jatamansi oil. It is a warming and grounding oil, perfect for settling the nervous system.
Make Your Own Warming Oil: Add about 15 drops of essential oils (can be one oil or a mix) to a one-ounce bottle of carrier oil (Sesame or Almond). Mix well and skinjoy!
You can also try the following blends for each dosha. If you don’t know your natural doshic constitution, you can find it by using the Free Skin Type Profiler.
Vata Blend – A warming, grounding, & moisturizing blend for drier skin
- Almond Oil: 1oz
- Sweet Orange Essential Oil: 15 drops
- Cinnamon Essential Oil: 5 drops
Pitta Blend – A cooling, soothing, anti-inflammatory, & relaxing blend for sensitive, combination skin
- Jojoba Oil: 1oz
- Rosewood Essential Oil: 20 drops
- Lavender Essential Oil: 7 drops
Kapha Blend – A stimulating, uplifting, & toning blend for more oily skin
- Grapeseed Oil: 1oz
- Lemongrass Essential Oil: 15 drops
- Ginger Essential Oil: 5 drops
*Please Note: These spice oils, while warming, are very strong and can cause skin irritation if not properly diluted. Always test essential oils in small patches on your skin and start with less if you have sensitive skin.