Here are some of my favorite Ayurvedic practices for heart health:
1.) Self-Abhyana - otherwise known as a warm oil lymphatic massage. Use an oil that is appropriate for your constitution (more on this in later posts) and make long strokes up your arms and legs towards your heart to help move the lymph. Create friction around your joints using a circular motion to build heat and support circulation. 'Snehana' in Sanskrit means oil, but it also means love. Oiling the skin has traditionally been a practice of offering love to the body, making it a great time to say affirmations, chant mantras, and think positive thoughts.
3.) Hrid (Heart) Basti - an Ayurvedic treatment involving a warm medicated oil and milk decoction placed on the heart, contained in a dough dam. This healing treatment is deeply nurturing, opens the heart on an energetic level, as well as strengthens and regulates cardiac function. Some of the herbs used include rose, hawthorn berry, lavender, ashwaganda, skullcap, and St. John's Wort. The dough that's used has an astringent quality which helps to draw out impurities from the skin. It also rests somewhat heavily on the chest, increasing awareness to this region of the body.
5.) Cuddling - we all know human touch is important for health and now more and more 'research' is showing how cuddling increases oxytocin and is a remedy for depression. In Ayurveda, human touch and sex are emphasized in the cold, winter months. Just as the trees are bare and exposed, we too need more comfort and nurturing. Get your cuddle on!
6.) Salt foot soak - although this does not directly link to the heart, soaking the feet is overall relaxing and can lower the heart rate. Regular foot soaks followed by oiling the bottoms of the feet, can help relieve deep-seated stress and promote restful sleep; especially when using quality salts like a high-trace mineral epsom or pink himalayan. Adding essential oils and rose petals are a definate bonus to any food soak. Since rose essential oil is quite expensive, a friend just shared with me a nice floral and sweet alternative blend that also works with the heart: 'Champa' & 'Cardamom.'
I hope you enjoy these 7 practices, and have and have a wonderful Full Moon Valentine's day. Love it up!