What is Oil Bath
All of us have Oil bath at some time or the other. But the duration and the method of having bath varies widely around the world. Oil Bath is a very common phenomenon found widely in South India and especially in Tamil Nadu. Oil bath has been a tradition found from ancient times especially as part of Ashtanga tradition. Now with changing patterns, people often have bath without having their head getting wet. Most of the people have bath from head to toe only once in a week and on auspicious festivals like Diwali.
Here, I have written about the importance of having oil bath and the medicinal and health benefits that we enjoy because of it.
Types of Oil Bath
There are mainly two types of oil bath:
Head Oil Bath: Means applying oil in the head and waiting for atleast 5 minutes before taking bath from head to toe either in shower or in a tub.
Body Massage and Oil Bath: This means you apply oil over the entire body and do some massage as per your convenience and then taking a full body bath.
Head only Oil Bath
Take any of the desired oils mentioned above. Apply it over the head and massage it lightly. Leave it for 5 minutes. Then have bath in warm water and then wipe with towel.
Some people may feel that shikkakai or shampoo needs to be used when taking oil bath. It is not necessary. I used to have oil bath daily without shampoo or shikkakai. I take bath with shampoo or shikkakai only once in a week. Once you apply shampoo or shikkakai, the oil in the hair gets removed and your hair will be left dry.
Full Body Oil Bath
People in south India used to have this once in a week. Apply oil especially sesame oil from head to toe and massage it. Leave it for 20 minutes. Then have head bath with Shikkakai or shampoo.
Types of Oil Used for Oil Bath
There are various types of oils that are being used.
Coconut Oil: This is the main type of oil which has been widely used by most of the people. It is very commonly available in all stores.
Sesame Oil: This is very effective oil which most people use but only occasionally. Few people have it regularly once in a week.
Medicated Oil: In some houses, people prepare medicated oil with coconut oil as base. The ingredients used are Karuveppilai or curry leaves, maruthani or henna leaves, sembaruthi or hibiscus flowers and leaves. The ingredients are taken, ground to form a paste and then dried in sun. It is then boiled in coconut oil and stored. This can be used regularly.
Herbal Oils: There are a number of herbal oils available in the market like Hibiscus thailam, Vatika oil, etc.
Ayurvedic Thailams: There are a number of Ayurvedic thailams available in the market. It is better to consult a doctor to identify the right type of oil that suits your body. The most famous are: Neelibringhadi Thailam, Kumkumadi Thailam , Thriphladi Thailam, etc
Health Benefits of having Oil Bath
- Oil removes heat from the body makes it feel cool
- It removes the dusty particles present in the skin
- It improves the appetite and makes us feel good taste
- It improves concentration and helps in having a healthy deep sleep
- The hair grows thickly and graying of hair gets delayed
- The nerves in the body improve and your body gets rejuvenated
- It is highly beneficial for the eyes since it improves vision and removes dusty particles. It also removes the reddishness colour of the eyes that comes with stress
- Reduces blood pressure and helps to keep body healthy
- Improved Digestion
- The quality of the skin like complexion and colour improves
Problems faced due to Oil Bath
The main problem that most of the people face is that they have been accustomed to some habit and it is really difficult to change the habits. Even the few persons who try to inhabit new activities like taking a herbal oil bath once a week face problems like getting infected with cold, feeling tired, etc.
It is important that those who want to inculcate new habits need to start slowly and with caution. Taking a sudden bath with large quantity of Hibiscus may leave you with cold and headache. It is better to take a very small quantity of such oil initially and then wait and see what happens. Once your body accepts it, it is better to make it a habit.
- If you infected with cold or fever, do not have oil bath
- Pregnant people need to consult a physician before taking oil bath
- It is better to have oil bath in soft water. Hard water removes the benefits from reaching the body.
Idhayam sesame has been various famous in India and used by people widely. You can have a view at their site http://www.idhayam.com/sesame_oil.php to know more about the health benefits.