Amanda’s note: Here is another wonderful contribution from Ramya Venkateshwaran who writes from her home in India. Find her on her website WildTurmeric.net for more ideas on healthy living.
After the massage with sesame oil, we were made to wait for at least an hour to let the oil soak in our scalp. After the soaking part, we used to have our hair washed with a special herbal powder called arappu — this powder is made by grinding the leaves of arappu tree from our farm. On the days we had our treatment, we used to get a deep sleep and the next two days we felt so refreshed.
The hot oil treatment relaxes a person and is an absolute necessity if you are leading a very stressful and busy life. It conditions the hair, prevents split ends, strengthens the hair roots, and prevents your hair from falling out if done at least weekly. I still continue this tradition and I strongly recommend that you try it at least once to get to know its wonderful benefits.
The oil used for oil bath was always homemade unrefined sesame oil and though the spices that is added to the oil varies form home to home, the base oil for oil bath is always sesame oil. The spices added to the oil can be varied — we use spices like whole peppercorns, cumin seeds, dry ginger, garlic, etc. You can add any spices that you like but make sure the oil is unrefined and don’t heat it to its smoking point. Many people in our area use only peppercorns to season the oil, even my maternal grandma make prepares the oil with only peppercorns. Though this is a traditional approach, in the recipe below I use essential oils for added convenience.
Prepare the oil in a cast iron pan. We use a small iron pan for making the oil. Never use a non-stick pan for making the oil.
The massage part of the treatment is as important as the oil. Though it is best to learn the basic technique of Indian hair massage directly from a person with experience, you can do the basic massage easily. For beginners, take the warm oil with your fingers and massage the scalp using circular motions. With regular practice you will be able to do it easily but make sure to cover your entire scalp with the oil. The massage should be gentle and relaxing. The spices or herbs that are added to the oil can be changed according to your need.
I have always wanted to make the oil using essential oils, as they are great for treating different various problems of the scalp. I really enjoyed the oil bath made with this blend of essential oils. The essential oils I chose are rosemary, lavender, and sage. Rosemary is great for promoting hair growth,lavender is very relaxing, and sage essential oil fights mental fatigue.
Make sure to choose a day when you have plenty of time to do this hair treatment.
On the day of your treatment, you might feel a bit tired and sleepy. This is normal. You will get a good sleep that day and the next day you will feel very refreshed.
If you have your favorite blend of essential oils, you can use that too.
Any time you are under a lot of stress, try this oil treatment.
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