Feb 16, 2021

The Oil bath Ritual

 Saturday mornings in the 80s used to be like this at my home. My grandmother would apply generous amounts of warm sesame oil on my scalp and let it soak for around 30 minutes. I would be playing outside, exposed to the Sun while the oil was getting absorbed. After she got the hot water ready, she would call me. She would then apply a paste of shikakai paste all over my hair and then wash it off. Though my eyes would be tightly shut, invariably the shikakai paste would get in my eyes and cause a burning sensation. After the hair bath, she would put a piece of sambrani (loban) on top of hot coal. The fumes would immediately start coming and she would cover it with a bamboo basket. I would then keep my head on top of the inverted basket and the hair would slowly dry, thanks to the hot fumes. And the aroma used to be so divine and relaxing.

I have recreated a similar ritual in the past 2 years. Every Fri/Sat I have been following this oil bath ritual. I warm a few tbsp of cold-pressed sesame oil and massage all over my body and my head. After leaving it for 10-15 minutes, I wash my hair using a herbal hair wash powder. I don't use any soap/bath powder so that the oil gets absorbed through my skin. This whole routine takes around an hour but worth the time investment. 

The oil bath is effective not just for the hair but for the whole body. It nourishes the skin, cools the head, and relaxes the mind in general. 

How this has benefitted me?

  • Hair has grown longer
  • Hair fall has considerably reduced
  • I love the calm, cooling effect on my mind and body
  • Skin dryness has reduced
  • The frequency of migraine/headaches have reduced

If you spend too much time in front of laptops/gadgets/books, I highly recommend adding oil bath to your weekly habits.

An oil bath is usually recommended twice a week but even if you can allocate time for it at least once a week, you will be able to reap its benefits.

P.S. I quit using shampoo sometime in 2015 and switched to herbal hair wash powders. I wrote about this in detail in an earlier post

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