By Martha Soffer
The time-tested and nourishing medicine of Ayurveda is a 5,000 year old system that, through diet, herbs, treatments and practices like yoga and meditation, helps us come into harmony with our own nature. For a new mother, during the six weeks following birth, the practices of Ayurveda are especially profound and restorative.
Modern obstetrical care emphasizes pregnancy, labor and delivery. After birth, as long as everyone’s healthy, they’re on to the next patient. Ayurveda, on the other hand, considers the six weeks after birth to be a precious opportunity, for both mother and baby.
A new mother’s physiology is, in many ways, as delicate as her baby’s. One of the simplest techniques to restore aggravated vata dosha, or the inner elements of air and space, is traditional abhyanga, a specific, loving and nurturing massage using uniquely herbalized warm sesame oil. When vata is calmed through gentle, Ayurvedic treatments, new mothers experience better digestion, deeper sleep and a strengthened vitality. Mothers also find relief from common postpartum conditions such as weight gain and depression, and most importantly, quickly recover from the experience of birth. This faster recovery allows new mothers to give fuller attention and more love and devotion to their new children. With the proper Ayurvedic care, new mothers can come out of the postpartum period stronger than ever.
Ayurveda also views this six week period as a profound time in the baby’s life. Baby abhyangas enhance the infant’s growing circulatory system, gently press impurities out of new tissues into the channels which control circulation and elimination (shotras), increase immunity, support digestion and release stress and tension — even new babies get muscle tightness from being cramped in the womb!
On psychological and emotional levels, baby abhyangas help bond parents and infant bond, help develop new communication, and, interestingly, create a sense of safety for the newborn. For an infant, being touched does even more — touch “feeds” the new skin and developing nervous system. Mothers and fathers who practice baby abhyanga find that their babies less colic, more settled, sleeping better, and generally more healthy. Regular baby abyhangas are a precious gift that every new parent (that both parents) can give their new baby to help their baby not only get off to the strongest start, but experience those benefits for the rest of their life.
Surya Spa, an authentic Ayurvedic Center in Pacific Palisades, offers Mother & Baby Massages in the comfort of your own home. Surya’s Ayurvedic therapists and postpartum Doulas provide up to 6 weeks of daily support in structured programs, beginning as soon as you come home for the hospital. Surya offers a full array of prenatal and postpartum services, and designing program right for each client. For more information, or to schedule a series, please call or email Surya at 310-459-7715 or firstname.lastname@example.org.