Try These Natural Cures For Stress and Insomnia


Many of the detoxifying, rejuvenating treatments of Ayurveda use heated, herbalized oils. (Photo: Getty Images)

If there’s one thing I’ve learned in all of my years as a health editor, it’s that sometimes it takes ancient therapies to combat modern maladies.That’s why I jumped at the chance to be touched by the healing hands of Martha Soffer, an internationally acclaimed Ayurvedic expert and founder of the LA-based Surya Ayurvedic Center.

Related: 6 Best All-Natural Health Cures

Martha, whose clients include celebs such as Gwyneth Paltrow, Kate Hudson, and Amber Valletta, has been instrumental in reintroducing Ayurveda — a 5,000-year-old system of natural healing that has its origins in the Vedic culture of India — as a modern path to wellness. I can now say from experience that my time with her was nothing short of transcendent—I truly felt like I relaxed so deeply that I entered another state of consciousness.

Below, Martha shares two at-home Ayurvedic remedies for mitigating stress and sleeplessness. Enjoy!

For Stress Reduction: Use a little olive and sesame oil to massage your head, working the oil into your scalp. It happens to be great for your hair, but the focus here is really the oil massaged into the top of your head, putting the emphasis on a special point directly on the top of the head — one of the 256 marma (a Sanskrit word meaning secret) points on the body — called adhipati. The way to find the point is to start at the tip of the ears and locate the midpoint on the top of your head. This will calm the nervous system, and if you can do this once or twice a week (or more if you want to!), it will have profound and lasting effects on reducing stress and improving mental health. If you don’t want to put so much oil on your head and hair, you can even put a few drops on the adhipati marma point before you go to sleep, gently rub it in, and you’ll have a similar and deeply relaxing rest for the nervous system.

•For Sleep Promotion: This one’s so easy. Massage some ghee, which is clarified butter, into the soles of your feet before sleeping. Spend at least five minutes on each foot. You’ll be massaging all the organs in your body through the feet, relaxing them. Spend a little time on the toes as well, especially the big toe, which which is connected to the head. That will quickly calm your vata, the wind and motion element of the body…and when that’s calm, so is the mind, letting you drift off into a deep, rejuvenating sleep.

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