My not-so-secret secret to grounding and hydrating and mobilising my joints in freaky old dry (i.e. Vata) autumn is simple as anything: massage oils. Nourishing and heavy oils to be precise — the kind that would make you sweat like crazy just a few months ago in the summer are now your saviour in the cold erratic weather. The ideal oil to balance this Vata weather is warming and grounding — for example, sesame oil has the ideal Vata-balancing qualities, and whatever your dominant Dosha (aka mind-body type) we could all do with balancing our Vata from time to time. Those who are predominantly Vata just might want to do it much more often than Pitta or Kapha types! If however, despite the Vata environment that you’re in (and by the way those in the southern hemisphere, like Australia and South Africa aren’t actually in autumn right now but in spring), you feel like you have a Pitta imbalance (hot, sweaty, irritable — definitely don’t want much more heating) or Kapha imbalance (cold, lethargic and greasy — definitely don’t want more heavy!) then choose the appropriate Dosha-balancing oil (Kapha types get some revitalising body brushing in as well!). You tune into you.

So, onto how to use these oils. Well, even the smell of them will be designed to soothe whichever Dosha is imbalanced, but to really put them to use try an Abhyanga self-massage, the oil for which you later wash off once it’s worked its magic.

If you’re pressed for time, you could also try it as a thin layer to smooth into your still wet post-shower body as a fine moisturiser or seal to keep working all day (you might want to practise this on the weekend if oils are not something you’ve worked with before as a moisturiser so that you don’t stain your clothes!).

To heat your oil (best for the massage and best to get it extra thin a moisturiser), pop the bottle into a hot glass of water for the massage or just bring it into the shower with you to use it as a body oil.

Meanwhile, back to massaging with autumn in mind. Here’s how to make your own Vata-balancing oil, taking the sesame oil up a level, by blending it with the spices and essential oils as below:

Homemade Vata Massage Oil



1 cup of sesame or almond oil for Vata (sunflower oil for Pitta and safflower oil for Kapha types)
½ cup of the following mixed spices in any combination: ground turmeric, fresh ginger, fresh basil, cloves, orange peel
Optional: jasmine, basil, orange or rose essential oil (or a mixture of all)


  1. In a small saucepan, gently heat the oil until it comes to the boil.

  2. Stir in the spices and quickly remove from the heat.

  3. Cover and allow to steep for a day. Then strain through a muslin cloth into a clean, dry glass bottle.

  4. Add 5 to 8 drops of essential oil, if desired, and seal.


As for ready-to-go oils, try some of the below until you find your favourite — I love them all!

Pavilion Health Yoga Moves Massage Oil - Based on the traditional Ayurvedic Mahanarayan oil, this oil supports muscle and joint health, and especially those issues that arise in autumn.

Pavilion Health Vata Balance Oil - Made with lavender, patchouli and basil, this oil does what it says on the tin: good news for Vata season.

Pukka Active 35 Organic Massage Oil - Also based on the Mahanaryan oil blend, this Pukka Herbs is another great one for the joints.

Maharishi Ayurveda Vata Massage Oil - This one is a staple in my bathroom year-round and is wonderfully grounding to tame that out-of-control Vata, especially as we move towards winter.

Mauli Surrender Vata Body Oil - If you’re in the mood for something a bit luxurious, this is the autumn massage oil for you.

ILA Body Oil for Inner Peace - Sandalwood, ylang ylang, jasmine, argan and rosehip come together to help you manage the stress of anxiety that are associated with excess Vata. A lovely grounding oil.

Browse my beauty Shop page for more supportive products and remember to take care of yourself holistically — mind, body and spirit — this autumn. A 3-day Ayurvedic Cleanse + Reset will do you a world of good as you get used to the changing weather and shorter days. To receive the plan, subscribe to my newsletter if you haven’t already.

Jasmine Hemsley