Oil bath tradition has scientific backing: Expert

By P T Usha Published on Oct 16, 2017 05:24 PM IST

Chennai: Deepavali is here, so are the crackers and new dresses. However, there is one more uniqueness of the festival, which is taking oil bath on the day. With changes in time, there are revisions in our tradition and custom. Over a period of time, this custom has faded due to lifestyle changes.

But behind this custom, there seems to be a scientific explanation. Principal scientist of a personal care products company, Lakshmi Thiagarajan, shares her expertise on the concept of oil bath.

In recent years, the tradition of taking oil bath is slowly going down and this can be mainly attributed to a fast moving lifestyle.


The scientist says, "There are certain myths among the younger generation regarding oil bath - that it will lead to excess oilyness of the skin and hair will have lint, etc. Some are even frightened that they may get cold or sinus problem. But the truth this, if they make this a routine, they can come out of both their physical and mental problems. Health issues caused due to pollution and stress can be dealt easily with oil bath."

"Some of our recent researches on people's nature of going back to our tradition have proved that people try consuming traditional foods like millets, sprouts, etc. In that case, I would suggest people should also involve in tracing back our traditional customs like oil bath which has huge scientific values," she added.


Explaining the importance of applying oil, Lakshmi says there is a natural oil secretion everywhere in our skin and scalp called 'sebum'.

She adds that over a period of time, due to pollution, the secretion gets eroded. In order to balance the presence of oil in our body, oil bath becomes essential. A good massage would take away the dead skin cells in the scalp and improve blood circulation with which the inner tissues are nourished and re-vitalised. This greatly improves complexion and skin tone, skin layer will be mosturised and dryness can be swept away.

Above all, this gives a stress-free, relaxed feeling by inducing good and peaceful sleep. As the proverb suggests, 'En saan udambukku thalaye pradhanam' (head is primary for a body) this is the only custom that stresses the importance of head, that too the topmost part of the head. Applying oil in the hair nourishes hair growth, reduces breakage and split ends, smooths hair follicles, protects hair colour, etc. Though there are genetic reasons, they can be postponed," Lakshmi adds.


"Stress is everywhere - right from the school-going to the elderly. Many face psychological problems and the best medicine would be proper oil bath. Doing this at least once a week is essential to beat mental problems. That, too, women are advised to take oil bath twice a week since their body conditions are naturally hotter than men's," explains Lakshmi.