Now that the holidays are in full swing, I hope you are remembering your self-care in these busy times and finding time to rest and nurture yourself. I want to share today a beautiful self-care technique that will also take care of your itchy, dry, winter skin. Recently, after I scratched my itchy shins until they bled, I had to reinstate the lovely Ayurvedic ritual of Abhyanga combined with a Naturopathic Medicine favorite, dry skin brushing, to fulfill my twin desires of self-care and preserving the skin on my shins.
Ayurvedic medicine is one of the oldest medicine systems around, originating in the Vedic culture of India 2,000- 5,000 years ago. Ayurvedic is a Sanskrit word that means the science or wisdom of life, and recognizes that the body and mind are inextricably connected. Abhyanga is the ritual of applying sesame seed oil to the entire body, using soothing self-massage. The application of oils to the entire body is said to be nourishing to mind, body, and soul. This practice is very grounding especially to certain types of temperaments, and calms the nerves and improves sleep.
Dry skin brushing is a method of detoxification that yields great results for your skin and your entire body. Dry skin brushing stimulates your lymph system (your body’s sewage system) to get rid of cellular debris. Now that we are reaching the pinnacle of our “retoxing” holiday excesses, it’s time to prepare for the detoxing regimen that must surely follow in January.
The skin’s ability to excrete toxins is not well emphasized. The skin is sometimes referred to as the third lung or the third kidney. Up to two pounds of waste are eliminated every day through our skin. This is why the skin is often the very first place an imbalance in the body may appear as the skin tries desperately to eliminate waste. Eruptions, blemishes, rashes, odors, and even colors may appear.
The substances that have been analyzed that fall off the body during skin brushing are not only dead skin cells, which we would expect, but discharges, urea, sodium chloride, sebum, and metabolic wastes.
Dry skin brushing also addresses the lymphatic system which is essential to removing wastes throughout the body. Indeed, that is its function. And yet, unlike our circulatory system, there is no pump (the heart) to keep the fluid moving. Your lymphatic system moves through the body picking up waste and excretes it through the skin, kidneys, and other organs of elimination. Do you have trouble with cellulite? Cellulite is a condition of trapped toxins underneath the skin that is greatly helped by proper lymphatic circulation.
Exercise is one way to get the lymph moving. But as we’ll see, daily skin brushing does as well by jumpstarting the lymphatic drainage system, which allows wastes to be excreted regularly through the skin.
Dry skin brushing:
Directions for Dry Skin Brushing Followed by
This practice alleviated my dry, itchy, winter skin in one day! By committing to this self-care ritual 4-5 days a week, you will soon notice that your skin is becoming softer and smoother. Eventually you will look forward to taking the extra 10 to 15 minutes in your daily routine that will set you up for a more nourishing and uplifting day. Self-care is a powerful tool in your personal regimen and leads to a feeling of mastery and fulfillment over your life.
As we move into the final days of 2017, I want to thank you for being a part of my clean beauty and natural medicine community. I wish you all love and joy for creating the healthy and beautiful life that you deserve in 2018!
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