FRIDAY'S FEATURE: Joseph Pilates' version of cleanliness
If you read Joseph Pilates' book Return to Life Through Contrology, you gain so much insight about the Pilates Method as a lifestyle rather than just a form of exercise. Joe had such strong opinions about functional exercise, posture & spine health, muscular symmetry; breath quality, good circulation, rest and cleanliness. In summary he stressed the importance of the "unique trinity" of a balanced body, mind and spirit. Even in the 30's & 40's, Joe criticized how the modernization of our culture has led to the detriment of the above. If only he could see us in the New Millennium! What would he think now?
One thing that captured my attention in Joe's book was how he questioned our level of bodily cleanliness, despite the fact that most of us bathe daily. He believed that the only way to achieve true cleanliness was through dry skin brushing! He comments, "The use of a good stiff brush... stimulates circulation, thoroughly cleans OUT the pores of the skin and removes dead skin too. The pores of your skin must "breathe"- they cannot do so unless they are kept open and freed from clogging." Joe proclaimed the results of dry skin brushing is a "new, fresh, glowing appearance and... a texture smooth and soft to the touch."
Many of us are familiar with dry skin brushing. While working as a massage therapist at the Allen Edwards Salon & Spa, many of the treatments I gave began with dry skin brushing. But, how many of us perform it on a daily basis. And how important is it really? According to more people than Joe, dry skin brushing goes beyond skin deep.
The skin is the largest organ of the body and is responsible for 1/4th of the body's detoxification each day! In fact, more than 1lb of waste is excreted through our pores daily; making the skin a major organ of elimination like the kidneys and the colon. If our pores are clogged with dead cells, then impurities and toxins remain in our body. Because our body is determined to release toxins, other organs are forced to work extra hard to make up for our skin's short-comings. Dry skin brushing accelerates the internal cleansing of the body and reduces the stress to the kidneys, lungs and colon.
Here's a list of the benefits I found in my research:
* tightens the skin and improves texture
* aids digestion
* helps removes cellulite
* stimulates circulation to the skin
* increases oxygenation
* increases cell renewal
* drains and cleanses the entire lymphatic system
* detoxifies the entire body
* removes dead skin layers
* strengthens the immune system
* improves exchange between cells
* reflexive stimulation of the glands
* stimulates dry skin oil production
How to get started:
- Buy a NATURAL Bristle Brush, since it doesn't scratch the skin's surface (I got mine at Whole Foods)
- Skin brush BEFORE showering or bathing, at least once per day.
- ALWAYS brush toward your heart.
- Brush the soles of your feet FIRST, because the nerve endings there affect the WHOLE body. Next brush your ankles, calves, and thighs. Then brush across your stomach in circular counter-clockwise strokes followed by your buttocks and lastly your hands and arms. (See the diagram below)
- Do LIGHTER strokes over and around your chest and remember to brush TOWARD your heart.
- Brush each part of your body several times vigorously.
- Take a WARM bath or shower, followed by a COOL Rinse to INVIGORATE blood circulation.
- Wash your brush every few weeks in water and let it DRY.
According to Joseph Pilates, "Your skin will soon respond most gratifyingly to this perhaps seemingly "Spartan-like" treatment..."
Rock Your Powerhouse!