It’s inevitable, really. That ticking clock everyone is running against. That ticking clock, of course, is the body’s natural course of aging—specifically, the aging of the body’s only visible organ, the skin. The skin of the body ages almost identically to that of the face, with sagging, wrinkling, uneven texture and spots showing up after years of sun exposure and other lifestyle choices taking their toll.
For centuries people throughout the world have used body therapies as a natural approach to revitalizing and rejuvenating the skin of the body. The most common of these treatments utilize locally harvested clays, herbs, and sea minerals and salts that not only provide medicinal solutions, but esthetic benefits for the skin, as well. From the red clays of Sedona, Arizona, to the salts and minerals of the Dead Sea, these natural approaches to body rejuvenation can provide you with an abundance of benefits, including detoxification, remineralization, rejuvenation and relaxation. But the question still remains ...
Why natural body therapies?
The skin is the largest organ of the body and plays a crucial role in the elimination of toxins. However, because of its physiology, the skin of the body is much more difficult to treat than that of the face. The outermost layer of skin, the stratum corneum, is much thicker on the body, making it difficult for active ingredients in products to penetrate and assist in rejuvenation. In addition, the concentration of oil glands on the skin of the body is much smaller than on the face, causing it to dry easier and recover more slowly. Add in the fact that there is an abundance of surface area to treat with the skin of the body, so the idea of using the same products and treatments used on the face is certainly not cost-effective.
Dry brush exfoliation
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Many body therapies begin with a dry brush exfoliation, which provides a vast array of benefits that assist in the skin’s natural detoxification process. Dry brush exfoliation stimulates blood and lymph flow, while removing dead skin cells to help strengthen your immune system and enhance the skin’s ability to remove toxins. In addition, dry brush exfoliation can reduce cellulite by helping to break up the toxic deposits of stored fatty tissues, stimulate the oil glands producing necessary oils to keep the skin healthy and finally, stimulate the creation of new skin cells to assist in an overall tightening and regeneration.
Another form of exfoliation that can be used instead of, or in addition to, dry brushing is a salt scrub. Sea salts should be worked into a paste with the use of beneficial essential oil blends that also help to condition the skin as the sea salt works off the dead, dull and lackluster skin cells, allowing for better penetration of products or wraps. Due to the high content of magnesium in marine salts, salt scrubs have also been suggested in the treatment of psoriasis and eczema to reduce itching and inflammation. Salt scrubs can be provided as a service on their own, or as a preparation for other body treatments, leaving the skin hydrated, smooth, lustrous and with a stunning glow.
Mud treatments are some of the most effective body treatments for preventive aging and antioxidant protection of the skin. French red clay is found in the beautiful Red Rocks of Sedona, Arizona, and is rich in kalinite, illite, montmorillonitea and calcite, which cleanse, detoxify and exfoliate the skin, leaving it refreshed, toned and rejuvenated.
The use of the mud from the Dead Sea dates back to ancient times. The ancient use of this mud and its healing power are certainly anything but a myth, considering its high concentrations of magnesium, sodium, phosphates, bromides and other minerals that not only diminish the signs of aging, but also help alleviate acne skin conditions, as well. In addition, certain studies have shown that Dead Sea minerals can improve the quality of skin health for psoriasis clients.
The muds of the Dead Sea can also hydrate the skin, while reducing roughness and inflammation. Body wraps made from Dead Sea mud are used to nourish and detoxify the skin, and there are even claims that they can decrease stretch marks and cellulite. These wraps are some of the most popular body rejuvenating services in Israel and beyond.
During a mud wrap treatment, skin care professionals apply a mud mask to the skin, and then wrap the area in a warm, moist bandage or linen. The compression of the mud against the skin allows the body to perspire; as the body begins to sweat, the mud then absorbs, and removes the toxins from the skin and underlying tissues, while allowing essential minerals contained in the mud to penetrate into the skin, leaving it tight, firm and rejuvenated.
Herbal body wrapping has become a fast-growing craze; however, in reality, this “new” treatment has been utilized for body rejuvenation and detoxification for thousands of years. Herbal wraps use the ancient technique of an herbal solution combined with a compression wrap to help reshape and contour the body, and fade stretch marks. In addition, the level of detoxification and relaxation leads to a higher sense of well-being for many clients.
During an herbal wrap, clients should be wrapped in a bandage or linen soaked in a natural herbal solution. These herbal and botanical solutions are used throughout the skin care world in products for many benefits, and many of these same solutions are used for herbal wraps. Some of the most widely used solutions are composed of soothing lavender and cucumber, revitalizing eucalyptus and rosemary, firming cypress and dandelion, and antioxidant-providing ginseng root and lemongrass. The herbs in the solution begin to break down into amino acids, which the body needs as nutrients to maintain cellular health. The herbs penetrate through the skin’s pores, and help to cleanse the underlying tissues, while the amino acids help to repair damaged tissues on a cellular level, which, in turn, leads to healthier skin and increased elasticity.
Ultimately, the professional skin care industry is ever-evolving and finding new ingredients that aid in rejuvenating the skin of the body. Remember: Some treatments and products are full of promises that are underdelivered at a very high cost. It’s important to take into consideration that natural body treatments have been used and shown to work for thousands of years, are still being utilized today and can show major improvements, not only to the skin of the body, but also for the overall physical and psychological well-being of clients.
Jill Kohler is president of Penrose Academy, an educational institute specializing in six-week cosmetic laser and medical esthetics training courses for beauty professionals.