Sunday, August 24, 2014

Detoxifying Bathtime Rituals

Bathtub, take me away! I love love love my bath. Whenever I'm having a rotten day or am feeling sick a nice, long soak in the tub always makes me feel better - never fails. Add a little lavender essential oil and a glass of red wine = total bliss. I've recently incorporated a couple new elements to my routine that make my bath time even better and help your body detox at the same time: Dry Brushing and a weekly Epson Salt soak. You'll feel like you're at the spa minus the hefty price tag!

Your skin plays a vital role in ridding the body of toxins and is the largest "elimination" organ - some people actually consider it to be the body's "third kidney".  Up to a third of impurities in your body are excreted through your skin, which grossly can equate to about a pound a day. This is why sometimes you break out if you're doing a cleanse of any sort - your body is flushing all the built up crap out thru your pores, and on your face sometimes they release in the form of zits. If you suffer from rashes, hives, acne, itchiness, eczema or body odor it could be because your skin isn't able to properly release toxins. I will eventually write a deodorant post - but this is why antiperspirants are bad news; the toxins are forced to stay in and build up inside your body. There has been mounting evidence linking breast cancer to antiperspirants, which has been dismissed by the National Cancer Institute and the American Cancer Society. I'm not risking it - best to let your pores breathe!!

DRY BRUSHING
A great way to help your skin eliminate waste is by dry brushing. According to the blog Healthy Living How To, dry brushing may benefit you by:
  • Regulates and increases blood circulation and lymph flow
  • Revitalizes and increases your skins ability to eliminate toxins out of the system
  • Rejuvenates the nervous system by stimulating nerve endings in the skin
  • Contributes to healthier muscle tone and diminishes appearance of cellulite (say no more!)
  • Gently removes dead layers of skin and other impurities
  • Stimulates the hormone and oil producing glands responsible for keeping your skin looking and feeling young, smooth and strong (those are my key words right there!)
I love having someone brush or wash my hair and get the same tingling sensation with dry brushing. Here's how you do it: before you get in the shower or bath and are still dry (hence the name dry brushing…), brush in gentle upwards, circular motions toward your heart.  Start at your feet and move up your legs, then move to your arms brushing toward your chest. Avoid your delicate d├ęcolletage and any irritated areas. There will be no pictures of me dry brushing, but the chart below really helps. Ideally brush for five minutes before you shower or bathe every day. There is no way I have time for that with a two year old, so I usually brush for a minute or so (I'm lucky to have 5 minutes in the shower at all!). 

Buy a brush with natural fiber bristles and a long handle - I bought the Yerba Prima Tampico brush on Amazon for only $7.80 (I bought a few for Christmas stocking stuffers - big hit!). It seems a little coarse and firm at first, but my skin quickly adjusted. If you have ultra sensitive skin I would recommend finding something gentler. Brusha Brusha Brusha!
Detox Bath Spa Treatment:
Once a week I like to take an extra long 30 minute or longer soak in HOT water - like as hot as I can stand it. This combination will draw out toxins, release stress-related hormones and help balance your pH levels. I add:
  • a cup of Epson salt (which I buy Dr. Teal's in bulk from Costco). Magnesium sulfate is the scientific name for Epson salt and it's pretty magical stuff. The magnesium and sulfates are easily absorbed through your skin and are popular for softening and exfoliating, relaxing and drawing out impurities, relieving migraines, colds and flu symptoms. The relaxation component is no joke - the magnesium actually binds to the serotonin in your brain for perfect stress relief.
  • about 10 drops of essential oil depending on what you want to focus on: lavender for relaxation, tea tree for colds, or eucalyptus for aches. The scent of lavender almost instantly relaxes me - I love it. I'm so sold on lavender that I've never tried adding eucalyptus or tea tree oil (melaleuca), but both have detoxifying properties.
  • about 1/2 cup of baking soda (which I also buy from Costco). Baking soda is a great detox from radiation type exposures like x-rays, cancer treatments, etc and also helps restore pH balance. It is very cleansing, has anti-fungal properties and will make your skin really soft.
  • 1/3 cup or so of Bragg's Apple Cider Vinegar, which will help make your body more alkaline. 
Even better if you have an amazing tub and view like this - heavenly!
I also recently read that adding ginger (sprinkled from your spice cabinet or by steeping ginger tea in the bath) will increase your body temperature making you sweat even more.

Enjoy for 30 minutes, although you might want to start out at only 20. Be careful getting out of the tub - you might be a little light headed. Also, you don't wanna eat right before or after - just drink lots of water to hydrate yourself during and after. I keep a glass of water by the tub, trust me you'll be sweating a ton! I'm not able to do this one right now because I'm pregnant, but look forward to adding it back once I'm done nursing. It's so worth the effort!!

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