The skin is the largest organ of the body & one of the first line of defense against external factors, such as, air, water pollution, dust etc.
Our skin is permeable and can absorb toxins directly from the environment. Skin is not only avenue for the absorption or release of toxins, but a detoxifying agent in its own right. It is one of the key pathway in eliminating toxins from the body via sweat glands.
It also plays an important role in temperature control of the body. When we get too warm, we start to perspire, which provides a rapid means of evaporative cooling. An important detoxification process also happens when we perspire, as toxins are released through the skin along with the sweat.
The skin has the ability to excrete toxins. Regular use of sauna & steam bath encourages the discharge of toxins through sweat.
Every day our body can ooze out 450 grams of toxins via sweat carried out through the skin. This is possible, however, only if the pores through which sweat travels are open.
Each day our skin cells regenerate as old ones die, and new ones are created. As we age, the process slows down, and skin cells die, new one which replace them don’t appear as rapidly as those were while we are younger.
Specifically this means the dead cells are now pushed off the surface, so it’s harder for them to shed away, and they start building up.
Cosmetically speaking, this creates a dull appearance. In terms of detox, blockages are caused that now reduce the amount of toxins excreted from the cells.
What is detoxification?
The process of getting rid of deadly toxins is known as detoxification or detox, in short. Detoxification, however, cannot work in isolation. It has to combine with judicious food habits, regular exercise and a spiritual outlook.
Besides, detoxifying the body once in a lifetime and then forgetting about it doesn’t work. Maintenance of good physical condition should involve making a series of lifestyle changes with holistic approach towards health and overall well-being.
Our body performs detoxification relentlessly and naturally every day. Detoxification is a normal body process of eliminating or neutralizing toxins through the colon, liver, kidneys, lungs, lymph and skin. The process of internal detoxification is one of our body’s basic automatic functions.
If our body can’t handle the excess load of toxins, we have to help it in its task by undertaking regular detoxification.
Detoxification through special cleansing diet may greatly reduce diseases especially like cancer, arthritis and diabetes. Avoiding chemicals that enter our body via food or other sources, refined food, sugar, caffeine, alcohol and tobacco helps minimize the toxins load.
Drinking lots of pure water, detox water and increasing fiber content in food by including more fruits and vegetables in the diet are important to achieve the detoxification goal.
Let’s look into some of the the ways to detoxify your skin:
Sauna has been a tradition in Finland for more than a thousand years. A sauna is nothing but a special kind of bath for throughout cleansing of the body coupled with relaxation.
It works on principle, that dry heat causes sweating and copious perspiration eliminates toxins from the body. It rids the body of dirt and grime more thoroughly than ordinary bath.
In the ancient times, stones were heated on the top of the furnace to create the dry heat and the temperature in the room ranged from 80-100 degree C. in modern version of sauna, other heat generating methods have replaced stones, but the principle behind sauna treatment remains the same.
It is a powerful method of eliminating environmental chemicals that are stored in fat cells. Sauna is the best method for detoxifying heavy metals.
The use of saunas (dry heat) or steam bath (wet heat) creates sweat intentionally for therapeutic purpose. This ‘sweat therapy’ not only releases toxins from the skin, but also relaxes muscles by easing aches and pains.
Some tips on Sauna
- Sauna therapy should not be taken on a hungry stomach nor should your stomach be full. Wait for at least two hours after your meal.
- Avoid alcohol or other intoxicating substances.
- Drink lots of water before entering sauna and after finishing it.
- Do not enter with metal jewelry, as they become very hot.
- It is better to avoid talking or working while in a sauna. Instead use your time to meditate or relax.
- Aromatherapy is a very effective way to enhance the relaxation effect during a sauna session.
- After finishing sauna take shower, warm or cold but not hot.
- Avoid soap, shampoo and conditioner, oils, lotion and cream as they all contain chemicals that may clog the pores.
- Wipe off sweat with brush or loofah, it will enhances the cleansing effect.
Duration for Sauna
The recommended length of time in the sauna varies according to the condition. Sitting of about 15 minutes at a time is recommended in a low temperature sauna.
In advanced sauna cleanse, up to 45 minutes at a time is recommended, but it is essential that the sauna should be low temperature and the person stays hydrated with water and minerals. Heavy sweating after 10 to 15 minutes is a sign that the sauna is too warm.
Consult a doctor before you take sauna therapy, if needed.
Precautions to be taken
- Always move slowly and carefully in and around a sauna. Accidents often occur due to slippery surface.
- Supervision is required if one has health condition. Presence of attendant or friend is also helpful.
- Persons with high blood pressure, pregnant women and children under five should avoid sauna.
- Always check with someone knowledgeable if you are unsure about sauna use, although it is quite safe.
Besides the fact that sauna helps the skin to detoxify, it is a de-stressing and soothing experience. The other factor that goes in favor of this treatment is that it has no side effects.
This simple treatment helps the skin eliminate toxins, dead cells and stimulate circulation. It helps stimulating lymphatic system as well to eliminate toxins through the skin.
Body brushing has a lot going for itself. The brushing therapy can actually work in many ways, and although most of us mange to notice the healthy and natural glow that comes after the process.
But do you know that there is scientific basis to it? It can effectively combat the buildup of lactic acid. It also helps to elimination of toxins accumulated in the body.
Sore muscles or stiff joints are generally the outcome of a lactic acid build up. Body brushing helps in controlling that buildup.
Body brushing is quite effective method of controlling the stress in the muscles and loosening them up. It also effectively beneficial in controlling lymph build up.
The lymph nodes, which sometimes have an overflow of the lymph, can be relieved through body brushing.
How to do it?
There are generally no hard and fast rules for body brushing, few ground rules could be followed in order to make the process more effective.
You can use any kind of soft brush that stimulates the blood circulation and helps in getting rid of the dead skin cells. Brushes made of animal hair, plastic could do the job or you may simply use a piece of jute or hemp. You can also use loofahs, which are very popular and economical.
Hold the brush or cloth firmly with one hand and start brushing in vertical to horizontal and circular motion. The movement should be directed towards the heart.
Start from the bottom and work upwards. Begin from the soles and work towards the top, till you reach the chest and shoulders. Avoid the face, breast and the other sensitive areas.
The movements should be gentle, but firm. Avoid very hard rubs. Rough handling could work adversely by irritating the skin or brushing it. At the end of the brushing you should be able to feel a gentle tingling sensation.
Benefits of the body brushing
- It can improve the functioning of the glands, which results in imparting a glow to the body.
- It helps the skin in detoxification.
- The boost in circulation helps in making the skin look taut and healthy.it also removes debris that clog the pores.
- The exfoliation of dead skin works wonders for the skin. Since brushing helps in cell sloughing, the skin looks young and supple.
- Body brushing also helps the muscles to recover from fatigue.
- The texture and the quality of the skin improves by regular brushing. The massaging action brings about a feel good factor by soothing the muscles.
Contrast shower is one of the recent development in the field of detoxification, wherein the contrasting temperatures of hot and cold water increases micro- circulation thorough body tissues.
These showers are believed to promote detoxification and strengthening the immune system.
Contrast shower also pep up the metabolism by stimulating the muscles and nerves in the body.
Apart from the beneficial effects on the skin, a hot and cold shower also speeds up the flow of lymph in the body.
Lymph is a major detoxification fluid, which bathes the body cells and carries away all potentially harmful bacteria and viruses from the body. The lymphatic system is major protection against diseases.
For the system to be efficient, it is necessary that the lymph is kept moving through the body. This is where the contrast shower help.
Start with the three minutes of hot water followed by less than one minute of cold water. Repeat this pattern at least once, always finishing with cold (e.g. 3 minutes hot-1 minute cold-3 minutes hot- 1 minute cold).
Oil massage is a holistic therapy. It affects both body and the mind. Massage increases the circulation of blood and flow of lymph.
The direct effect of rhythmically applied manual pressure and movement used in massage can dramatically increase the rate of blood flow.
The oxygen capacity of the blood can increase by 10-15 per cent after massage. Massage affects muscles throughout the body. It can help loosen contracted, shortened muscles and can stimulate weak, flaccid muscles.
Massage also provide a gentle stretching action to both the muscles and connective tissues that surround and support the muscles and many other parts of the body. There are noticeable effects on the nervous system.
These are the commonly known benefits of massage. Very few people realize that massage is also a very potent method for detoxification. It increases the body’s secretions and excretion.
There is proven increase in the production of gastric juices, saliva and urine. Metabolic rate increase after a massage session. It also enhances the skin health.
Massage directly improves the function of sebaceous and sweat glands, which keep the skin lubricated, clean, cooled, besides stimulating the excretion of toxins.
By virtue of accelerating the oxygen supply to the body and increasing the flow of lymph in it, massage therapy speeds up the process of detoxification.
There are different methods of massage adopted by different countries around the world, including the Ayurveda technique. Even the most basic massage, like weekly oil massage that most Indians had followed in the past, is very effective in toning the body and throwing out the toxin elements.