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Condition - Winter pampering in your own bathroom

By Corin Evans DipION FdSc MBANT

If the winter weather and the mere thought of the celebration season is causing you to feel frazzled, maybe now is the time to indulge in a spot of pampering. Taking some time out to re-charge your batteries can do you a power of good, but add in some well-chosen, natural ingredients and you could be harnessing even more benefits for your body, mind and skin. In fact, why not go the whole hog and turn your bathroom into your own private spa for an hour or two!

Legend has it that both Cleopatra and the Queen of Sheba enjoyed soaking in the salty waters of the Dead Sea, which lies between Jordan and Israel. Famed for its healing properties, people have immersed themselves in the warm mineral-rich sea for over 2,000 years. Containing around 33% salt, it is one of the saltiest areas of water on earth. What makes it so special, however, is not its content of salt in the form of sodium chloride, but rather its high levels of magnesium. Research has found that bathing in these salts has benefits on several conditions involving the skin, joints, circulation and mental health. A reduction in skin roughness and redness were also found in those with atopic, dry skin, while hydration and skin barrier function were significantly improved. A research study found that bathing in magnesium-rich water raised serum magnesium levels. Known for its vital role in muscle relaxation, a lovely long soak in magnesium-rich ancient sea salts from the Dead Sea could be a fantastic way to help you wind down and sooth both mind and body.

If detoxing is more your thing, how about a wonderful alkalising bath? Adding alkalising salts to your bath is a lovely way to complement a detox or alkalising diet. It is said to help cleanse and detoxify the skin, while being soothing and relaxing. A large Italian study concluded that spa therapy, including those using natural bicarbonate spa water, were particularly beneficial for those with joint problems.

Skin brushing makes an ideal companion to either a detox or a mineral bath, facilitating the elimination of toxins via its stimulating action on the lymphatic system. The lymphatic system is a system of organs, vessels and capillaries running the entire length of the body, carrying fluid called lymph. It has several main functions, primarily to carry fats and fat-soluble vitamins from the gut to the bloodstream, which then delivers them to the cells. It also protects the body from invasion by pathogens and toxins, effectively destroying them and eliminating them from the body. Finally, it drains tissue spaces of excess fluid. Unlike blood, which is pumped around the body, lymph relies on movement from our muscles to flow through the body. Exercise is obviously key to this process, but including regular body brushing is a brilliant way to enhance lymph flow, and maximise its detoxifying activity.

To body brush, choose a large soft, long handled body brush and, using short movements, begin to brush each arm and then leg from the hand or foot up towards the heart. Continue over the torso and gently down over the face, head and neck. It should feel tingly, but not hurt. Ideally, do this before bathing or showering.

Stepping out of the bath can be an ideal time to apply a conditioning body massage oil (or have a massage if you have a willing partner!), as the skin is warm, cleansed and ready for moisturising. These areas are often neglected during the winter months, buried under layers of clothing, and subjected to the drying effects of centrally heated homes and offices. Choose a light and easily absorbed natural oil blend. Macadamia seed, sweet cherry and papaya leaf oils are all rich, emollient natural oils that are ideal for this job. Essential oils, such as basil and peppermint, make an ideal combination alongside the moisturising oils, adding a beautiful fresh yet warming scent to help restore and calm the senses. Basil is a stimulating tonic, and is said to clear the mind and provide clarity and mental strength. Peppermint is said to be good for stimulating mental agility and to help mental fatigue, so both are excellent for a pampering pick-me-up.

 

Finally, don’t forget to give your face a treat; what could be better than glowing skin all over to give you a boost this winter? Luxurious skincare products using all-natural ingredients should be top of your list to nourish and moisturise the delicate facial area. Start with cleansing and exfoliating, then pop on a face pack and relax for ten minutes before finishing off with your favourite moisturiser. So what are you waiting for? Put on some relaxing music, lock the door, switch off the phone, light a candle or two and sink into a warm relaxing bath. Who needs the hassle and expense of going to a spa when you can enjoy pampering yourself at home! 


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