The Macrobiotic Guide
home macrobiotics store about news features search
  
    
 

 
 

Body Beautiful for Pregnancy
By Melanie Waxman


During pregnancy many women worry about the quality of their skin especially when it comes to a growing belly and breasts and the fear of stretch marks. I have given birth to seven children and by to following a simple body rub routine have never experienced any stretch marks or sagging skin.

In our modern world, we are bombarded with masses of advertising on beauty. Billions of dollars are spent promoting a whole host of creams and treatments for the skin, most of which don't work. It is a shame that we are not so well informed about what the skin actually does and the fact that it is the largest organ in the body. Instead we try to help it with remedies that cost a lot and only clog the surface and do little else to help.

The technique I used during my pregnancies and still use today is a simple hot towel, body rub. Sounds simple and it is. The body rub is very cheap too. You only need a cotton face cloth and a sink full of hot water.

The hot towel rub was used in Japan and Europe to rejuvenate and beautify the skin. Unlike dry skin brushing or loofahs, which works only the surface of the skin, the hot towel rub also stimulates the muscles and the internal organs.

The rub can be done on a daily basis both during and after pregnancy. While you are pregnant, it helps to prevent stretch marks and the build up of cellulite. Afterwards, it can help to keep your skin healthy and enable it to regain its natural elasticity.

Our skin actually renews itself every 28 days. The cells in your skin go through a continuous cycle of dying and being replaced. Our skin can renew itself in a healthy or an unhealthy way depending on our lifestyle over the past days and weeks. Of course, a healthy diet is the most important factor in having beautiful, healthy skin. By adding the easy routine of a body rub, we can actually nourish the skin on a daily basis.

When I was in my late teens, I hardly perspired at all. I thought it was great at the time because I didn't have to worry too much about body odor or deodorants. I remember going to a sauna one day and falling asleep and not perspiring one bit.

I felt awful and never went back. When I became involved in alternative medicine, I realised that the reason I didn't perspire was because I had clogged skin. This wasn't a healthy situation at all. The toxins, which should naturally be released through my skin, were going back into my body.

Sadly, today, many young women have eating disorders and a common symptom is clogged skin. When the skin is clogged a great deal of pressure is built up internally. When our skin is healthy, we release tension, stress and pressure easily and feel more relaxed and happy with ourselves. Our skin is the barrier between our inner and outer world. It protects us from the environment, affects how we respond to heat and cold and literally holds us together. Healthy skin helps us to develop sensitivity to pressure and touch and also strengthens our immune system.

So what does healthy skin look like? I was born and raised in England. We are famous for our beautiful skin, often described as 'the peaches and cream' complexion or the look of 'a blooming rose'. I think the endless rain actually helps to keep the British skin slightly shiny and moist which is one indication of health.

Healthy skin should also perspire gently and easily all over and not just under the armpits. This shows that excess fluids and toxins are being discharged in a natural manner. Healthy skin is smooth, soft to the touch and firm but not tight. It looks fresh and radiant and is actually a reflection of our overall health.

Our skin is a very hard working organ and when it becomes clogged, moisture and oil cannot pass through the pores. Dry skin is result of pores becoming clogged, most commonly as a result of a high fat diet. Using moisturisers high in mineral, coconut or palm oil only coats the surface and makes the matter worse. As fat builds up beneath the surface of the skin, our circulation becomes sluggish as excess fat and fluids back up in the system trying to exit via the blood vessels.

The simple body rub not only helps the skin to function at optimum efficiency, it also takes the strain off the kidneys, liver and intestines. These organs are also responsible for discharging toxins. When they overwork, excess cannot be smoothly released but moves to the surface in an attempt to exit, resulting in rashes, pimples or other skin irritations.

When we rub our body all over, we stimulate the meridians in the body. Meridians are streams of energy that connect to the organs. They nourish the organs and help them to discharge. By stimulating the skin we activate the meridians, thus increasing the energy that is sent to the internal organs. Therefore, the body rub also stimulates our organs and helps them to rest, repair and function well.

During pregnancy, practicing the body rub will send a direct message of love to your baby. The baby receives energy as you stimulate your skin and he will feel like he is getting his own special massage too.

Now for the great news! The hot towel rub is an inexpensive, simple and fun way to look and feel great. All you need is a top quality, ideally, organic cotton face cloth (not too soft), a sink full of hot water and your bathroom. You can also add a few drops of high quality aromatherapy oils to your face cloth if you like. Make sure that they are suitable for pregnancy. Use lavender for stress relief and aches and pains, tangerine for calming nerves and further preventing stretch marks or ylang ylang for relaxation.

Remember, having glowing skin is only one benefit. The hot towel rub also improves circulation, strengthens the immune system and aids the smooth function of the organs. It is a great stress release too. If you do the rub in the morning, you will feel uplifted and ready for the day. At night, the rub helps you to feel relaxed and sleep more soundly. In general, it will help you to de-toxify, let out tension, improve your energy and strengthen your health.

Melanie Waxman began studying Oriental medicine in 1980 and went on to specialize in macrobiotic cooking. She has lived in Portugal, England and America and has trained cooks from all over the world. Melanie is the mother of seven children. She has cooked for international recording stars, fashion designers, doctors, and business professionals and has helped thousands of others to change their lifestyle and way of eating. She has written a children's cook book; Mr. Hoppity's Color Me Cook book for Kids, a series of self-published12 Cooklets and has recently published Bless the Baby, a beautifully illustrated book on the natural and traditional ways a mother can bond with her newborn. Melanie is also a massage therapist and Feng Shui consultant.

 

 
back to the top
 

terms of use | contact us