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
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.
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