As we wrap up this month’s Spring Health Features we end with the largest organ of the body and our most outward expression of health: our skin. Our skin is one of our detoxification organs and it is working hard around the clock doing countless protective activities for our body. Our modern day view of the skin has become very one dimensional, as it’s largely seen as just serving our appearance. However, in the past and still in many countries today, the skin is cared for in a way that supports inner health and wellbeing.
In an earlier post I discussed the importance of skin brushing, also known as dry brushing. You can read the post here: Skin Brushing. Dry brushing has been part of everyday life for centuries in Scandinavia and Russia for its health benefits. It helps to stimulate blood and lymphatic circulation under the skin, which helps in our body’s overall detoxification process and improves the integrity and appearance of the skin.
It’s great to see North Americans rediscover dry brushing. I was recently asked by the fresh and fantastic online health guide tuja wellness to share my professional take on dry brushing. I’ll be sure to share that when it goes live. In addition it is being talked about online in news posts from the media, like the Huffington Post, and from celebrities, like Selma Hayak. This resurgence of interest around old world health practices helps further our connection to proactive health care and illness prevention.
The use of water baths of differing temperatures (cold, hot, tepid) and pressures (whirlpool, water massage, mineral baths), steam bath and sauna were used as medicine thousands of years ago in ancient Egyptian, Roman and Greek civilizations. Hydrotherapy experienced a spike in popularity as a health solution in the 18th century in Europe where hydrotherapy facilities became part of may health centres.
Hydrotherapy can profoundly help stimulate blood circulation, detoxification and therefore enhance the cardiovascular system, nervous system, immune system, lungs, digestive tract and kidneys. Classic hydrotherapy involves the movement from different temperature baths to stimulate the skin and the circulation associated with it, which leads to deeper organ vitality. Remember… everything is connected and the small vessels of the skin are simply the end of the larger vessels in our bodies. There is communication from one end to the other and vice versa.
To this day, many parts of Europe and Asia still integrate hydrotherapy into their everyday lives to maintain health. In North America, there are also spas dedicated to classical hydrotherapy, like Scandinave Spa in Blue Mountain, Ontario. They have steam baths, sauna, hot baths, cold plunge baths, and other therapies available to help support whole body detoxification. Some spas also offer variations on classical hydrotherapy.
At home, we can use hydrotherapy to promote good health, too! In my practice, I often give modified hydrotherapy prescriptions that are easy to do at home. Stay tuned for May… I have some great ideas to share about how to bring this simple, easy and effective health practice.
Detox from the Outside In
We know that one of the keys to slowing the aging process and keeping our bodies healthy is through detoxification. Detoxification is a whole body process, and through supporting and optimizing our skin health we are also preventing disease and staying healthy. That’s a pretty beautiful thing!