switch off & reconnect – mud face

As part of our new “switch off & reconnect” endeavour, Bean & I turned off our computers & had a little bonding session one night last week. No, it’s not going to be TMI, I promise!

We shut our computers, then I made a clay face masque* & we sat together with brown mud drying on our faces, trying not to talk or grin too much lest the clay crack & crumble off our faces. When the clay was dry we washed it off & gave each other relaxing aromatherapy massages, then drank tea!

I highly recommend trying something similar with your partner if you have one. It was a fabulous way to connect!

Photo by www.liamwilde.com

The camera was set to take 10 photos in quick succession, these expressions were accompanied by the following conversation,

“Bean, how many photos is that thing taking?”

“I don’t know, it’s quite a lot, isn’t it?”

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What do you do to switch off & reconnect with yourself & people you love?

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*this masque was made with:
2 Tbs pink French clay
2 Tbs yellow French clay
1 Tbs almond oil
2 Tbs liquorice, lemongrass & fennel tea
2 drops clary sage oil
2 drops lavender oil
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dry skin brushing – but why?!

In my last two posts I have mentioned that I have begun dry skin brushing again & explained how I do it. In this post, I’ll give you (just some of) the “why”…

I enjoy dry skin brushing for many, many reasons. Number one is purely because it’s a beautiful way to nurture & honour my body, the body I love for being such an awesome vehicle to get through this life in. It’s a simple & quick, yet loving, ritual I can easily make room for in my morning routine. The amount of time & energy I give to the process is so much less than the benefits I reap from it.

Dry skin brushing exfoliates the skin which reduces, or eliminates, clogged pores so toxins can be excreted more effectively through the skin. Exfoliation also increases the skin’s ability to absorb nutrients from therapeutic preparations that are applied, including aromatherapy treatments, clay masques, botanical cleansers, & botanical moisturisers. Skin feels more smooth & looks less dull with regular exfoliation.

Dry skin brushing promotes blood flow at the surface of the skin, which assists in the elimination of toxins, & delivers nutrients to the skin. Circulation of blood is also improved through the whole body with dry skin brushing which means faster elimination of toxins & better oxygenation of all tissues, including the brain. It’s a great mood improver & energiser.

Dry skin brushing also stimulates the lymphatic system, another of the body’s chanels of elimination. You guessed it, this improves the body’s ability to excrete toxins! Stimulation of the lymphatic system also improves the functioning of the immune system.

Dry skin brushing can also reduce muscle aches after exercise by promoting rapid dispersal of lactic acid that builds up in the muscles during exercise.

It takes a few weeks to get into the habit of daily skin brushing & probably about as long to really see the benefits beyond exfoliation, but in my experience it’s a habit worth getting in to!

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dry skin brushing – my technique

I use a natural bristle brush, mine is a tampico fibre brush made for Bernard Jensen.

I dry skin brush before showering or bathing.

I brush quite vigorously & with firm pressure, in the direction of lymph flow.

I repeat each stroke 5-7 times.

I begin with my left side & follow with my right.

I begin with the sole of my left foot, brushing from my toes to my heel. I then brush the top of my foot, beginning at my toes & continuing each long stroke up my shin toward my knee. Then I brush from the back of my heel up my calf to the back of my knee. In this I make sure to cover all skin on my lower leg, both sides of my calf muscle. Once I have done my left foot & lower leg I swap sides & repeat the process on my right foot & lower leg.

I begin again on my left leg at my knee, I sweep the brush up the front of my thigh to my groin & up to my belly (avoiding my vulva), I do the same on my inner thigh & my outer thigh. I brush from the back of my knee up my thigh & over my bottom. I then repeat this on my right thigh.

I brush my hands & arms next. I brush the palm of my left hand from my finger tips to my wrist & up my inner forearm. I then brush the back of my hand from my finger tips to my wrist & up my outer forearm, making sure to cover the sides of my forearm as well. I brush my upper arm, inside & out from my elbow to my shoulder on the outside & my armpit on the inside. I then repeat on my right arm.

This is where the long handle comes in most useful, I brush from my shoulders down my back toward my bottom, stopping at the top of my bottom & sweeping the brush around my sides toward the front of my body. I then brush from my shoulders down my chest, avoiding my nipples, to my abdomen.

I don’t brush my face because I have very sensitive skin on my face that is prone to being both dry & acneous at the same time! If I were to brush my face I would be using a dry wash cloth to wipe down my face from my forehead toward my neck, down my neck to my chest.

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Since seeing me dry brush my skin each morning, Sprout has asked me to dry brush her skin too. I follow the same proceedure for her, only I use much more gentle strokes, I also use less frequent strokes because she’s still small.

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fresh beginnings

Returning to study natural therapies has inspired a renewal of my passion for healthful living & my drive to seek optimal wellbeing. My aromatherapy lecturer has given us the most glorious homework. We’ve been asked to give ourselves a 2 minute self-massage with pure essential oils every morning… I told you it was glorious!

I used to do that every day, then I had children & all the time in the day seemed never enough to meet the needs of my children and nuture myself as well. That is until it was re-framed.

2 minutes… That’s not very long.

2 minutes to give myself something that will improve my physical wellbeing & my state of mind.

2 minutes that could shape the way my day flows for the better!

2 minutes that would inevitably benefit my children anyway, firstly because my cup would be a little bit more full & I’d have a little bit more to give if I just give a little to myself first, and secondly because I’d be modeling healthy self-care to them.

2 minutes… yes, thanks, I’ll take those 2 minutes!

I have decided to do more than just that though, I have decided to take FIVE minutes! I’m also re-introducing dry skin brushing in to my self nurturing routine.

  • I blend my essential oils for the self-massage with a carrier oil* in a small tea cup & set that aside,
  • I begin dry skin brushing**
  • I have a warm shower (I use a wash cloth with a couple of drops of essential oil/s to wash with)
  • I finish off my shower by turning the hot water off & having a (very) quick cold rinse
  • I massage myself*** with the essential oil & carrier oil blend I prepared at the start.

Honestly, it all takes 5 minutes & it makes such a profound difference to my days. I’m glad I’ve reintroduced a more condensed (read: realistic!) version of my old, luxurious, child-free morning routine.

 

* The carrier oils I prefer are almond oil & macadamia oil. They seem to suit my skin quite well.

** Here is a link to a post detailing how I dry skin brush.

*** Always massaging toward the heart, begin with feet, lower legs, thighs, bottom, stomach, hands, forearm, upperarm, shoulders, back & chest.

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