Selfcare is Healthcare

21st January 2021

SELFCARE, our new HEALTHCARE.  Its hard right now not to find days turning into evenings and evenings into night with any clear delineation. Having a daily routine for anything can help punctuate and make the day become ‘bite size’ manageable pieces.

And this includes Skincare and Body Care or Selfcare. Pre COVID, during COVID and Post COVID a routine becomes automatic and doesn’t take more than moments but makes a lifetime of difference. It will take longer WHEN YOU FIRST START, remember the day you decided to apply eyeliner (if you are an eyeliner person) or the day you started tinting your own hair (if you are a DIY Colourist) IT TOOK AGES, was very messy and you swore you wouldn’t be doing that again.

It’s the same with a Selfcare routine. What takes 20 minutes to start will become 5 minutes and then you will get to the stage when you find yourself asking ‘Did I do it this morning?

My routine is involved and required accessories but I reach for them and they are there and its all done before I know it. If I forget or don’t do my routine because I think I don’t have time or I think I don’t need it, then I notice a difference, and it’s a big difference. Once silky soft skin starts to turn scaly, once ‘wide awake’ drive to work seems drowsier and once refreshed and dewy skin now seems dull and lifeless.

And it’s not just my view, I have had the privilege to study at the Kneipp Schule in Germany and have learnt all sorts of thermotherapy in the form of cold showers and extreme dry skin brushing. I have studied Chinese facial techniques of Qua Sha/Gua Sha and Cuppping and I have very firm ideas on how to keep skin healthy.

Is the ‘go to’ method to stimulate circulation, warm the body, improve digestion, wake up, internally cleanse and slough away dry, scaly skin.  I was taught Dry Skin Brushing by Hani Spenkeliker and her thorough technique had me lying on the table thinking, if I look down now and all my skin has disappeared, I won’t be surprised, but I looked down and my skin was a fresh, glowing pink and stayed soft and smooth for 10 days after.

COLD SHOWERS (Thermotherapy)
Studying Kneipp methods (Sebastian Kneipp was believed to have cured himself from Tuberculosis with thermotherapeutic bathing – look him up) I learned and experienced the strength of alternating temperature showers, paddling in ice cold water and dew walking – going out in the cold morning light and walking with bare feet on the grass.

Every method feels cold but the body automatically responds by trying to maintain homeostasis or ‘balance of all systems’ and will send blood and heat to the areas cooled, so that your whole body is buzzing with warmth.

An ancient Chinese method to stir the ‘Chi/Qui’, stimulating energy and balancing the flow. Cupping causes lifting, cleansing and stimulates to ultimately calm and balance. Cupping thighs can feel extremely sensitive but results in smooth, dimple free appearance. Really works on areas of cellulite and ‘chicken’ skin.

I challenge you to try my line up and see if you think it’s crazy or there is method in the madness.

DRY SKIN BRUSHINGThe whole process will take about a minute.
As you stand ready to shower, take a dry skin brush – the firmer the better – Hog Hair is good, Cactus is scary, whichever your choice, it should feel stimulating and be used in a firm upward stroke with a flick at the end as if brushing away the dry skin. Brush ‘towards the heart’ so, up arms, up legs, up hips to stomach, inwards across décolleté and so on.

Brush 50 strokes. Maybe 8 per arm, 4 per lower leg, 5 per thigh, 6 per hip and waist and the rest on décolleté, don’t be too precise, if you do this every day you will make sure that every part of your body will be covered.

COLD SHOWERS – literally the time it takes to turn a full circle.
Once you have completed dry skin brushing, step into the shower and wash as normal in warm water. Just before you leave the shower, step out of the flow and turn it to cold, it should feel really cold. Then for the first few times/days, simply put your lower leg up to the knee in the flow, then swap for the other leg. Turn off the shower and towel dry as normal. The next day, do the same and maybe put more of each leg in the stream of cold water, until eventually, by the end of the week you are happy to step into the cold flow, including your head and turn to the right, then to the left and you are out. Towel dry as normal. You will feel the blood flow and your whole body alive.

CUPPING – 5 or 6 strokes per thigh or back of arm.
Cupping is a little slower than brushing or showering. Once you have showered, apply a body oil or body lotion, anything that feels slippery o the surface and tke your large Cupping Cup and squeeze together, then place on the area you are working on. I place just above the knee. Release the squeeze and the cup will ‘suck up’ the flesh, drag the cup slowly up the thigh (or arm) keeping the pocket of flesh still suckered in the cup. Once at the top of thigh or arm, squeeze the cup again and release. Repeat over the area you are focussing on. Cupping can be painful, but if you work slowly it will be easier to do and less of a sting. Once congestion is worked on for a few sessions it should feel smoother and less challenging to do.

Dress as normal, knowing you have truly cleansed, stimulated and exercised your internal body you are good to go, dress and start your day.

The three steps should take literally 5 minutes per day maximum but the difference to your body, your skin tone and texture will last a lifetime.