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Scrubbing is good—and not just for your skin

Body scrubbing, an essential part of the macrobiotic system of wellness, has benefits beyond healthy skin

Feel fresh and invigorated after a thorough scrub.
Feel fresh and invigorated after a thorough scrub. (Getty Images)

The skin is the largest organ in the body after the gut microbiome. Each square cm of skin may have up to 600 sweat glands, 20 blood vessels, 6,000 melanocytes and over a thousand nerve endings. Among the many functions of the skin are protection, sensation, heat regulation, excretion of sweat and water resistance. Your skin is connected to your capillaries, arteries and veins, and through them, to your circulatory system, which is discharging toxins all the time.

Body scrubbing is an ancient health and beauty practice followed in many healing systems, including Ayurveda, and it is an integral part of the macrobiotic approach as well. In Ayurveda, ‘self-abhyanga’ or self-massage is performed with oil.

In the macrobiotic system, a body scrub is done with a cotton cloth and warm water. In a macrobiotic body scrub, toxins are eliminated from the pores of the skin. Both methods help clear the lymphatic system. Scrubbing can do far more for your overall well-being than a normal bath does.

Saturated fats from dairy, meats and eggs can clog up your skin, preventing the passage and elimination of both moisture and oil through your pores. Soaps, perfumes and lotions that you use regularly also tend to clog your pores. Body scrubbing helps get rid of this layer of impurities, and activates and improves blood circulation as well.

The process of scrubbing exfoliates your skin, sloughing off dead cells, rubbing away hard, flaky skin, and pulling out toxins. A body scrub can be very invigorating as it also helps fight cellulite and improves skin tone as well. It is the one anti-ageing secret that requires little effort but has multiple benefits. It also ensures the smooth flow of energy in all the pathways of the body, and provides a massage to the internal organs.

Here is how you do it

Take a small tub and fill it with hot water (as hot as you can handle). Take a cotton washcloth and dip it in the hot water, squeezing the excess water (folding your washcloth into quarters and wringing the water by holding the edges and dipping the middle of the washcloth in water helps you to hold the washcloth even when it’s hot). Rub skin vigorously (with as much pressure as you can bear), wetting the cloth once you finish one area of your body.

Move on to each part of the body; this includes the buttocks, back of the neck, behind ears, in between fingers and toes, and soles of your feet. Don’t forget the face—focus on joints as maximum discharge gathers around the joints. Scrub each part till it turns pink. The colour of the water may change. Breathe deeply as you run the washcloth over your body.

Scrub well, till your skin feels good and you feel invigorated. After a month of daily scrubbing, you will see a definite improvement in your skin and muscle tone. The skin will retain moisture better and will get a glow. You will feel more energetic, and you will sleep better. Make the simple scrub a part of your daily beauty routine.

Shonali Sabherwal is a macrobiotic chef/nutritionist and the author of The Beauty Diet, The Detox Diet, and The Love Diet.

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