Scrub, massage & polish @ home

Last Updated 17 December 2010, 10:30 IST

With spa treatments and massages becoming increasingly popular, a visit to the spa has become routine with most new-age brides. A popular treatment at the spa is body polishing — a top-to-toe body care procedure that helps remove dead skin cells through exfoliation, making the skin smoother, softer, brighter and healthier. Blood circulation to the skin surface also improves. The entire process induces relaxation and is believed to provide a sense of wellbeing on the whole. 

Body polishing is also an effective way of treating sun-damaged skin, where the ingredients are adjusted to suit the client’s needs. The treatment may be used to work on dry skin or to unclog the pores of oily skin. Rough areas of the body, like the elbows, knees and heels, are given specific attention. 

Different ingredients are used and the forms of body polishing may vary. For example, some spas use salt and sugar to exfoliate the skin. Other treatments, like body massage, may be included, for added value.

Here’s how you can give yourself a body polish treatment at home:

You will need:

*A scrub
*Massage oil
*Small and large towels
*A wash cloth

This treatment can be done once a week. 


Scrub for exfoliation: Sesame seeds (til), dried mint (pudina) leaves and honey.
These ingredients are not normally used in a scrub in a spa, but they do have a rejuvenating effect on the skin.

Crush the sesame seeds coarsely and powder the dried mint leaves. Mix both in honey and apply on the skin. Sesame seeds have sun-protective properties and also soothe sun-damaged skin. They help remove tan and produce an even-coloured tone. Mint has a stimulating effect and adds a glow to the skin, while honey moisturises and softens the skin. You can also use rice powder, curd and a pinch of turmeric (haldi) as a scrub.

Massage oil: Make a fragrant body massage oil using the principles of aromatherapy. A combination of essential oils can work wonders. Add 5 drops each of cinnamon oil, lavender oil and rose oil to 100 ml pure olive oil. Essential oils should never be used directly on the skin. They must be diluted with pressed oils.

Cinnamon oil is known to work best on fatigue and muscular tension, while lavender induces relaxation.

Rose oil is said to have a calming effect on the mind. It also improves blood circulation. Olive oil is an ideal body massage oil, as it not only nourishes and softens the skin, but can also restore the acid-alkaline balance of the skin. It is also a good carrier oil for essential oils. 

A body polish treatment always begins with exfoliation. Give the scrub ingredients one last stir and apply on the face and body. After 15 to 20 minutes, rub the skin in circular motion. Pay attention to the knees, elbows and heels. Wash off the scrub with water.   
Follow this up with a massage oil treatment. Use the above-mentioned oil mix and make small, circular strokes on the joints of the arms — shoulder, elbow and wrist joints. It is best to work on natural muscle contours. The abdomen should be massaged in wide circular movements, starting from the navel and going outwards.

For the upper abdomen, the direction should be from right to left, while for the lower abdomen, the circular strokes should be from left to right.

You will need somebody to massage your back for you. The massage should begin from the base of the spine, working upwards and outward from the backbone to the ribs. For a self massage, you may try simple strokes to ease tension in the neck area, or parts of the body that you can reach easily. 

Skin brushing helps eliminate toxins. The body surface must be brushed using a rough cloth. Begin at the feet and work your way up. Brush your shoulders across and back. Be gentle on the chest and abdomen. This helps get rid of an outer layer of dirt and keeps the skin supple.

Spa treatments, like body polishing, not only provide an ideal route towards de-stressing the body and mind, but also towards looking good and feeling great.

(Published 17 December 2010, 10:25 IST)

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