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Monday, 23 June 2008 15:01

Toxicity - The Growing Problem

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As a spa professional, it is important to be aware of the effect toxins have on the skin and the internal system. Being aware will in turn motivate you to become knowledgeable on how to select the right products, equipment, and treatments that can have a positive impact on repairing damage caused by toxin exposure.

Alarming Statistics:

Cancer rates have increased since 1901 from only 1 in 8,000 Americans, to 1 in 3 today! By the year 2010, this disease will afflict 1 of every 2 individuals! American Cancer Society

The Average American Uses about 25 Gallons of toxic, hazardous chemical products per year in their home...A major portion of these can be found in household cleaning products. —"Prosperity Without Pollution," by Joel S. Hirschorn and Kirsten V. Oldenburg, 1991

Only 1% of toxins are required to be listed on labels, because companies classify their formulas as "trade secrets." Lorie Dwornick, researcher, educator and activist, 2002

In the past 50 years more than 75,000 chemicals have been introduced into the environment. Today 300 synthetic chemicals are found in the bodies of humans. Even newborn babies have synthetic chemicals passed on from their mothers. REACH (Registration, Evaluation, and Authorization of Chemicals, a European Union program

The Effect of Toxins on you:
Most people are aware that toxins have a negative impact on our health, however they continue to increase their exposure by eating high levels of refined and processed foods, using harsh chemical cleaning agents in their households, using synthetic based cosmetics, and through the extensive use of medications.
Toxins and poisons formed internally from breathing in, ingesting, or topical contact can eventually lead to an unhealthy intestine overtime, where leakage of the toxins to other areas of the body can occur. These toxins can progress through the body and accumulate in the tissues such as fat, the brain, and nervous system. These stored toxins can re-circulate in the blood and can be the direct cause of more rapid aging internally and externally. Toxins can also incorporate into the body when there is not proper elimination of waste and from on-going stress.
If preventative methods and detoxification treatments are incorporated into our lives, we can reduce the risk of our internal organs being heavily damaged by toxins. If our organs such as; the intestines and liver remain in good healthy condition, they are able to excrete them and detoxify toxins remaining in the body.
When toxins accumulate within the body many symptoms can occur including; fatigue, stomach disorders; hair loss, wrinkles, dehydration, muscle pain, and more serious illnesses such as; cancer.

Toxins and Free Radicals
To have a clearer understanding of toxins and their effect we must also discuss free radicals. Toxins are in the form of free radicals and these are simply unpaired electrons that because they are missing an electron are unstable. In order to regain stability a free radical scavenges for electrons and removes them from normal healthy cells, which in turn can cause direct damage to enzymes and to DNA.
The body is designed to protect itself from free radicals. However, when there is overexposure to toxins other methods, which assist in the removal of free radicals such as detoxification need to be implemented.

Prevention & Solutions
There are two ways in which you can help prevent the devastating effects of long term toxin exposure: 1. Minimize free radical exposure 2. Protect and prevent through antioxidants, natural remedies, and treatments. To minimize free radical exposure one should focus on eating organically as much as possible and avoid heavily processed and refined foods. Other ways to reduce internal accumulation of toxins is to drink purified water, wear a good sunscreen daily, use cosmetic products and household products that are free of harsh synthetics, and try to find natural alternatives to pharmaceutical drugs when possible.

In the Spa
Many spas offer detoxification treatments such as; body wraps, lymphatic drainage dry brushing, heat therapy, antioxidant facials, water therapy, etc. These spa treatments can help in the following ways:

  1. Increasing circulation: sluggish circulation can lead to accumulation of toxins in tissues. By using specific products and treatments that help to boost circulation you are promoting the movement of excess toxins to the lymphatic drainage points. These areas are where toxins can get eliminated from the body .
  2. Depending on the level of activeness of products being used in a hydrotherapy treatment or body wrap, they can help to remove toxins through ionic attraction. Certain ingredients such as; colloidal clay contain particles that are fine enough to penetrate deep into the skin. These particles are positively charged and attract negatively charged bacteria and other toxins. Heat and the activity of the clay can help to draw the toxins out of the skin as there is an increase in blood circulation. Other ingredients that can assist in toxin removal at that level are essential oils, and antioxidants such as; vitamins A, C, and E. Antioxidants work directly to repair damage from free radicals.
  3. Incorporation of heat in spa treatments, such as, steam or heated wraps promotes sweating, which is a key way to removing toxins. Heat therapy also helps to increase circulation in the body.

Other active ingredients such as; seaweed, natural fruit enzymes, essential oils, sea salts, green tea, grapeseed extract, and others also work to remove toxins from the top layers of the skin and in turn help the skin appear more vibrant and youthful.
When selecting products to use in your treatments, chose one's that are created without commonly used synthetics such as; mineral oil, petroleum, propylene glycol, synthetic detergents, artificial colors, and fragrances. Ask for a full ingredient list from your supplier to ensure that the products use natural alternatives for emulsifiers and stabilizers in the formula.

Dry Brushing: Easy and Effective
Dry brushing is a technique that is used often during a spa detoxifying or lymphatic drainage treatment as a first step and can be done every day at home. This treatment is an effective way to improve circulation thereby helping to reduce fluid retention and toxin build-up internally. Externally it provides an exfoliation to the skin helping the skin become more even in tone and texture. The reason it is called dry brushing is because the skin is brushed in a specific motion and direction without the use of product or water. To conduct dry brushing you need a gentle soft lufa glove or brush, with bristles that are not too abrasive. Start from the feet and work your way up using gentle upward circular massage strokes. Concentrate on areas that contain build-up of fluid, toxins, and cellulite prone areas. The legs and buttocks are done first, next the arms, the stomach can be done in a very gentle circular motion (clockwise), the breast area can be brushed in a figure eight motion. Avoid dry brushing above the breast area. If possible, the back should be done as well. Dry brushing at least a few times a week or incorporating it into any spa treatment can provide a boost of energy and leave the skin alive and rejuvenated.
For additional detoxification treatments, incorporate special treatments in the spa that work directly on reducing stress from the mind and body through nurturing, the right product and technique. One of the most powerful anti-stress treatments is the Shiro Dhara. This traditional Ayuvedic treatment has the ability to re-balance the entire body on a deep level that has very positive results in reversing the damage that stress can have. Other treatments such as; body wraps and massage that incorporate pampering and anti-stress techniques can also be beneficial. Aromatherapy oils can be very helpful when incorporated into a treatment for stress reduction. For example good quality therapeutic grade lavender has shown to work on an aromatherapy level to promote calm and relaxation, in turn the impact of free radical damage from stress is minimized.
Another helpful tip is to offer clients detoxifying snacks before and after treatments such as; herbal teas, purified water with lemon, fresh fruit, organic vegetables, and fresh vegetable juices.

Sherina Jamal is the founder of Ancient Secrets Inc and the creator of the Age Effective Body Care Line. Her professional experience in the industry has spanned more than ten years and her passion for education and development of superior product for the spa industry has continued her on this path.  She is an established writer and speaker on various subjects relating to natural skin care, ingredients, spa treatments, formulations, anti-aging and wellness. Sherina's focus is to continue to strive towards innovative changes and growth for the spa industry as a whole and to work with other industry professional to ensure that a certain standard of quality education and product is always a priority.  For more information on Ancient Secrets products and services please contact: 1-888-796-0589,This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., www.ancientsecrets.ca.

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