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We are not all lucky enough to have a perfect body, but with careful grooming, regular exercise and a Healthy Diet we can certainly make the most of the one we have been given. Your body will respond as soon as you start a concentrated care program and your self-confidence will increase.
Protecting yourself from the sun should be a priority if you value the condition of your skin. It is only too tempting to try and establish a glamorous suntan, but great care must be taken if permanent damage is to be avoided. Keep an eye on your children’s skin when they are out in the sun too – their skin needs even more protection. Keeping the skin on your face and body in good condition all-year-round is essential if it is to withstand the different climatic and environmental changes it will experience from season to season, so treat yourself to naturally rich conditioning creams.
There are innumerable books and theories on this subject and the pressure to go on a diet can be immense. If for any reason dieting makes you unhappy, do not do it, unless you have to for health reasons and then only under medical supervision. There are many plump, beautiful women in the world whose calm radiance comes from accepting the fact that health and happiness are not exclusive to slender women.
It is likely that you will be neither healthy nor happy if you force yourself to be perpetually hungry and deprive your body of the necessary vitamins, minerals, proteins, and oils. Cutting out meals is no guarantee that you will slim successfully and results in the temptation to overeat when your will-power cracks. Ensure instead that the Food you do eat is the correct food in terms of energy value and nutritional content.
If you covet a svelte silhouette then the easiest way to achieve it is to cut down the size of your meals, gradually substituting large portions of raw vegetables and fruit for those foods which you know to be fattening. These raw foods need to be thoroughly chewed and therefore reduce the fatal desire to nibble between meals. If you do still feel the urge to have the occasional snack, try unsalted nuts, seeds, and dried fruit instead of artificially flavored biscuits, crisps, and sweets. These are all delicious and very nourishing. Indulging yourself in this way will gradually reduce your craving for quick unhealthy snacks.
Taking plenty of exercises reinforces the good effects of a sensible diet. Again there are many books available on this subject and it is best to be guided by one that caters to your age group. Energetic dance exercises are fine if you are in your teens or twenties and are used to disco-dancing, but there is no benefit to be had from a daily plunge through the pain barrier if your body is completely unused to such exertion.
- Establish a regular exercise routine that suits your needs and your lifestyle. Walking, swimming and yoga are all excellent and enjoyable ways of keeping fit.
Take things gently at first and work up to the stage where you feel that you can tackle something more strenuous. Walking, swimming and cycling are the best exercises to keep you in good all-over physical shape. The degree of exertion involved in these methods of exercise is for you to choose, according to your personal level of fitness. Build up your strength and stamina day by day and establish a routine that suits you. Whichever type of exercise you choose to take, whether it be running, isometrics, yoga or jazz dancing, be careful not to overextend yourself before you are ready. You could do yourself more harm than good.
A shower or a quick bath every day is a necessity for reasons of hygiene, but a long soak in a warm, aromatic bath from time to time can bring you tremendous therapeutic and cosmetic benefits. Tension, bad temper, anxiety, aches, and pains are soothed away in the bath. Your skin is polished and stimulated by gentle scrubbing with a good soap, or smoothed and healed by the addition of lotions and infusions to your bathwater. Warm heady fumes resulting from the addition of aromatic oils to a steaming bath can induce a feeling of peace and well-being, further encouraged by a relaxing massage with fragrant and conditioning body oils.
The soothing effect of your bath should be followed up with a relaxing massage using a specially formulated oil or lotion to lubricate and protect your skin. Your skin is warm and supple after a bath and especially receptive to this form of beauty therapy. Massage is the key to inner tranquillity and good skin and muscle tone. You do not have to be an expert to be able to follow the simple techniques outlined here and the sooner you get into the habit of regular massage, the sooner your body will show the benefits this treatment can bring. Gentle massage stimulates your circulation and promotes a gleaming, soft skin tone. More vigorous treatment exercises and tones your muscles. Both forms of massage are calmative and bring you to complete relaxation. Never rush a massage – enjoy it as you would any luxurious treat.
Using your whole hand, stroke the surface of your skin with a gentle, rhythmic, soothing movement towards your heart. Use this technique all over your body to relax muscles and promote deep relaxation.
Pinching and kneading
Both these techniques share the same principle – lifting and squeezing of the flesh. Pinching is a small light movement using your thumbs and fingertips; kneading is a larger movement, exerting more pressure on your flesh. Use pinching on your upper arms, upper abdomen and where your skin is tight. Use kneading on fleshier areas such as your hips, thighs, and buttocks.
Pressing And Rolling
Use the thumbs of both hands to “press and roll” your skin against the pressure of your fingers. Your skin is lifted slightly then massaged smoothly down again with this movement. A very good treatment for plump thighs.
This can be slightly painful if you work too enthusiastically. Do not use it on scarred skin or broken veins. It is a fast, bouncy slapping action using your cupped hands in an alternating rhythm. Use it on the areas of your body where your circulation is most sluggish, such as your thighs, hips, buttocks, and stomach.
The maximum release of tension comes from the treatment of key areas in very specific ways.
Gently knead and stroke up your calf. Pinch and stroke around your knee and complete the massage with firm A stroking movements at the back of your knee. This massage relieves tension in aching leg muscles and tendons. Combine it with the foot massage.
Stroke and knead your shoulders gently. Using your fingertips, make small pressing, rotating movements, and probe gently across and around A as much of your shoulder blade as you can reach. Work especially on the little knots of tension between your shoulder blades at the top of your spine, to relieve neck and headaches.
Massaging the top of your neck around your hairline brings on instant sleepiness, so treat yourself to this massage at the end of a hard day. Rest your elbows on a table and support the sides of your face in your cupped palms. Spread your fingers out to reach the back of your neck. Close your eyes, drop your head, relax completely and begin to massage. Using three fingers of each hand make small, gently pressing movements, concentrating on the area behind your ears and working your way along your hairline to your nape. Continue the pressure until any tension is eased.
To relieve intense backache caused by standing all day long or bad posture, apply pressure with both your hands, fingers spread, placed > on either side of your spine. Starting at the base of your back, make rotary movements with your hands, pressing gently with your fingertips as you go. Massage up your back as far as you can reach without straining your shoulders.
Simple Secrets Body Tonic
Add lemon or lime juice, or witch hazel to the basic rosewater and glycerine moisturizer to make a good body toning lotion. If you wish, you can substitute elderflower or orange flower water, or an appropriate herbal infusion, for the rosewater in the basic moisturizer recipe.
Keep a large bottle of mixed vegetable oils and add the therapeutic oils of your choice to make a body rub for aching muscles.
Mix wheat flour or finely ground oatmeal to a paste with double cream and use it as a cleansing softening body scrub.
LANOLIN MASSAGE CREAM
A thick, fairly solid massage cream that ensures an invigorating massage, which improves muscle condition and skin tone.
- 60ml (4 tbsps) anhydrous lanolin
- 60ml (4 tbsps) sunflower oil
- 15ml (1 tbsp) Wintergreen camphor or eucalyptus herbal oil
- 195ml (9 tbsps) purified water
Warm the lanolin and the oils together in a bowl in a bain-marie. Heat the water to the same temperature in a separate bowl. Beat the water into the lanolin mixture and continue beating until it cools. Spoon into a 275ml ( ½ pt) pot and seal.
Muscle-Toning massage cream with a delicious fragrance. It is ideal for use in areas prone to flabbiness, such as breasts, neck and upper arms.
- 15ml (1 tbsp) anhydrous lanolin
- 15ml (1 tbsp) cocoa butter
- 30ml (2 tbsp) apricot oil
- 15ml (1 tbsp) orange flower water
- 2.5ml (½ tsp) borax
- few drops orange flower (neroli) oils
Melt the lanolin and the cocoa butter together in a bowl in a bain-marie and beat in the apricot oil. Warm the orange flower water to the same temperature in a separate bowl and dissolve the borax in it. Beat the water into the oils and continue beating until the mixture is cool. Add the neroli oil. Spoon into a 150ml( ¼ pt) pot and seal.
VIOLET ESSENCE BODY OIL
A fine thin cream that is easily absorbed.
- 15ml (1 tbsp) anhydrous lanolin
- 30ml (2 tbsps) white petroleum jelly
- 75ml (5 tbsps) baby oil
- 225ml (3/8 pt) purified water
- 2.5ml (½ tsp) essential oil of violets
Melt the lanolin and oils in a bowl in a bain-marie. Heat the water to the same temperature in a separate bowl. Add the water to the lanolin mixture, beating continuously. Remove from the heat and beat until cool. Add the violet oil, stir well and spoon into a 275ml (½ Apt) pot.
ALL-PURPOSE AFTER BATH OIL
A basic everyday massage oil.
- 60ml (4 tbsp) almond oil
- 30ml (2 tbsps) wheatgerm oil
- 45ml (3 tbsp) sunflower oil
- 45ml (3 tbsp) olive oil
- 30ml (2 tbsp) sesame oil
- 15ml (1 tbsp) apricot or avocado oil.
A few drops perfume Shake all the ingredients in a 275ml (½ pt) bottle together. Use the perfume of your choice, or keep the oil fragrance-free and add a drop of perfume to a little of the oil when you feel like a change.
SPICY BODY TONER
A fresh tingling body lotion that is ideal for use after an invigorating massage.
- 15ml (1 tbsp) fresh rosemary
- 15ml (1 tbsp) fresh mint
- pinch freshly grated orange peel
- pinch freshly grated lemon peel
- pinch grated nutmeg
- 75ml (5 tbsps) rose or orange flower water
- 30ml (2 tbsps) alcohol
Blend all the ingredients in a liquidizer. Pour into a glass jar, seal and leave to soften on a warm windowsill for at least a week. Strain and pour into a 150ml (¼ pt) bottle.
AVOCADO AND WHEATGERM MASSAGE OIL
An ideal oil to use on the sun and sea-soaked bodies; it is particularly relaxing after exercise. Almond oil can be substituted for the avocado oil.
- 60ml (4 tbsps) avocado oil
- 60ml (4 tbsps) wheatgerm oil
Shake the oils together in a 150ml (¼ pt) bottle.
LAVENDER BODY LOTION
A soothing, healing lotion, perfect for a massage last thing at night.
- 60ml (4 tbsp) almond oil
- 150ml (¼ pt) rosewater
- 5ml (1 tsp) borax
- several drops lavender oil
Warm the almond oil and the rosewater in separate bowls in a bain-marie. Dissolve the borax in the water and beat this solution slowly into the oil. Continue beating until the mixture combines without separating and add the lavender oil. Pour into a 275ml (½ pt) bottle. Shake well before using.
Using a gentle deodorant after washing gives you the confidence that your fresh scented body will stay that way all day long.
An infusion of chrysanthemum leaves, sage or cleavers makes an effective deodorant. Apple cider vinegar also makes a good deodorant when diluted with two parts purified water.
LAVENDER UNDERARM DEODORANT
A fragrant, long-lasting deodorant.
- 3 drops lavender oil
- 15ml (1 tbsp) sugar
- 575ml (1 pt) purified water
Shake the ingredients together in a bottle and leave for two weeks. Decant into an atomizer and shake before using.
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