BY BONITA CAROL
A few years ago, I spent a summer here in a house without airconditioning. It was so hot I was sweating all the time. At first it was uncomfortable,but when I gradually got used to it, I started feeling fantastic. My eyes wereclear, my weight dropped, and my thinking less foggy.
Sweating is as vital to physical health as breathing and eating. It ridsthe body of wastes, regulates body temperature, and helps keep the skin suppleand moist. Sweating keeps the pores open so you can receive oxygen and prana,or life energy. Blocked pores can’t breath. Perspiration allows excretionof toxins and impurities through the skin, helping the kidney and liver todetoxify the blood.
Indoor Living Minimizes Sweat
Today, many people who have sedentary lifestyles simply do not sweatenough. In addition, being indoors most of the day in air-conditionedbuildings minimizes the opportunity for the body to sweat. By going froman air-conditioned house to an air-conditioned car to an air-conditionedoffice, many Americans never have the opportunity to perspire and ridthe body of toxins.
Vaidya Mishra, a renowned Ayurvedic physician, recommends spending timeeach day outdoors in an unpolluted natural environment to help counteractthe effect of so much time spent indoors. When it’s hot out, giveyour body a chance to do what it wants to do naturally: sweat.
It may take some getting used to the natural heat. You don’t havelive without air conditioning completely—just compromise a little.Ceiling fans in each room help, as do swimming in natural reservoirs anddrinking plenty of fluids.
What’s in our Sweat?
As the pores open up and we begin to perspire, millions of sweat glandsstart to excrete metabolic and other waste products. Sweat contains almostthe same elements of urine. In addition, environmental toxins such aslead, mercury, nicotine, alcohol, sulfuric acid, and pesticides have beenfound in sweat. Without release, these toxins accumulate in the adiposetissues, which can result in illness.
In addition, these toxins tax the liver and can accumulate to the pointof overload. If there is no way for toxins to leave the system, they canattack other vital organs as well.
Perspiration in Other Cultures
When sweat and bacteria mix on the skin, it creates body odor. Americanshave been taught that these natural smells are unpleasant. In many cultures,however, body odor is an acceptable part of every day life. Some evenconsider it erotic. Many Europeans believe Americans have absurd attitudesabout cleanliness and that we are “hyperclean.”
Put the Ban on “Ban”
Our multi-billion dollar advertising and marketing industry has createdour cultural opinion that natural body odor is taboo. Americans go togreat lengths to mask the body’s natural odor by spending hundredsof dollars on personal care products and expensive perfumes. Almost everyone of these commercial products carries harmful carcinogens that we applyto our body everyday. Anti-perspirants not only prevent toxins from leavingthe body but they also add toxins to the system due to their harmful ingredients.
The synthetic chemicals aluminum chlorhydrate and aluminum zicarnium,which are generally marketed as anti-perspirants, are designed to blockthe pores from breathing. There’s a large and ever growing bodyof evidence that shows logical associations between toxin build-up andcancer, as well as other diseases.
So if you want to hide body odor, use a natural organic deodorant freefrom lead and alum. The difference between an anti-perspirant and a deodorantis that the former blocks the pores to prevent sweat, while the latterjust masks the odor.
If you know you’ll be sweating a lot, bring additional clothingto change into. Consult a physician if you have a problem with excessiveor foul-smelling sweat. Often, the bad odor can be altered with improveddigestion, purification methods, and dietary and lifestyle changes.Healthy sweat does not have much odor; it’s more of an earthy,acrid smell.
Also, avoid getting overheated, this could result in heat exhaustionor a heat stroke, which is life threatening.
Sweat Therapy Traditions
For thousands of years, cultures throughout the world have enjoyed thetherapeutic benefits of sweating through saunas and steam bathing. Fromthe Finnish sauna, the Russian banya, and the Japanese bath house to theEastern Indian swedana and Native American sweat lodge, traditional cultureshave recognized that regular sweat baths can greatly enhance health.
Today, when our idle lifestyles, air-conditioned buildings, and use ofanti-perspirants prohibit a healthy amount of sweat, it is even more importantthat we seek a way to purify the body through sweat.
Bonita Carol is a licensed massage therapist and esthetician. Reach herat (641) 472-2804.