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Our costly efforts to use wild plants in skin care draws on the Japanese sense of Nature, cleanliness, functionality, and minimalism. The transparent and strangely dark red soap embodies extracts of Amachazuru and Lonicerajaponica’s leaf. Because skin cannot itself remove dirt, the unwanted cells still clinging to the surface need to be peeled away in order to keep it clean. But care is needed not to wash too hard. HOKUROKU SOUSUI’s soap imposes little burden on the skin so, as you wash with it morning and night, just make a ball of fine-bubble lather and pat it onto the face, touching the skin as little as possible with the fingers, and wash without rubbing. Around the eyes and mouth it is enough to dab the bubble-ball on to wash away all dirt. The clean skin left behind when the unwanted stuff is removed allows the ingredients that provide moisture care to pass straight to the keratinous layer. To make skin healthy you need to create healthy cells, and that involves the whole metabolism, which is so closely associated with food, exercise, baths, sleep and keeping the body warm, so it is essential to review lifestyle habits and ensure conditioning from within.
Correct face washing and moisturizing can maintain the skin’s barrier functions. But externally applied washing and moisturizing only have a temporary effect. Maintaining a healthy skin so that it creates healthy cells takes time, and necessarily involves a thorough review of life-style habits in eating (which has such an intimate relationship with metabolism), exercise, bathing and sleep, so that it is conditioned from within.
Body temperatures between 36.5 and 37.1℃ are said to be ideal for human beings. If you often feel chilled, the circulation to your legs and fingertips will be impaired, your metabolism will slow down, and skin troubles can arise only too easily. Using exercise and baths to encourage blood circulation, and to increase the volume circulating, will ensure that adequate oxygen and nourishment reach the cells at the extremities of your body. The result will be a rise in body temperature and excretion of old waste substances. The replacement of old cells with new-born cells thanks to your metabolism will take place normally, taking your body that much closer to good health.
We should be aware of the traditional well-balanced Japanese diet of “soup and three side dishes and rice.” The food we eat is digested in our stomach, and after most of the nutrients have been absorbed in the small intestine, they are sent to the capillary vessel. It is important to keep our blood circulation in good condition so that it can circulate nutrients throughout the body.
There are large numbers of beverages and supplements on the market today that provide vitamins, minerals and other nutrients in an easily ingested form. The problem, however, is that nutrients do not work on their own. In almost every case, it is the interactions between nutrients that produce the effects. Healthy, attractive skin comes from healthy, balanced eating--from giving your body the vegetables, meat, fish, grains, and marine products that it needs.
The human body is closely related to the climate and environment in which it lives. The best thing for the body is to eat foods in season that are suited to the local soil.
Japanese cuisine, with rice as its staple, is often said to provide an ideally balanced diet. A standard formula is to have one soup and three other dishes (one main dish and two side dishes). In addition to the three primary nutrients-- carbohydrates, proteins and lipids--this combination gives you the proper balance of vitamins in minerals found in seasonal vegetables, seaweed and fruit.
Eastern medicine has long identified foods like salt, miso, soy sauce and root vegetables (for example, burdock, carrot and ginger) as having a warming effect on the body. As the body warms, the blood flow increases. The circulation of the blood in turn increases body temperature and makes you less prone to cold. Conversely, in hotter, equatorial climates, the diet places greater emphasis on vegetables and fruit that cool the body. Tomatoes, cucumbers and bananas all reduce body temperature and should be eaten in appropriate amounts to cool you down from the inside.
Muscles are about 40% responsible for our body temperature. To increase our temperature it will be effective to exercise mainly the 70% or so of our muscles that are concentrated in the lower half of our bodies, belly button. More muscle means a faster basal metabolism. As we grow older and our muscle-strength declines, our metabolism gradually slows down. A slower metabolism means that the amount of heat generated also declines and our body temperature drops. By exercising appropriately we can maintain our basic metabolism at a high level.
The key point in yoga is to be aware of your breathing. You breathe more deeply during yoga than you usually do, which sends fresh oxygen to every corner of your body and invigorates your cells. Yoga poses use muscles that ordinarily do not get much work. As these muscles are stimulated, the blood flow increases, the metabolism becomes more active, and the wastes are better eliminated.
Running at full speed and muscle training are examples of anaerobic exercise, exercise that requires instantaneous strength. These exercises are good at improving the basal metabolism because they build muscle quickly. However, they also place a great deal of stress on the body and can lead to exhaustion. We recommend that muscle training be limited to two or three times a week, and that the training itself not be excessive.
Jogging, swimming and walking are all examples of aerobic exercise, exercise that burns body fat. The important thing with this kind of exercise is to continue; it should not be stressful or straining. Walking is something that you can start easily regardless of your age or gender. When you walk, your blood circulation improves, the wastes that have built up in your body are better eliminated, and the blood itself is cleansed. Walking also strengthens the muscles in the lower half of your body, which improves your metabolism.
* Basal metabolism is the amount of energy consumed to maintain life and the body without doing anything else.
We spend about one-third of our lives asleep. Sleeping makes a brain rest, and is a vital time for restoring our bodies. While we sleep, various hormones are secreted. One of these is the growth hormone, and in children it stimulates both muscles and growth. In adults, it is important for the metabolism.
Bathing in water that is not overly hot, yoga and other light exercise will relax you before you sleep and stimulate your parasympathetic nerves. Stimulation of the parasympathetic nerves expands the blood vessels, increases blood flow, causes blood to circulate right down to the end capillaries, releases heat from the feet and hands, and reduces body temperature. As body temperature lowers, physical activity is suppressed, the body relaxes, and both body and mind prepare for sleep. The increased blood flow also enables the brain to cool and rest, which is the essential purpose of sleep.
Taking a bath is a simple way to warm your body. Hands and feet tend to feel cold because the blood vessels in our extremities are particularly narrow, which makes it hard to deliver the blood. When we take a bath, we get warm to our core, blood vessels expand, and we can get the blood slowly circulating throughout our bodies without imposing any extra load on them. There are several ways we can take a bath. Let’s adopt one that suits our lifestyle and make it an effective part of our daily routine.
Bathing stimulates the parasympathetic nerves and relaxes the body. The blood vessels gently relax, allowing blood to flow throughout the body without any additional stress. If you want to relieve stress or tired feet, is optimum to bathe for 15 minutes at a temperature of 39-40℃. For the first 5 minutes, immerse your entire body so that you feel buoyant and relaxed; for the remaining 10, sit with just the lower half of the body in the bath to relieve fatigue in your feet and legs.
Showers are an easy way to get clean, but compared to baths, they do little to stimulate the autonomic nerves or increase body temperature. If a shower is your only option, you can stimulate the sympathetic nerves somewhat by increasing the temperature of 43℃. Overstimulation of the sympathetic nerves will reduce body temperature, but an appropriate amount of stimulation will cause the blood vessels to contract, increase blood flow, and improve circulation.
Place somewhat hot water, around 43℃, in a bucket and immerse up to your ankles or wrists for 10-15 minutes. The effects of the bath can be enhanced by adding a pinch of coarse salt, or some ginger or yuzu(Japanese Citron). The feet and hands are where the blood turns around and begins to flow back to the heart. Warming them warms the blood, which improves circulation and warms the entire body. Hand baths will warm the body more quickly than foot baths because the hands are closer to the heart, so the blood that has been warmed there will be faster to return to the heart and be sent out again.
Different plants and fruits can be placed in the bath water to relax your mind and body. In Japan, yuzu is common in the winter solstice, and iris common in the early summer(Boys' Day on May 5). The aroma of the plants has a relaxing effect on you as you bathe. The plants also give up vitamins and minerals to the water, and these ingredients cover the surface of your skin to warm it and help it retain its heat. We recommend bathing in 40℃ water for 10-15 minutes. The water should be hot enough that the components from the plants are fully extracted.