Body and Mind Remedies for Eczema and Other Conditions
In the past couple of months I experienced an unprecedented bad case of eczema. What started off as an innocuous patch of dermatitis, contained on one of my fingers, spread angrily all over my chest and stomach and onto my back, and finally, to each of my four limbs.
It wasn’t pretty, and it eventually got me really down, which obviously did not help!
Since becoming an almost organic vegan, my diet has been more or less in first gear over the past few years, so I knew that the eczema was caused by the stress I was experiencing in my current living situation. So much so, that the only thing that finally cleared it up was taking a few weeks away from the environment. No amount of fresh green vegetable juice seemed to help clear this completely, affirming my theory that your mental health can manifest in your physical health.
While I tried to get my stress levels under control, a good friend told me about bathing in oatmeal to sooth inflamed skin. The porridge bath, as I now like call it, is cheap as chips and really easy!
There are just two easy steps:
1. Take the leg of an old pair of pantyhose, and fill it with about a cup of oatmeal.
2. Tie it off, and immerse it in a warm bath
Make sure that you keep the bath water warm, as lounging in hot water warms your blood, which, if you are prone to eczema or psoriasis, can further inflame the skin.
The water will become milky after a few minutes, and the ball of oatmeal will drip with a thick porridge between your fingers when you squeeze it.
The thick, syrupy-like oat milk feels amazing when massaged into your skin and (even if you don’t have eczema) is an excellent natural moisturizer in its own right. Plus, it’s cheap enough to regularly bathe in.
The Mind and Body Connection
In addition to your physical self, the bath is also beneficial for your mind. It’s the perfect time to meditate and let go of any stresses that may have caused unnecessary worry during your day or week. Visualize what happened to cause you to feel how you do, accept it and then try to let it go.
I have a few meditations that I have used to help relieve stress and ultimately my clear skin, but my favorite technique for letting go is the visualization technique. Unlike other meditations, the visualization technique requires you to envision what you want. Not only did I want peace of mind, but I also wanted clear skin.
I have three meditations that helped me to achieve this:
1. Visualize yourself breathing in grey matter, or the worried feeling you have, as you inhale through your nose. As you exhale through your mouth, visualize yourself releasing the worry, in the form of pink or golden sparkles.
2. Visualize your body as the color red, which represents the rash. Concentrate on watching the angry red slowly change to an alkalizing green color, which starts at your toes, and then slowly extends all over your body, until it finally creeps up to your head, where any red remains are released with each exhale.
3. Visualize the steam coming off the water as representative of your stresses, and watch it dissipate into the atmosphere. This is basic, but effective.
The scenarios are limitless!
I realize that to some people it might sound a little bit crazy, but it really does work!
This technique was inspired by a colleague with whom I used to work. She told me that when she had cancer, she would spend days meditating by visualizing her body as a real-life game of Pac Man. Her good cells were represented by a hungry Pac Man who would go around her body, slowly conquering all of the cancerous cells, until they had all been swallowed and destroyed.
Eventually, along with a few other fundamental life changes, she was declared cancer free.
The mind can be as powerful a tool as we choose it to be. Just as we exercise our bodies, we also need to exercise our minds by way of meditation to create the lives we want: healthy, happy and stress-free.
Caitlyn Smith is a music- and veggie-loving wayfarer who discovered health and wellness after a cancer diagnosis in 2006. She lives on the north coast of Australia, and is committed to revolutionizing the way we approach food, health and our busy lives.