Scrubbing, washing, cleaning and polishing our body.
Whether it is with a single bar of handmade organic soap or the latest innovative package of products to sequentially be applied to our body.
Perhaps we are over being over-hygienic? Or perhaps not, and what our biology (body), specifically our microbiology, really wants, is an alternative way to not only maintain cleanliness, but feel pristine.
The Problem with Soap and Scrubbing
Nowadays we are cleaning and scrubbing all the good oils off our skin. These oils feed the microbes (micro-bugs) on our skin.
Microbes do the heavy lifting for just about all our bodily functions, including skin functions like ensuring proper elimination of waste through sweat glands, maintaining complexion, regulating skin inflammatory responses and general immunity (which functions highly at the skin level).
It is therefore important that we find alternatives to hand soap that doesn't completely eradicate these oils from our epidermis.
The Origin of Soap
Legends say, oils from animal sacrifice seeped out into the river and when mixed with the water, created froth. Women who were cleaning clothes in the river noticed that with this froth, the clothes were washing better.
Soap Alternative: Oil Massage
Fast-forward to today, we now know oil plus water creates a soap-onification effect that takes the bad microbes out of the skin.
Oil is lipophilic, meaning it pulls out any bad oils, grease or grime from the skin. Ayurveda therefore suggests that Oil as being one of the best alternatives for hand soap since it cleanses the skin without the complete eradication of the microbes that work in symbiosis with our own physiology.
The same lipophilic effect happens when we ingest ghee. It will pull heavy metals and fat soluble toxins out of the fat cells in our stomach.
Thus, ghee is a key ingredient for cleansing and detoxification in Ayurveda.
Some Indians who are 80 years old have had a massage pretty much everyday of their lives, and some have never have even used soap!
Self-Massage (Self-Abhyanga) is part of their daily regimen.
We bathe and wash ourselves daily (I hope), well, we also go to anoint oil on our skin and then massage it onto our body to move blood, lymph, calm the billions of neuro-receptors on our skin and feed the microbiology living there!
You may think you would start to smell, but interestingly enough, if you rub the oil on well, you can create a really effective cleansing technique.
Your body odour may very well dissipate, perhaps you won’t need deodorant anymore, and you can reduce the amount of soap you use (I still recommend regularly using natural soap in your “under-bits”).