Polish your body

A body polish is a popular treatment that exfoliates and hydrates your skin,
leaving it smooth and soft, says Rajeshwari Mishra

ONE type of beautification that has caught on in the recent years is that of polishing your body. Yes, the body, too, needs to be polished like our personality. It is a holistic treatment with aromatic oils to make you relaxed and beautiful. A body polish is a popular body treatment that exfoliates and hydrates your skin, leaving it smooth and soft.

A body polish can be done with any number of materials  salt, sugar, coffee and rice bran
A body polish can be done with any number of materials salt, sugar, coffee and rice bran

A body polish is primarily a treatment for the skin sort of a facial for the body. It should not be confused with a massage. Before the treatment begins, the therapist may ask you what kind of product you prefer, giving you a choice of smells, or asking whether you want to feel relaxed or revitalised by the body polish.

A body polish can be done with any number of materials salt, sugar, coffee grounds, rice bran, pecan hulls usually mixed with some kind of massage oil and aromatic like essential oils. If the polish uses salt, it might be called a salt scrub, salt glow or sea salt scrub. The exfoliation is usually followed by a shower and an application of body lotion.

A body polish usually takes place in a wet room, which has a tile floor and a drain. You will start face-down on a massage table covered with a towel, a sheet or a thin piece of plastic, or on a special wet table that has a Vichy shower overhead. A Vichy shower is a metal arm with five to seven shower heads that runs parallel to a cushioned treatment table, so you can get a shower while lying down.

In that case you won't have to get up to be rinsed off. The therapist will return and start by gently rubbing the exfoliant on your back, the backs of your arms, and the backs of your legs and feet. You are draped with a towel or sheet; so only the part she is working on is exposed. Then you turn over and she does the other side. Treatment time 30 minutes for smaller areas and 45 minutes for larger surfaces.

Treatments are carried out in weekly sessions for 2-12 weeks to achieve maximum results. Clients often report early benefits to their skin, depending on the area and condition treated. Stretch marks and acne scars are usually slower to respond. The price of a body polish at a spa/ salon begins from Rs 1,800.

Don't have time for the three-step "exfoliate, wash, moisturise" ritual, or is it a matter of saving moolah? Try our own personal body massage at home.

What you need for the treatment is a pumice stone, one body scrub cloth (The Body Shop makes a good durable exfoliating wash cloth), one large looped wash cloth, one fine looped wash cloth, one piece of soft flannel (diapers work well), one pair of cotton gloves (try your drug store) and one pair of silk gloves (camera shops sell these for handling negatives).

If you want to do this the traditional way, you will need a sable mitt. You may be able to find a piece of sable at a furrier or on the collar of an old coat at a thrift shop to make your own.

Apply a good quality olive oil to the treatment area. Bundle up in a pair of old sweats and stay warm for 20-40 minutes before proceeding.

Get in the shower and lather up the roughest cloth with a mild soap. Use gentle even pressure in a circular motion. Work quickly but thoroughly. More is not better here.

Use a pumice stone on exceptionally rough areas such as elbows, knees and heels. Removing deep calluses takes time. Do not over work the heels or they will crack painfully.

Repeat step 3, using first the large looped cloth and then the fine looped one. Again, work fairly quickly so as not to over exfoliate and damage the skin.

Pat dry with a towel. With the flannel cloth, using little or no pressure on the skin, buff in rapid circles. As you practice, you will be able to feel the cloth "catching" on rough areas and "gliding" over areas that are sufficiently smoothed.

Wearing cotton gloves, gently buff all areas in a circular motion. You can spend extra time on areas that still feel rough, and remember to work these places a little more in an earlier step next time.

You can also combine a body polish with a massage. Get the body polish first because it is stimulating, whereas the massage calms you down. Some spas have signature treatments, that combine both body polish and massage. MF