Mindfulness – Benefits for your Skin

For many people with skin problems, the most common way of curing it is by seeking medical treatment. However, studies have shown that alternative approaches can help keep the skin healthy and improve various skin conditions. One of these approaches is mindfulness. This ancient practice is an approach to living that deals with being aware of the present. It focuses on attentiveness to feelings, thoughts and the body.

What is Mindfulness?

Mindfulness moves toward discovering a deeper level of awareness that can lead to peace, calmness, relaxation and inner balance allowing a person to respond to stressors in life more constructively. This is achieved through the practice of traditional meditation known as insight meditation or vipassana. The term vipassana literally means to see things as they are and works on principles of patience, acceptance, trust and non-judgment among some things. It teaches people to become receptive, rather than reactive especially in unfavorable situations. Although most commonly associated with Buddhism, mindfulness and vipassana are more part of Spirituality rather than Religion.

With these principles, there are a number of ways that mindfulness relates to improving the condition of the skin. One of the most obvious benefits is the relief of psychological, emotional and even physical stress through this process. The skin is connected to the brain through hundreds of thousands of nerve endings making it susceptible to inflammations as a result of the increased neural input that occurs when stress arises.

When stressful situations are experienced a reaction between the nerves and brain causes an inflammatory response that may manifest itself on the outside of the body. For the skin this may mean breaking out with acne, rashes, itching, redness and many other problems. Additionally, existing skin problems are worsened when this reaction takes place. When mindfulness is practiced, both mental rest and physical rest are experienced by the body. Ultimately, stress is reduced and relieved avoiding or limiting such responses.

Other than helping to avoid or worsen skin problems, mindfulness can also help deal with pain. For many chronic skin problems pain is often experienced. Medication may be given, but many times it does little to help ease the discomfort that is felt. Meditation can be used as an avenue for pain management helping to instantly reduce any pain felt. As a matter of fact, many use mindfulness as a way to make the experience of pain become empowering as they understand what it happening to their bodies and tolerate it in a healthy manner.

Boosts your Immune System

Another of the benefits of mindfulness for skin is increased immune functioning that occurs in relation to reduced stress and anxiety. Chronic skin conditions such as psoriasis and eczema often lead to breaks in the skin and wounds which can easily become infected, worsening the condition. Studies have shown that relaxation and stress management can both lead to an improved immune system as well as better production of antibodies. With a stronger system it will be easier for the body to fight off infections that may occur within the skin allowing it to heal faster.

Image courtesy of Carlos Porto at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Marten

MD with a great interest in skin diseases, mental health and physical training.

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