Since skin is the medium in which the massage therapist works to create a healthier client, it’s a fitting subject to address. What an amazing role skin plays in your health! If your primary skin concerns have been what SPF rating your sun screen has, read on and gain a new appreciation for an old friend—your skin.
What responsibilities your skin has! A partial list of your skin’s duties include:
~ Providing a waterproof barrier that protects you from invasions of foreign substances and from excessive fluid loss
~ Regulating your body temperature—using sweat glands to cool you with perspiration and blood supply to raise or lower your temperature as needed
~ Playing a supporting role in your body’s immune system
~ Excreting wastes—Sharing the
functions of the lungs and kidneys, the skin expels impurities from the body via perspiration
~ Contributing to the regulation of blood pressure. The skin’s blood-vessel network, capable of storing and releasing blood as needed, is as important as the heart for proper circulation
~ Being a vital sensory organ
In the human embryo, the sense of touch is the first to develop, beginning in the sixth week. While your other senses are limited to your head (sight, hearing, taste, smell), your sense of touch is gathering information from every inch of your skin. Every minute of the day, your skin is monitoring your environment with its approximate 640,000 sensory receptors and is capable of wakening you from a deep sleep should it sense an abnormal situation. Additionally, it offers such a variety of information—your skin differentiates itchy and tickling sensations, hot and cold, various degrees of pressure, and all manner of pain and pleasure sensations.
Another of the skin’s sentry duties includes monitoring what is allowed to pass through its pores. With great selectivity your skin accepts nourishing substances while rejecting toxins, and expels metabolic waste while retaining beneficial substances—all simultaneously!
Skin is among the most adaptable tissues in the body. It can become calloused, having little feeling or remain thin and extremely sensitive.
Skin is in a constant state of renewal. A person living to the age of 70 will go through about 850 skins—each new skin reflecting the ongoing changes of aging. As the years roll by, the skin’s tissue continues to lose moisture, resulting in the thinner, drier and more wrinkled skin of the aged.
When injured, specialized cells found in the skin have the capability to begin the healing process by manufacturing strands of connective tissue that fill the wound. Your skin really knows how to take care of you!