Modern Day Healthcare, Week 4: Hygiene (Physical, Mental, and Spiritual)


Joseph Pilates was considered by some to be a fanatic about hygiene.  There are stories of stiff brushes and cold showers to clean the body.  I, personally, am not too much of a fanatic about germs: research shows that exposure to normal dirt and germs actually increases our resistance to disease.  However, as it pertains to body odor, I vote for cleanliness.  

Much of the child’s welfare depends upon cleanliness of the skin. Water should be freely used. Hot shower baths followed by gradually cooler and cooler temperature until the water is cold, has a most beneficial and exhilarating effect, especially when the body is briskly “massaged” (at the beginning) with a soft brush to be later on discarded for a harder one.

Soap should be used only occasionally as when the body is covered with perspiration. In all other instances, the brush massaging answers the purpose. This system of skin treatment not only is responsible for its soft texture and pink glow, but by removing all the soap residue lodged in the pores of the skin, opens these pores, thus permitting them to function naturally and eliminating the cause of colds.”

Joseph Pilates, Your Health, (pp. 46-47)

Joseph also wanted his clients to be clean inside.  He said, “breath is the internal shower, cleaning our bodies of debris and germs.”  The internal shower that Joe speaks of happens when we do vigorous exercise with increased blood flow and air exchange.  We often drink more water to stay hydrated and in turn we help our organs and the integumentary system better perform their function.

Joseph also talked about a different type of hygiene.  He referred to it as mental hygiene.  Our thoughts are probably the greatest determinant of how healthy we are.  Sharon Kolkka, speaker at the 2013 Polestar Life Conference, said that negative and destructive thoughts can make us physically sick and unhappy.  Uncontrolled gaming and internet use can be harmful to our emotional and mental health. By avoiding negative news, violent music and movies, and harmful relationships, we can keep our minds clean of unhealthy thoughts.  We can replace the negative thought generators with positive thought generators like uplifting music and beautiful art, feel good movies, educational or spiritual books, healthy synergistic relationships, meditation and/or prayer.

Let’s follow Joe’s magical formula of keeping ourselves clean on the outside and inside, and treating our bodies and minds like temples.  Polestar Life’s vision is to educate the public on modern day healthcare topics like movement, nutrition, compassion and hygiene.  I look forward to your comments!

Dr. Brent


This is part of a 12-week series about Modern Healthcare. To see previous posts, click here.