Food for thought

I have been contracted by my local authority to deliver a short series of programmes introducing Adults with Learning Difficulties to the concept of natural skincare and it has been fascinating. We are just entering week 3.

As an Occupational Therapist, i have over 10 years of experience in a variety of ‘disability’ settings – including both children and adults with varying degrees of learning difficulty. I LOVE therapy work – and must admit, really miss my clinical role(s). The current teaching schedule has enabled me to return to these roots, albeit in a slightly different format.

My current students are from a wide spectrum of ability – some very ‘high functioning’ adults, who have part-time jobs and live independently, and others who are both deaf and mute, with additional physical complications. I LOVE that it is possible to emcompass such a variety of needs in one setting – in one little classroom – and all learn about the same subject matter. All sharing experiences.

Admittedly it has taken me these first couple of weeks to get to grips with exactly how to do this. Last week i had a ‘lightbulb’ moment – all inspired by one of my most profoundly affected students.

The lady in question has ‘Pica’ – which is “characterized by an appetite for substances largely non-nutritive” (thanks Wikipedia). When people have ‘Pica’ tendancies, they may feel a need to put objects in their mouths, and chew them. Often these objects are things that most of us would find extremely unpleasant……..

The fantastic thing about my sessions, for this lady in particular, is that everything we are using/working with is completely safe to eat. We are using oils and butters and botanicals – all of which may not taste delicious if eaten, but will certainly not cause any harm.

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I cant believe i hadnt thought about it before.

Surely its an enormous factor when creating cosmetics – especially natural cosmetics for children and babies (as mine are). I know that all of my ingredients must be ‘food grade’ – but i had never before reflected upon why this is so very important.

No need to worry now about baby getting his/her hands (and mouth!) on that bottle of massage oil – apart from the mess it could create on your carpet. Did you know that you can get your daily EFA requirements from the application of Sunflower oil to your skin? You dont even need to ingest it – as your skin ‘eats’ it for you.

However you take it – dermally through your skin, or orally via food – it doesnt really matter. These oils are safe (and extremely good!) for you.

So i am adapting my teaching sessions at present to encompass a truly multi-sensory approach. We are smelling and touching and (especially for one lady in particular) even tasting our ingredients – long before they are combined to create a product. We are exploring the natural, organic items we have at home, in our cupboards and fridges, that are of benefit to the skin – both applied topically and ingested.

We have moved the ‘classroom’ to the kitchen.

I’m clearly learning as much from my students as they are from me.

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