Working with clay

Pottery studios and clay workshops are not the first place you might think of as a center for improving health, but Dr Oz suggests that any activity with clay can be very beneficial to our natural balance and overall health.

"Working with clay is a very soothing and nurturing activity, " he was recently quoted as saying on his popular daytime TV program. The theory behind this is that working with clay uses the right side of the brain which is the center of our more creative genius. This allows the rather overburdened left side of the brain to rest from being the hub of our more logical skills. After a creative session molding and shaping a mass of soft and pliable clay, you should feel much more relaxed and grounded, he claims, which in turn improves how our whole body functions.

Clay is an easy and satisfying medium to work with. It is sensually pleasing to the touch, cool and very responsive to being shaped, kneaded and molded. Students can quickly feel they have command over the clay, which encourages imagination and self-expression. Any "disaster" can quickly be patched and repaired, or you can simply start over.

Clay has been used by psychotherapists for years as a device for helping clients explore difficult concepts or express emotion in a non-verbal manner. Many active children become quiet and composed as they work with clay, another good example of the calming and healing properties that clay can bring to your life.

Clay and Ayurvedic Medicine
The ancient study of Ayurvedic medicine similarly backs up claims that clay can be calming and beneficial to your whole health. Ayurvedic medicine is based on balancing the five elements found in nature: wind, fire, water, earth and space. If you have too much space and wind in your life, it can lead to you feeling ungrounded and somewhat scattered mentally.

Clay is made up of the elements of earth and water. By spending time working with this natural product, you are redressing the balance by adding earth and water which are both known as balancing and grounding influences in life.

How to Increase the Clay in Your Life
Consider how working with clay may bring balance and harmony to your life by including clay-based activities in your relaxation time. Most towns and cities offer pottery classes for those who want to experiment with clay without running the expense of buying a pottery wheel and furnace. Studios are available for making a one of a kind pot or plate and then hand painting your piece. Pottery parties are very fun, sociable events for groups to gather and celebrate a birthday, and they are not just directed at children.

Another way to introduce clay into your life is by applying a mud or clay mask once a week. Consider treating yourself to a full body treatment with a mud bath at a spa, or sit back and relax with a mud pack on your face for 20 minutes of "me-time" . Your whole body will reap the benefit.

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