Natural Living

By Laura Peterson

Do you know how lucky you are? Seriously, do you have any clue how gosh-darned fortunate you are to have a skincare guru like Dr. Pratima Raichur right here in your own city everyday? I recently made a visit to her new Soho digs on Greene between Prince and Spring. (see the Spa section for a review of Pratima Ayurvedic Skincare Spa) I have to say, I would travel cross-country to hear this woman speak. Being in her presence is both humbling and inspiring. Her gentle but steadfast nature, her graceful beauty (just try to guess how old she is – her skin reveals nothing but health!) and her incredible wisdom are just awe-inspiring. She’s the real deal, and she wants to help all of us find what she calls “Absolute Beauty.”

Now a chemist, botanist, aesthetician, published author and internationally recognized pioneer in Ayurvedic skincare, Dr. Raichur started her study of Ayurveda at the tender age of 13. Ayurveda is a 5,000 year old medical philosophy in Dr. Raichur’s homeland of India, but when she first arrived in this country over 30 year ago the whole concept was completely new to Americans. Nowadays, however, it’s not shocking to hear savvy New York women exclaim, “I used to drink Cosmos, but they SO don’t go with my Dosha!” For those that don’t know, a Dosha is a body’s constitution, and there are three different Doshas in Ayurveda – vatta (air), pitta (fire) and kapha (earth). Every body is one of the three or a combination of two, and by recognizing your Dosha, you can then make wiser choices as to what foods are best for you, what products to use on your skin, and what things to avoid. You can find your Dosha by taking the test on the Pratima Skincare website. (see below for the link)

So what exactly is “Absolute Beauty,” according to Dr. Raichur? Absolute Beauty is when we are balanced, healthy and radiant on the inside and outside. We achieve that by balancing our Dosha, Starting with good thoughts and proper breathing, we establish the foundation of balance. From there we consider what foods to eat, as well as what not to eat. Again, our nourishment is an important factor in our skincare. I say nourishment rather than diet, because Dr. Raichur instructed me, “In India we say if you eat with guilt, anger, frustration or stress, that food is poison in your body. But if you eat the same food with joy, love in your heart and a good mood, then that food is nectar.” I like this philosophy (as I grab a chocolate chip cookie with joy in my heart).

So what is the worst thing we do to our skin? “Stress,” says Dr. Raichur, “It affects every hormone in the body. When we are happy and joyful, our bodies release Interlucken and Interferon, two hormones that govern the immune system.” So that means when we’re stressed, we allow a weakness in our immune system. We cause more problems for our skin by eating poorly and using harsh products on our already suffering skin. “If you want to correct a problem with your skin, you need to go to the root of the problem to make it better,” advises Dr. Raichur. This process is not immediate, but it is permanent if you maintain the balance. It takes six months for skin problems like acne to be completely overcome because there are seven layers of skin, and since our skin sloughs off and creates only one layer per month it takes time to see results. But once you see it, it is real and lasting.

Here are some other wise and helpful tips from Dr. Raichur for great skin:

* Drink room temperature water – not too cold or too hot.
* Stay away from white sugar, white bread, deep fried foods, soda, red meat and cheese.
* Do not eat fermented foods (that means booze, ladies!) or foods with acidity if you suffer from redness or broken capillaries.
* Avoid seafood if you have skin blemishes.
* Try to rest/sleep between the hours of 10pm and 6am.
* Have a healthy breakfast every morning.
* Have at least one regular and healthy bowel movement every day.
* Exercise a little every day, even if it’s just stretching and moving your limbs every hour or so in the office.
* Cellulite is a result of dehydration and toxic buildup. Stay hydrated and eliminate toxins to get rid of it.
* Do not eat dinner any later than 7pm. After 7pm, if you must eat, have only a light, healthy snack.

I can almost hear your thoughts, dear readers. It sounds so right, but it just seems so hard. Who can live this way while maintaining a busy career and active NY lifestyle? Well perhaps the most amazing thing about Dr. Raichur is that she is as realistic as she is wise. “I, myself, would like to be able to meditate for three hours every day, but who has that kind of time in this city?” she points out. Her one-on-one consultations address every individual’s lifestyle. She has worked with men and women with busy schedules, families, etc. and helped many people find balance and Absolute Beauty.

How much do I admire and trust this amazing woman? I sent my little sister to her in preparation for her wedding! My youngest sister is getting married this month, and ever since high school she has suffered from acne on her face, chest and back. She’s tried so many things, but nothing seemed to work. She even tried this one product I won’t mention by name (but let’s just say no one in my family will trust Jessica Simpson as a spokesperson again!) that cost quite a bit and didn’t help one iota. Knowing my sister is not really into the holistic lifestyle stuff I’m into, I waited while she tried all that other stuff, then in I made my offer – my wedding gift to her is a consultation with Dr. Raichur, including any products recommended. She started in May and it’s the end of July as I’m writing this. After two consultations, sticking with the diet and herbal remedies, using the products, plus having one facial, two chemical peels and a dermabrasion, she will have clear skin for her wedding photos! “We went more extreme than I normally would go, but we had to work towards that wedding date,” Dr. Raichur told me. (Remember, it takes skin six months to show improvements, normally, for something like acne with scarring, but there was only half that time to work with.) My sister said none of the processes hurt at all or produced any undesirable side effects. She is absolutely thrilled to not only be beautiful for her wedding photos, but also to know she can be acne-free for the rest of her life without drugs or harsh treatments. She also lost 15 pounds on the diet and feels and looks amazing.

So again I have to ask, do you realize how lucky you are? You can meet with this amazing woman and hear her advice on everything from losing weight to rejuvenating your skin to proper ways to meditate (yes, she will teach you that, too). Can’t find time to make an appointment? Then set up a phone consultation. You can’t pass up this opportunity. A consultation with Dr. Raichur is life changing – it brings Absolute Beauty.

To find your Dosha and learn more about Dr. Pratima Raichur and Pratima Ayurvedic Skincare Spa, please see her website at: http://www.pratimaskincare.com.

You can find Dr. Raichur’s book, “Absolute Beauty,” published by Harper Collins, at http://www.amazon.com or most book stores.

Please also see my review of the Pratima Ayurvedic Skincare Spa services in the Spa section.

Originally published August 2006
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