January 14, 2009

Ayurvedic Beauty Wisdom

There are a number of books by Bharti Vyas, one of my favorite beauty writers, available new and used on Amazon, that give detailed recipes and techniques for home therapy routines using the basic principals of Ayurvedic beauty wisdom. Aryuvedic body treatments are about 5,000 years old and were developed in India at the same time as Yoga and other highly sophisticated techniques to balance the body and mind into optimal health.

Facial self massage, using easily obtainable cold pressed oils such as almond, olive or jojoba is explained in detail. The benefits are that the techniques cleanse and stimulate circulation and stimulate lymphatic drainage, giving the skin a brighter, smoother appearance and the face a healthy glow, while relaxing the facial expression. Acupressure points are used as she explains how to use your hands and develop the richly sensitive sensors of the fingers in different simple movements. I have found that after a number of such treatments the skin develops a velvety feel and the sinus area remains clear even during a cold.

It is best to rely completely on your hands by not looking in a mirror so as to connect with the nerve endings underneath the skin by sense of touch. About a half an hour is set aside, finished by a good soak in a bath or shower, to be added to the time calculations. It is best to read through the instructions first, because your hands will be full of oil and you of course won't want to get the pages of the book full of fingerprints. (Afterward you can always rub any excess oil further up into your arms and legs so as not to waste any).

Sitting straight in a chair, you begin at the collar bones, firmly pressing beneath them at the breastbone at least five times. Moving out to the shoulder area, firmly pressing with the balls of the fingers, you will immediately feel the stimulation unlocking muscle tension held in the neck and shoulders. Then using opposite hands taking three fingers and massaging the shoulder muscles, and moving back to continue pinching the hollow behind your collarbones with thumbs downward, repeatedly, moving out back and forth to the shoulder muscles, for about five minutes. Stimulating this area is an essential foundation to the facial massage. Then the neck should be palmed, one hand at a time, rhythmically stroking upward, with the right hand stroking the left and vice versa. This will stimulate the glands in the neck area and also pay attention to a frequently neglected place. The jawline is firmly pinched with your thumbs under the bone, from beneath the chin to the earlobes, in about four steps, ten times.

Now the face, with the first two fingers on each side, just under the cheekbones, from the center out and back again, about five times. This will familiarize you with the structures that support and define your own face. This action will also eventually refine definition in the area. Then the nose area, from each side of the top of the bridge, at the top between the eyes, a firm pressure of each index finger, working down to the end of the nose and back again, for about one minute, pressing firmly into the cartilage. I find this stimulation helps keep the sinuses clear and relaxes the facial expression.

The skin around the eyes is thin and delicate, so make sure you have enough oil on the skin so there is no "drag" and use the ring fingers to trace around the rim of the sockets starting from the outside, going around in circles ten times. This helps to reduce puffiness and dark under eye circles.

The forehead is massaged by spreading your fingers on either side of your nose with your thumb at the temple and the index between your eyebrows and pinching very lighting up to the hairline and back again. There is very little play of skin to pinch here, so this is a shallow pinch, done for a couple of minutes. This releases muscle tension in the forehead and gives your face a calmer and clearer expression.

After this, rub any excess oil in your hands into other areas of your body as necessary, such as knees or arms, and then wash the face with lukewarm water, using some product other than soap that you know is compatible with your skin type.

Doing this once a week will make this preventative as well as curative. At first this may seem self indulgent, but once you start noticing the difference in your appearance and how you feel, you will bend over backwards to make the time. Doing it yourself will also put you in charge of your own well being and is a much less expensive way to have frequent treatments.

Above illustration, a Dancing Celestial from a 12th Century Indian temple, a semi-divine being often decorating the outside of Hindu sacred places. She personifies the ancient Indian ideal of female beauty. From Wallyg's photostream on Flickr, and you can access more such Indian images of beauty here.

8 comments:

pikake said...

I feel more relaxed just having read that!

chayaruchama said...

Isn't that lady alluring ?
She's shaped like YOU, darling !

What a timely post for the winter doldrums, dear one.
Ayurveda is worth the effort.

Of course, being a an admitted aspiring Subcontinental Wannabe of lifetime proportions, I'm a tad biased...

Lucy said...

O Chaya, would that I were --- I don't think anyone human is quite so sinuous and voluptuous at the same time. I think about that ancient India of the Celestials, but I am getting myself back into shape apace in my own way. The Ayurvedic methods just really work for me. They feel good and they actually work, and I really enjoy them. I just ordered about 5 different books, used, from Amazon and expect to be concocting all kinds of things once they arrive. I hope you enjoy the Sheila Chandra-
O Namaha Shiva!

Lucy said...

pikake-

I was pretty relaxed after that I can tell you. My skin is getting smoother, especially the forehead...

JADE DRESSLER said...

Lucy, your blog is exquisite. We met at the blog workshop and I am posting a link to your site ASAP. My blog is: www.jadedressler.wordpress.com and if you read the post on flowers and the one on alexander mcqueen, you will see that we are kindred spirits. I am passing your blog on to my friends who love essenses of flowers and perfumes! Thank you so much! Jade

Lucy said...

Thank you Jade. I will be going to your site...

Organic Cosmetics said...

This is truly a nice and informative posting on the Ayurvedic beauty treatments. Indeed originated in India these are known to be extremely effective. :-)

Naturally beautiful said...

I researched over Internet about ayurveda and all its natural treatments.