Kansa wands, gua sha, amethyst and jade rollers. Ancient beauty rituals dating back as far as 5000 years ago. These tools aid in lymphatic drainage which helps to reduce puffiness, clears up skin congestion, and brightens dulling skin.
These beauty rituals stem from Ayurveda and traditional Chinese medicine. Both traditions share the common idea that healing is holistic and that symptoms can not diagnose a person, the whole person must be examined in order to obtain a proper diagnosis. Both traditions also treat ailments in the body from the perspective that when something is wrong there is a problem with the flow of energy, in Chinese medicine this energy is referred to as qi.
With skin care, Ayurveda's and traditional Chinese medicine's approach is synergetic. The idea is to look at skin holistically. Stimulating the skin with energy holding tools will aid in better circulation which flushes the skin of toxins through the lymphatic system resulting in clearer, plumper and more radiant skin.
Let's take a closer look at 3 of these tools.
"Facial gua sha is more powerful than a roller," says Britta Plug. "Once you have the basics down, a gua sha tool becomes like a Swiss Army knife, one tool with a dozen functions and uses. Depending on your pressure, which edge you use, your speed and direction, you can either lift or de-puff, work on surface lines or deep muscular tension."
Like its close cousin, the jade roller, gua sha is a massage technique designed to relieve tension in the muscles of the face, boost blood circulation and encourage lymphatic drainage to banish bloat. It helps break up fascia — the connective tissue that hugs muscles but can sometimes interfere with optimal circulation — and can even help to make your face look slimmer (albeit temporarily). Devotees swear by its ability to ward off headaches and jaw pain and brighten skin (due to the boost in circulation). Some even consider it a Botox alternative for its ability to unkink settled-in muscle folds. (Fashionista)
"Imagine you have a leg injury: The muscles are all knotted up from the trauma and there is scar tissue restricting circulation. You'd be sent for physical therapy to help release the muscles and break down the scar tissue, so that your leg could heal," explains Plug. "The chronic stress of our day-to-day lives plays out on our faces as a furrowed brow, a clenched jaw. Facial gua sha is a therapy we can apply to uncoil the daily buildup of stress we experience in the face, and restore health, vitality and glow."
The most well-known benefits of using a jade roller include reducing inflammation and puffiness of the skin, reducing the appearance of under eye circles (especially if your roller is cold), stimulating the lymphatic system and blood circulation, brightening complexion, tightening pores, helping reduce the appearance of fine lines, and allowing skincare products to penetrate more deeply. (Allison Norton)
“Our face, just like our bodies, can store excess water and be sluggish in the removal of toxins,” explains Dr. Lamees Hamdan, the founder of a luxury skincare line from Dubai. “Massaging the lymphatic system is key to helping our face move the excess water, which causes the puffiness. When lymph is flowing freely in the face, you’ll have clearer, healthier skin without a buildup of toxins and fluids.”
Even if you’re not convinced that a piece of stone can give you Angelina’s chiseled cheek-bones, there’s also a spiritual component that sways many devotees. Many cultures see jade as a symbol of prosperity, purity, and tranquility—celebrating the stone for its ability to absorb negative energy.
Kansa was introduced about approximately 5000 years ago during a time called The Bronze Age buy the inhabitants of the Indus Valley. This is thought to be the very same culture that developed the principles and practices of Ayurveda. Ayurveda is translated in a few different ways such as "the science of life" or "to know about living" or "the study of longevity".
Bronze, being harder and more durable than other materials available at that time, enabled these ancient peoples of the Indus Valley to create superior metal tools, beautiful sacred statues, strong house wares, delightfully tuned bells and gongs as well as powerful weapons and armour. Kansa, or bronze, revolutionized the ancient world in many ways. Indeed it is said to be one of the most innovative alloys of human kind and is famous not only for it's beauty but also for it's healing qualities.
Today, Kansa is still used to make traditional healing tools for Ayurvedic face and body treatments. These wonderful massage tools are made in India by artisans that have practiced this craft for five generations.
Kansa wands are used to perform marmamassage. The word marma is most commonly translated as vital, hidden, or secret energy points but marma also refers to the channels that connect these energy points as well as the energy that runs in these channels. Marmas are found where all major tissues of the body are present such as arteries, veins, lymph vessels, nerves, around joints or in the middle of large muscle groups. Marma points work closely with the lymphatic system and some are identical to points, known as lymphatic gates in western tradition or shiatsu or acupuncture points in oriental traditions.
Marma points can be thought of as an intelligent network that keeps the body in touch with itself and its needs. It is useful to think of them as eyes that are looking around their particular location and ears listening to subconscious thoughts. Just like eyes or ears, when they are open they can communicate what they see or hear clearly. When they are closed they pick up a distorted or incomplete picture and cannot do their job properly. When marma points are damaged due to physical or emotional traumas, these eyes can shut down and the body cannot function to it's full capability.
The way to reopen marmas is by gentle touch. It may be a touch with the hand or over an area where the marma is, gentle finger pressure, massaging in small circles over the marma or touch with a variety of tools such as kansa or stones. Marmas are also opened by exercise, yoga, aroma therapy, light therapy and chanting or singing.
What does this all have to do with the skin? Marmas are also the network that communicates the skins needs. When marmas are open and healthy there is good communication and the needs of the skin are well met. The skin is well nourished, hydrated, cleansed and so will will age slowly and look vibrant.
Ancient beauty rituals, if anything, can definitely aid in relaxation, grounding, and skin hydration. But there is well known science behind all the benefits. The secret is finding what vibes best with YOU!
:) Come see me at the spa to experiment with a few of these tools.
credits: Melanie Saachs of Diamond Way Ayurveda, Britta Plug, Fashionista, Vogue