Indigo: An Ancient Skincare Ingredient Given New Life!

Geisha have been in the know using soothing, calming, and healing ingredient Indigo for centuries!

This is the color that is called indigo in the Japanese traditional colors, a group of colors in use since beginning in 660 CE in the form of various dyes that are used in designing kimonos.  The name of this color in Japanese is ai-iro, which means indigo color.  In fact, during the Edo Period, the Samurai warriors wore a layer of indigo-dyed cotton beneath their armor to help skin wounds heal, earning the color the nickname “Samurai Blue.”

It is also widely used in Traditional Chinese Medicine for Psoriasis!

I know when you think of indigo you think of the rainbow, visible color spectrum (ROY G. BIV -Red, Orange, Yellow, Blue, Indigo and Violet) or demin jeans (the dye used to color jeans comes from indigo!)  Denim is a tone of indigo Crayola which resembles the shade of indigo used in denim. Crayola created this color in 1993 as one of the new 16 colors.

Babyface Face & Cream

Get Real Denim Suds Soap

India is believed to be the oldest center of indigo dyeing in the Old World. It was a primary supplier of indigodye, derived from the plant Indigofera tinctoria, to Europe as early as the Greco-Roman era. The association of India with indigo is reflected in the Greek word for the ‘dye’, which was indikon (ινδικόν). The Romans used the term indicum, which passed into Italian dialect and eventually into English as the word indigo. The country of El Salvador has lately been the biggest producer of indigo.  The same indigo dye is contained in the woad plant, Isatis tinctoria, for a long time the main source of blue dye in Europe. Woad was replaced by true indigo as trade routes opened up, and both are now largely replaced by synthetic dyes.

D-Kuru from Wikimedia Commons

I’m Fabulous Firming & Lifting Cream

Indigo has anti-inflammatory benefits!  Wild Indigo extract stimulates beta endorphin release and provides relief for sensitive skins.

Tatcha’s Indigo Skincare Line

ESPA Repair and Restore Intensive Serum

Remedy Olivamine Skin Repair Cream

KOSE SEKKISEI SUPREME Revitalizing Cream and Lotion

Yes, the same plant that gives your jeans their characteristic hue turns out to be an under-appreciated! It has been known to be particularly beneficial to those with dermatitis and eczema.

Jeffrey James Botanicals The Creme Hallelujah

Huang Qin Gao Ointment (ShiZhen brand)

Pure Life Soap, Wild Indigo Shampoo and Conditioner

Indigo is added to many black hair dyes to enrich the black and give black hair that beautiful blue shine.

Auromere Ayurvedic Soap, Lavender-Neem

Kama Sutra Feel More Sexier Pheromone Body Lotion

Ancient Chinese Medicine Massage to Help Rid Yourself of Belly Fat!

shutterstock_74008219

By revving up your body’s ability to effectively and efficiently digest the foods you eat for fuel, you trigger optimal internal cleansing, which helps you achieve your ideal weight and health. That’s why I love this simple massage technique so much – because its core principle is similar to the philosophy found in the Beauty Detox lifestyle.

According to Dr. Stephen Chang, who practices both Western and Chinese medicine, utilizing a two minute massage technique provides a form of internal exercise that cleanses and detoxifies to melt away fat in a manner that is much different than the typical Western external exercises like crunches. While crunches are great for firming up your abdominal muscles, they don’t do anything about the layer of fat that sits on top of them. In fact, one of the persistent myths of Western exercise is that by working out the muscles, you can automatically turn fat into muscle, and that just ‘aint true.

Here’s what really happens anytime you perform a Western-style strength training exercise. The exercises place tiny tears in the muscle fibers. As those micro tears heal, the muscle fiber becomes stronger, leading to firmer (and in some cases larger) muscles. Your fat, on the other hand, remains stubbornly and annoyingly in place unless you engage in a specific program for fat loss. As we’ve discussed in The Beauty Detox System and The Beauty Detox Foods, fat loss comes about as a result of a few different mechanisms:

  • Detoxificationimages
  • Burning your body fat as fuel

Stored fat serves a few purposes in your body. First, it protects your internal organs. Second, it provides a ready form of energy to be burned as fuel during times of famine. Thirdly, it protects your body from all of the toxins you take in by living and eating in a toxic world. Losing excess fat, then, is a matter of creating ways for your body to burn that fat as fuel by producing an energy deficit between what you eat and what you burn. You must also remove your body’s need to store the fat to protect you from toxins, which is why detoxification is such a huge part of the Beauty Detox program.

So, when you exercise you are doing two things: raising your body’s energy (fuel) requirements and firming up the muscles underneath. In some cases, this can translate as fat loss; however, if you have toxic buildup or you increase your fuel (food) intake in response to exercise, then fat loss may come about very slowly – or not at all.

Many people overestimate the amount of calories they burn during an exercise session. The amount varies from person to person, with some people metabolizing fuel much more efficiently than others. While many things factor into this equation, toxicity is a big part of it. If your fat is trapping toxins and keeping them out of your system, your body will be extremely reluctant to burn fat as fuel because doing so will release those poisons.

Other variables that factor into how quickly your body burns calories during exercise include your current weight, the type of exercise you are doing, and the intensity of that exercise. In many cases, calories burned aren’t that much. For example, according to the Mayo Clinic, if you walk one mile in 30 minutes, you will only burn 102 calories. If you speed up just a bit (that is, increase the intensity of your exercise) and walk 1 ¾ mile in 30 minutes, then you’ll burn about 157 calories. If, however, you increase your food intake in response to your additional exercise, you’ll mostly negate any caloric deficit you achieved while walking.

This doesn’t mean I’m telling you not to exercise. Exercise is an important part of good health, because it strengthens your heart and lungs, helps detoxify you, improves your flexibility, gives you energy, and helps you have the strength and endurance for activities of daily life. If, however, you are exercising to lose weight, then you can’t rely on exercise alone. You also need to detoxify and eat a diet of healthy, naturally high fiber/low-calorie foods like I recommend in The Beauty Detox Foods. When you eat this way, you can eat to satiation and not obsess about calorie counting because the fiber will help fill your belly up as you receive large amounts of easily and quickly absorbed nutrients.

Chinese Medicine Abdominal Massage

The Chinese medicine massage technique I am going to outline below is a different type of exercise altogether. A product of 6,000 years of Eastern wisdom, the massage improves your digestive efficiency by maximizing your body’s ability to detoxify and eliminate waste. The technique can help speed up your digestive system and allows you to eliminate the sludge that builds up in intestines, which can be pounds (!!) of uneliminated waste. When I do it, it is apparent to me the technique is not only physical but also energetic. It’s worth a try, right?

Before you begin, please note that the following people should use caution or avoid using this technique. Don’t use this technique:

  • Immediately after a heavy meal
  • If you are pregnant
  • If you are suffering inflammation of feminine organs including the uterus, ovaries, fallopian tubes, or bladder
  • If you have stones of the bladder, kidneys, or gallbladder
  • If you have high blood pressure
  • If you have a hernia
  • If you have intestinal or stomach ulcers
  • If you have bleeding in the stomach, brains, or lungs
  • (If you aren’t sure if it’s right for you, you can always ask your doctor)

Benefits may include:

  • Can help melt adipose tissue
  • Improves digestive efficiency
  • Detoxifies the intestines
  • Improves constipation (the mother of all health/beauty issues!)
  • Stimulates the organs in your abdominal region
  • Improves circulation in your abdominal region
  • May improve conditions such as nausea, vomiting, symptoms of overeating, diarrhea, and indigestion
  • Can provide results in about a week of consistent practice

Perform this technique two times per day – before breakfast and just before bed.

  1. Lie flat on your back on a firm surface with your abdominal region exposed.
  2. Warm up your hands by rubbing them together until they feel hot – about 15 seconds.
  3. Place one hand flat on your belly button.
  4. Begin rubbing in small circles around your belly button, gradually widening the circles using a firm pressure. Each circle should take about one to two seconds.
  5. Focus on heat, which is building up in your abdominal region as you rub.
  6. Continue for two minutes, about 40 to 50 circles. Be sure to keep your stomach warm as you perform the exercise.

That’s it! See how you feel and if you (hopefully) notice an improvement in your digestion as your practice regularly.

Via Kimberly Snyder

Self Facial Massage Part 3: Chinese Facial Massage!

Part 1

Part 2

Its beautifying benefits are staring you in the face. But can you do facial massage on yourself? Celebrity facialist, Su-Man, who has a pioneering treatment which fuses skincare application with a facial workout technique influenced by shiatsu, Pilates and oriental facial massage, tells us how.

She recommends each massage stroke is repeated 36 times in accordance to the ancient Chinese belief that the number six is lucky and helps lead the individual to a perfect state of health and happiness. And, it seems, chiselled cheekbones!

Follow this sequence of massages/gestures after cleansing your face. Usually morning or night-time. Make sure you touch your face/eyes/ears with clean hands. In ancient Chinese medicine all the pressure points on the face are not only related to internal organs but are also related to beauty. They make the face radiate, take away dullness and enhance your physical presence. Before you begin your daily self–facial you need to generate heat in the face, stimulating circulation therefore preparing the pressure points for massage. This is done by rubbing the ears with the palm of both hands until heat is generated in the ears. All the exercises are easier to do sitting down.

1) With the elbows rested on a table massage the face with moisturizer starting from the chin with the heels of both palms round up to the base of the ear line 36 times.

2) Take the heels of both your hands from the edge of your nostrils and press along in one continuous line underneath the cheekbones up to the edge of your ears. Again, 36 times and always, in one direction. Never press downwards. You want to lift the face muscles up – not down!!

3) Take the middle fingers of both hands and press the area between your eyes and your nose, at the very top of your nose. You stroke gently but firmly downwards following the nose line to the side of your nostrils. It is like drawing two lines in a downward direction. You do this 36 times. This also clears the sinuses and helps to improve your breathing.

4) You make two small claws with your four fingers of each hand. Put them together on the middle of your forehead and press quite firmly (without pulling the skin) in an outward direction, smoothly, until the temples. 36 times and again, only in one direction.

5) Tap around the eye sockets with our fingertips with the natural weight of the fingers. Do not tap too hard!! Six times above the eye socket and six times below. This stimulates the bones of the eye socket. Do not tap the eyelids!! They are too delicate and can damage the eyes. This exercise brightens the eyes and reduces any puffiness or swelling above or below the eyes. Once a day is enough. To finish off this exercise you continue tapping all over the face. But you only need to do this a few times.

6) Finally, after finishing all the above five exercises you take the fingertips of the two hands, and tap everywhere on the scalp and cranium quiet strongly (using the natural weight of your fingers) to wake up the energy, the blood circulation, and to strengthen the bones. Please note it is not good to touch your face after this exercise as you can transfer dust and dirt from your hair.

When you have finished this sequence I suggest you drink a glass of warm water to help the chi flow. Once a week I recommend that you exfoliate and put a mask on your face.”

It’s the ultimate anti-ageing technique; toning your facial muscles, lifting slack skin and reducing puffiness. What are you waiting for?

Scraping Massage

Click here for a great video of GUASHA
CHINESE GUASHA FACIAL MASSAGE

Like with all facial massage it:

• Reduces wrinkles, lines, and folds
• Promotes collagen production
• Increases skin firmness
• Accelerates skin rejuventation
• Promotes blood circulation – activates Qi
• Helps eliminate toxins and increases the metabolism
• Strengthens immunological functions
Guasha Therapy is the Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) art of facial and body scraping for beauty, health, and wellness; similar to acupuncture treatment, but without the use of intrusive needles. The Guasha technique helps to restore and re-balance the vital energy system in the body, which eliminates pathogenic factors directly. It has been practiced for more than 25 centuries by the Chinese people and is a precious heritage of traditional Chinese medical science and massage therapy. Like Acupuncture and Feng Shui, Guasha Therapy is recognized for its positive energy, and its ability to repair aesthetic problems. Be careful not to be to vigorous and damage, bruise, or break the skin.

Chinese Guasha Facial massage is performed by applying gentle scraping with unique shaped Jade or ceramic plates, and essential oil, oil, or cream on specific points and meridians/meridian points on the face and body. The Guasha technique is based on meridian scraping theory. In TCM, there are 14 meridian pathways with corresponding acupuncture points distributed throughout the body and connected to each organ system. The face has direct meridian connections to nine of the major meridians of the body.

Via Dr. Oz

Scrape Away Pain: Gua Sha

When I was finishing my undergraduate coursework, I was working part-time in a hospital research department. My co-workers knew I had my eyes set on Eastern Medical training. On rare occasions, questions concerning Eastern Medicine would arise, and these questions would always be directed toward me.

 

Young, naïve and inexperienced, I was just as curious as they were. One morning, I had an email sent to me, with a web link to a forum for cardiologists. A picture depicting the back of a gentleman was displayed on the website. His back was scraped and bruised in a specific pattern unlike anything I had ever seen before. Under this picture, a simple caption read “What is this?” and I was utterly dumbfounded. As it turns out, gua sha is what it was.

 

As I was finishing my clinical training in Beijing, I would find myself smiling at the memory of that picture; something that once seemed so dumbfounding had become something I was so commonly administering to patients.  Gua sha is a common practice in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), and an invaluable technique in an acupuncturist’s armamentarium.

 

Gua sha is an ancient healing technique used by many clinicians of TCM. In this procedure, a lubricating medium, such as massage oil, is applied to the skin of the area to be treated. A smooth-edged instrument is used by the acupuncturist to apply short or long strokes on the skin, typically in the area of pain or on the back parallel to the spine. This stroking motion creates raised redness (petechiae) or bruising (ecchymosis).

 

Pain, both acute and chronic, is the most common indication for gua sha. In the TCM tradition, pain is oftentimes caused by the stagnation of blood in the local area of discomfort. The guiding principle behind gua sha is that this technique has the ability to break up stagnation, to promote the smooth flow of blood in the area, thereby relieving pain.

 

While gua sha is most commonly used to treat pain, it can also be utilized by TCM clinicians to address conditions such as asthma, bronchitis, colds, flu, fever, heatstroke, fibromyalgia, strains, sprains, and muscle spasms.

 

There are several theories that may explain why this ancient technique works: gua sha increases blood flow (microcirculation) in the soft tissue, potentially stimulates the body’s natural pain-relieving opioid systems, and it may block the pain response pathways so you feel pain relief.

 

Some view gua sha as folk medicine, but the scientific research community may beg to differ! Researchers from institutions like Harvard and Beth Israel Medical Center are demonstrating both efficacy as well as offering insight on why gua sha works. A study published in a 2011 edition of Pain Medicine demonstrated that gua sha decreased pain for chronic neck pain sufferers, noting that “neck pain severity after 1 week improved significantly better in the gua sha group compared with the control group (heat therapy).”

Acupuncture Facial: The New Facelift?

Is an acupuncture facial the new facelift?

In facial rejuvenation acupuncture another form of cosmetic acupuncture the goal of an acupuncture facial is to eliminate wrinkles and muscle tension that may be causing facial lines.   Needles are put into acupuncture points that stimulates the body’s natural energies, called Qi.

What is Qi?

Qi  is an active principle forming part of any living thing.  Qi is translated as being life energy, energy flow or life force.   Qi is the central underlying principle in traditional Chinese medicine.

English: Acupuncture needles. Deutsch: Akupunk...

English: Acupuncture needles. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What does it feel like?  How does it lift the facial muscles and soften wrinkles?

There can be a faint pinching or pricking feeling when needles are inserted into certain areas of the face but the feeling quickly goes away. You are usually left feeling a slight warmth or tingly sensation rolling on the face.  There is no definitive research on the benefits of facial acupuncture.  However that feeling could be the result of an increase in Qi (energy) and Xue (blood) to the area. The needles are supposed to be causing “micro-irritation” under the skin, which helps to reduce wrinkles.  While reducing muscle tension and causing the facial muscles to tighten making the face look firmer and helping to ease certain facial contractions.  A needle penetrating the dermis creates damage making the body respond by producing collagen.

How much does it cost?  How Many treatments will I need?  What it can not do?

The result is subtle with about 30% of the result you would see from a conventional face lift.  It does not stop the movement of the facial muscles that creates lines like Botox can.  Nor can it tighten or even out the skin as surgery or injectable fillers (such as Restylane) can.  You will need a series of 10 to 16 sessions; this not a one visit treatment; (every week or twice a week) with monthly follow-up sessions for maintenance.    Each session costs approximately $125-$200.

How do I pick an Acupuncturist?

When choosing an acupuncturist for  facial rejuvenation look for someone who not only has training in this area, but who has graduated with a master’s degree from an accredited Oriental medicine school and passed the national board examinations. The National Certification Commission of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine is a good place to start and also check to make sure is he or she is licensed in your state.  This not for everyone although acupuncture has been used to help people with migraines, seizure disorders, or high blood pressure, for example, they are probably not good candidates for cosmetic acupuncture.   If you are thinking about having this procedure done ask for a consultation first to make sure that you can have the treatment.  Acupuncture facials are a good choice for people who do not want more drastic procedures.

What are Wrinkles?

Wrinkles are a by-product of the aging process. As we age, the cells of the skin divide slower and slower, and the dermis of the skin, begins to thin. The network of elastin (the elastic protein found in connective tissue which causes skin to stretch) and collagen fibers (proteins in the skin, which support the skins structure), loosen and unravel.  Which then causes depressions on the skin’s surface. With aging, skin also loses its elasticity making it harder to retain moisture.  Oil-secreting glands become less productive and the skin heals at a slower rate.   All of these factors contribute to the creation of wrinkles.

 

Disclaimer

While I’ve attempted to use credible sources for information, this is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice or treatment. If there is a disparity between the information presented within this blog and the advice given by your medical professional, please follow the medical professional’s advice as he/she will know you and your medical circumstances.
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