Anyone who likes my page on Facebook will know that I recently qualified in a facial treatment called Eastern face massage, a deeply relaxing and gentle facial massage also known as a natural face lift. Eastern face massage has its roots in an ancient, Indian medicinal system called Ayurveda, which is believed to be around 5000 years old. I was taught this massage by the lovely Liz who runs Delicate Touch Therapy school in Glenrothes (highly recommended!) and Liz herself was taught this treatment whilst she was visiting Sri Lanka. It’s so great that she has brought back this truly authentic massage treatment to teach to her students.
So, what is Ayurveda? Well, Ayur means LIFE and veda means KNOWLEDGE and the Ayurvedic system believes that health problems occur when our mind, body and spirit are out of balance. It is an ancient and holistic approach to health and well-being based on three energies, or doshas, which make up each and every one of us in differing proportions. Each dosha contains the five elements that make up the natural world: space, air, fire, water and earth however each has a primary element:
VATA – Air and space
PITTA – Fire and water
KAPHA – Water and earth
Ayurvedic practitioners believe that the state of our health depends on the three doshas working in harmony together. The ratio of each of the doshas that give us our unique blueprint makes up our Ayurvedic constitution and once you know this, you can work out your current state of balance and find recommendations to optimal health based on the Ayurvedic system. To truly work all this out you would need to visit an Ayurvedic practitioner (there are some in Scotland) however a quick Google will get you a ‘What’s your dosha?’ test if you are interested. I did one and I am a pitta dosha, which has to be said, did describe my body make-up, health and personality pretty accurately!
But back to the massage itself. Eastern face massage uses very gentle, rhythmic ‘press and release’ pulses to stimulate the lymphatic vessels, which are found just under the skin in the face. Unlike your circulatory (blood) system which has the heart, the lymphatic system that drains away excess tissue fluid does not have a pump and therefore relies on muscle movement, or massage, to get the fluid moving (this is why your ankles and feet can swell up if you sit for too long). Fluid retention can be caused by factors such as genetics, a high salt intake, dehydration, alcohol and smoking - all of which can cause puffiness in the face, particularly around the eyes. In fact, dehydration is a greater issue as we get older as our bodies expel more water with age. Eastern face massage helps combat facial fluid retention by manually pumping the lymphatic fluid in such way that it drains from the face, reducing the appearance of any swelling or puffiness.
Eastern face massage also stimulates blood flow to the area being treated. Blood contains oxygen and as more oxygen is being brought to the skin new cell growth is stimulated and existing cells nourished. This helps to reduce the appearance of existing fine lines and wrinkles and prevent the formation of new ones. It will also give you a nice glowing complexion as if you have been on your holidays!
What I love most about this treatment is that not only does it work on the physical appearance of the skin, it is also fabulous for health issues and is relaxation heaven! Truly Ayurvedic and holistic, it works to harmonise the body, mind and spirit. Massage is known to encourage the release of endorphins – the body’s ‘feel-good’ hormone. Endorphins induce an almost euphoric state within us, similar to that of morphine. This in turn reduces any feelings of stress, anxiety or depression and diminishes our perception of pain. Eastern face massage can help with the discomfort and pain of sinus blockage, help to reduce stress headaches or migraines and, as with any relaxation massage, is an excellent option if you have any difficulty sleeping.
Each time I have given this treatment to a client they have almost floated out of the door with glowing skin in a dreamy haze of post-massage bliss! Helped, of course, by the wonderful scalp massage that is included as part of the treatment.
Hope to see you soon!