dreamstime_3955605At the YinOva Center we take issue with the old adage that “beauty is only skin deep”. Chinese medicine sees beauty as a reflection of the state of someone’s whole body. Radiance comes from a strong, vibrant spirit, good nourishment and enough rest. The holistic nature of Chinese medicine lends itself to the notion that beauty comes from within. Now, don’t get me wrong, I love beauty products. My bathroom is full of nice smelling creams and potions and I can spend hours, and a small fortune, in a shop like Space NK. I’m not about to give up my Western cosmetics, but by looking at my body from an Eastern perspective I came up with the following beauty tips.

Give your liver a break

When patients come to me with skin problems I usually start by helping their liver to work better. Our blood is responsible for transporting nutrients, toxic wastes, as well as oxygen. The liver makes sure that the blood remains clean. If our livers are sluggish then they don’t do their job properly and the blood becomes full of excess toxins. If this happens the blood will depend on the skin to help with toxin elimination. Attempting to “push” toxins out through the skin can cause rashes and other skin problems to develop. So the key to healthy skin is to protect your liver so that it can do it’s job. This means limiting alcohol and processed foods and if necessary taking liver cleansing herbs such as milk thistle seed, dandelion root, and schisandra berries.

Look after your hands and feet

dreamstime_7739283There is an old Chinese saying, “a woman’s second face is in her hands” and Chinese women are meticulous about moisturizing and caring for their hands and feet. According to Chinese medicine both the hands and the feet are microcosmic representations of the whole body. As our patients know, many of the most important acupoints are on the hands and feet and stimulating these areas can have a beneficial effect on the whole body. Try to massage moisturizer into your hands and feet every day and treat yourself to a periodic reflexology foot massage or get your loved one to rub your feet at the end of a long day.

Take care of your kidneys

Our kidneys filter waste products and also maintain the correct water balance in our bodies. If they are not working well we feel tired, sluggish, bloated and puffy. In Chinese medicine dark circles under they eyes are a symptom of a kidney imbalance and can be treated by tonifying the kidneys. Ask us to prescribe you a kidney nourishing formula to treat your dark circles. A formula called ming mu di huang wan works particularly well. You can help your kidneys by reducing your salt intake, getting plenty of sleep and eating nourishing whole foods instead of processed foods.

Consider taking an adaptogen herbal formula

yinovablog615Adaptogens are rejuvenating herbs that help the body adapt to stress, support its normal functions, and restore balance. In Eastern medicine there is a long history of using these tonic herbs to promote balance and health. Reishi mushrooms are one of the most powerful adaptogens and have been shown in clinical research to boost the immune system, protect against certain types of cancers, help the liver regenerate, oxygenate the blood, calm the mind and balance blood sugar. Schizandra is another adaptogen that is renowned as a beauty tonic and is considered to be a youth preserving herb. It has been used for centuries to make the skin soft, moist and radiant. Astragalus is a major tonic herb in Chinese medicine. With a sweet taste and warming energy, it has been used to improve resistance to disease, balance body fluids, lower blood pressure and increase stamina. Modern research has shown that astragalus increases production of white blood cells.

Include some pearl powder in your beauty regimen

pearlPearl Powder is made from ground up oyster shell and has been found to contain amino acids which rejuvenate the skin. Asian women have used pearl powder for centuries to keep their skin nourished and healthy looking. In clinical research pearl powder has been shown to soothe inflammation, promote healing and and calm redness and skin irritations. Chinese women take pearl powder internally or apply it topically to make their skin look younger and smoother. Look for the Chinese Pearl Powder called Zhen Zhu Mo. How to use Pearl Powder: 1 tbsp. pearl powder 1 egg yolk 1tbsp. honey. Mix all the ingredients together to make a face pack. Add a small amount of water if necessarily. Apply the mixture to your face for approximately 20 minutes and then rinse thoroughly with lukewarm water. Photographs © Mypokcik | Dreamstime.com © Oneshot | Dreamstime.com
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