skin health

Discover why knowing your face will make your life better.

I’ve been working with faces in my holistic skin care practice for the past twenty plus years and I know one thing for sure: most of us don’t understand our own face at all.

It’s a sad thing to realize since so much of our attention and effort goes into making our face and skin look its best.  We apply make up everyday, we moisturize and scrub and we get facials but we don’t take the time to actually understand our own face. In pursuit of beauty, we mostly treat our face as if it was one dimensional. 

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In my book, the face is the most fascinating part of ourselves and by getting to know it better, you can develop a more meaningful relationship with yourself and with your beauty.  One that is based on understanding and deeper self knowledge, not just an on-the-surface, one-dimensional interaction.

You see, your face is nothing short of magical. It’s like the universe of you or your very own, ever-evolving piece of art.  It registers and conveys your joys and sorrows, the state of your health and the level of vibrance of your energetic being. The fact is that your face is a great communicator. The question though is are you willing to listen?

Chinese medicine practitioners and Ayurvedic doctors can read your health like a book simply by analyzing your face. The science of Morphology and face reading has your personality all figured out by the shape of your facial features and markings. It’s amazing!

Of course, I’m not going to ask you to become an Ayurvedic doctor so you can read your face. However, there are a few simple yet profound face facts that everyone will benefit from knowing. Why? Simply because if you understand the workings of your face you will no longer look for solutions to your face/skin problems in the wrong places. You will also gain a deeper appreciation for the miracle of your body.

The state of your physical health is expressed in the quality and health of your skin.

This presents itself through changes in skin texture, temperature and colour. 

For example, a person with a tendency to facial redness and inflammation may be prone to excess heat in the body and tendency for inflammatory conditions of the body in general. An over-acidic stomach is often accompanied by redness in specific areas of the face. I see this with my clients all the time.

Congested skin which lacks luster, looks puffy and is cool to the touch often represents a body which is slow, sluggish and congested with poor lymphatic flow. 

Next time when you experience a flare up of acne or skin redness, take a moment to acknowledge its connection to the internal workings of your body. Your skin is talking. Don’t just try to shut it up by using suppressive skin care products. 

The majority of chronic skin problems need to be addressed from the inside and also supported topically with clean plant-based formulas. No skin care product alone will fix your hormonal imbalance or your digestive issues. So please know the limitation of your skin care product and respond to your body’s signals by addressing the root causes. It will save you a lot of money and time that you spend searching for that perfect skin care product.

The state of your emotional health is expressed through patterns of tension in facial muscles and other tissues.

Lines and wrinkles, sad face, happy face… It is true that emotions which you are most attached to are written all over your face. 

There are a few really smart people out there who have devoted their life’s work to this subject. Dr Paul Ekman is my absolute guru when it comes to the relationship between emotions and the engagement of corresponding facial muscles.

 The gist of it is that every single person engages exactly the same facial muscles to express the same emotion. It doesn’t matter if you are from Paris, New York or a little town somewhere in Africa, when you are angry it shows up in your face in the same way. Of course there is nothing wrong with expressing emotions. The problem arises when you get attached to a particular emotion and feel it over and over. 

Let’s say that you feel very sad and disappointed in yourself, your partner or life in general. You are feeling this way not for a week or two but for the past year or maybe five years… as you know this is not uncommon. Some people feel sad and disappointed about something throughout their whole life.

The depressor anguli oris muscle is engaged in expressing this particular emotion. It runs vertically on each side of your mouth. 

If you are feeling sad and disappointed a lot, eventually this muscle becomes chronically tense. As a consequence a few things will happen: restricted flow of vital fluids (blood and lymph) which will contribute to the lack of proper tissue nourishment and accelerated aging, facial symmetry may be disturbed (more tension on one side than the other) and your lip corners will be turning down and that fixed unhappy look becomes a reality… The ‘marionette’ lines are the consequence of chronic contraction of this muscle.

To sum it up, your body, your thoughts and your feelings are all interconnected. In fact, the pattern of muscle tensions in your face is always involved in determining your emotional state. 

If you don’t like the look that you are seeing on your face lately you may want to spend some time with how you are feeling on the inside. It’s amazing how happiness and internal contentment will immediately light up your face.  And don’t be hard on yourself. We are all a work in progress.

Your sacred face

There also is a sacred aspect to your face and head. This is the seat of the vital energy points. In Ayurveda these are called marma points and in Chinese medicine acupoints.

These points are located all over the body (we have a few important ones on our face and head) at anatomical sites where veins, arteries, tendons, bones or joints intersect. They are also said to be the points of connection between our physical and the subtle energetic bodies. These points are connected to specific organs and sights of the body. For example the marma points located on the scalp are connected to the brain and also to the other organs.  

Ayurveda says that, through skilled marma point stimulation we can have an impact on hormonal balance, eye, ear and nose health, emotional balance, memory function, we can relieve headaches and strengthen general vitality of the person. These are just a few examples.

What I have observed in my work is that, through working with the face, people can experience not only states of deep relaxation but also safety and a deep sense of wellness. 

If mindfully acknowledged, the face can also be understood as the entry point or a gateway to deeper self knowledge, the starting point of communication with self.  

As a skin and facial therapist whose practice is devoted solely to treatments of the face I can wholeheartedly say that receiving a deeply nurturing face treatment is a powerful medicine both for you and your skin. The effects of such treatments can be seen on the outside and are definitely felt deep within. 

Now that you are a little bit more familiar with the true nature of your face, please, spend time with it. Touch it. Observe it. Not with your critical eye but with the an eye of wonder and exploration. 

Before you book your next facial and let someone else touch your face, make sure that they too see its magic. Don’t be shy to ask questions to make sure that they are well trained in the holistic arts of face work and that they understand the complexity and dynamic nature of your face. 

Magdalena


Bathing and what you need to know about it.

I love bathing! Nothing feels as good as a nice warm bath on a cold winter’s night. If you live in Canada, you know exactly what I mean. Winter gets cold, dark and long and soaking in a tub filled with warm water is a great thing to do at the end of the day.

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A cup of Epsom salts, a few drops of your favourite essential oil, maybe a good book in your hand and you can hang out in your tub all night long until your hands and feet start shriveling like prunes. I know,  because I’ve done this many times. It feels amazing to experience this relaxation and stress relief that a  tub full of water provides. And sleep always comes easily after a good soak. But if you are like me and love bathing, there are a few important things to consider before you jump into your tub next time.

Number one is the quality of your water. Why? Because while you are enjoying a lovely warm bath, your body becomes like a sponge and soaks up all the good and the ugly from your water.  And this is when chlorine immediately comes to mind.

The city uses chlorine in our water to prevent disease. Chlorine is a  very effective disinfectant, which kills disease-causing pathogens, such as bacteria, viruses, and protozoans, that commonly grow in water supply reservoirs. At the same time, chlorine is very problematic for our health and it’s a nightmare for our skin. An irritant with carcinogenic properties, chlorine is known to cause anything from skin rashes,  respiratory problems, and cancer. It is terrible for our skin and gut microflora which is essential to our health. It may also be surprising to learn that we absorb more chlorine by soaking in a tub than by drinking chlorinated water. It is actually more problematic to our health to absorb chlorine through the skin because while you bathe, chlorine gets directly into your bloodstream bypassing the initial filtration normally done by the liver when we ingest chlorinated water.

Related Post: Your Shower Is A Major Water Hog, Here’s How To Green Your Bathroom

Hot bath water opens skin pores making it easy for chlorine to be absorbed. Inhaling the steam from hot chlorinated water is also dangerous and may cause many respiratory conditions including asthma.

Number two is water sustainability. We are not the only ones on this planet.  We are so frivolous with our water! But water is sacred and should be treated as such. It takes about twenty to twenty-five gallons of water to take a very modest bath and it will take about the same amount of water to take a longer shower.  If you have a big soaker tub,
now we are talking more like 60 gallons. Hopefully, your showers are quick and you are using an eco shower head to preserve your water consumption. And hopefully, you don’t bathe in 60 gallons of water ever!

This is a very serious issue. Saving water is very important for more sustainable consumption of the planet’s resources. Having access to such basic service as drinking water comes without any effort to us but it is important to remember that 783 million people still do not have such access. So don’t ever use more than you truly need!

So in light of this information, should we give up taking a bath altogether?

The answer is no but we must do it way less and in a more mindful way. Start thinking of your bathing as special ritual, a time to cleanse and rest deeply.  Acknowledge that it is a privilege to have access to clean water.  This will become so much more than a simple soak.

Most of us don’t have a filtration system in our house and we must address the
chlorine situation.

There are easy ways to remove chlorine from our bath water through chemical neutralization.

There are several chemical compounds which can remove chlorine from the water. Sodium acorbate powder (a form of vitamin C) is a good solution since it’s easy to obtain and easy to use. You will need to add 1/4 tsp (or 1000 mg) of Sodium Ascorbate into your bath water about 5 minutes prior to bathing, giving it enough time to neutralize chlorine. Sodium Ascorbate will neutralize chloramine, which is also used to treat water and is even more dangerous than chlorine. A Canadian company Santevia makes bath filters which are made with vitamin C and are very easy to use.

Once your water is clear of chlorine and chloramine you can enhance your bath with additional ingredients for beautifying or medicinal purposes.

Adding Epsom salts will up the relaxation effect of your bath and will help to relieve soreness from your muscles.

I love adding oils to the bath, both lipid oils, and essential oils.

1 Tbsp of almond oil with a few drops of genuine lavender essential oil will leave you with lovely soft skin and ready for a deep restful sleep.

Adding oat flakes to the bath water will soothe irritated skin, any itchy rash, sunburn, dry skin, or eczema.  That’s why we run an oat bath for children suffering from chickenpox.
Place a cup of organic oat flakes in a cheese or cotton cloth and tie it with a string.  Throw it in your tub and run just hot water at first so the oat flakes will soften and make their anti-inflammatory properties available.

You can also make an herbal infusion (it’s like a strong herbal tea) with your favourite herbs and add it to your bath water. I love calendula, chamomile or mint.

Soak it up!

There is another important aspect of bathing. If you bathe mindfully it is no longer only about removing dirt from your skin.  It can be a ritual of removing and cleansing of all which does not belong to you anymore. You can mentally let go of unpleasant experiences from your day and release all that weighs you down. It is a simple yet deeply freeing practice which is greatly supported by the healing aspect of water.

Baths can be taken at night and in the morning. Night baths are usually used for relief of nervous and mental tension. They are a relaxation-inducing practice. These baths should last fifteen to twenty minutes. Morning baths are a tonic or a stimulating practice. They are best taken cooler than your night baths and ten minutes will do.

After a bath when your skin is warm and pores are open, it is a great time to apply skin healing oils. In general almond and jojoba are great choices for most. There are many lovely body oils on the market to choose from.

Finally, I want to give you one more suggestion. On a cold winter’s night when your body is chilled and you feel like you can’t warm up, treat yourself to a warm foot bath.

Neutralize the chlorine first with a tiny bit of Sodium Ascorbate. Throw some salts in and maybe add a few drops of sage or eucalyptus essential oil. Immerse your feet in the water and enjoy. You may find that this is as warming as a big tub full of water.

This is an article which I have written for The Eco Hub. You can find it HERE

Magdalena

Your emotional skin.

Our emotions and our skin are closely related. Our skin is actually a highly sensitive responder to emotions and it often reminds us that mind and body are one😀

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Think no further then the last time you felt very embarrassed and your face turned red, or when you felt fear and your skin become pale. And how about that happiness and internal bliss glow?

Clients often share that stress in their life causes flare ups of eczema, rosacea or acne... As much as skin disease can mean viruses, inflammation, bacteria, when we are experiencing a persistent skin condition, emotional component is usually part of the experience. Given close bond between our skin and the nervous system this should be of no surprise.

In short you can say that your skin ‘feels’ for you the very emotions which you choose not to express. It cries, it gets inflamed with anger and it remembers traumatic experiences which took place years back but were never addressed. In a long run, sweeping under the rug never really works ...not even in skincare.


So if you feel that your skin is giving you a hard time and you know that you have done everything you can to help it heal, including proper diet, exercise, good skin care regimen, then it maybe time to examine, how your emotions are contributing to the problem. ...

Magdalena xo

How communism benefits your looks:)

Whenever I go to Poland I  try to find an interesting course to take there. Big chunk of my face massage training comes from Poland and Polish teachers. I was just chatting with someone about this explaining that Eastern Europe has a lot to offer in the area of face massage techniques. This is the case when something great comes out of something challenging. Since Eastern Europe was at one point very behind in matters of technology  (the consequence of communism) people developed amazing skills with their hands:) 

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Massage was always part of healthcare. And I remember that most common health clinics had a massage therapist on staff and doctors would prescribe massage to their patients regularly. A long standing tradition of manual therapies is definitely still very alive in my homeland.

I want to tell you about  the course which I have taken during my last visit.

After all this talk about Eastern European training lol, this one actually originated in Denmark and was created by a wonderful lady, Lone Sorensen. Her organization is very strong in Warsaw and she has two excellent and very devoted teachers offering training in Poland. 

Lone has put together facial reflexology protocols which address both health and beauty. It is a technique based on the neuro-bio-chemical action resulting from the stimulation of an area or point on the face which has a general or partial effect on various areas of the entire body. Facial Reflex therapy is based on seven steps that involve the observation and stimulation of various facial areas.

Lone and practitioners trained with her method do some amazing work around the world. This technique proves very effective in treating all sorts of neurological problems, developmental problems in children, autism, after stroke complications, anxiety, depression, hormonal imbalances, digestive problems, vision problems…. the list goes on. All of this happens through work with your face. It’s pretty amazing! 

What Lone Sorensen observed over the years was that as she worked with the face to improve people’s health the ‘side effect’ of improved skin tone, diminishing of wrinkles and general lifting of the face eventually took place. 

She then developed a protocol for beauty purposes, which also harmonizes body systems. The treatment is complex because all body functions are stimulated and also regulated while facial skin, tissue and muscle are treated. It normalizes the body dysfunctions, which may be the cause of wrinkles, sagging skin, loss of muscle tone, etc.

This is the protocol which I have learned. I believe at this time I am the only one in Ottawa certified in this particular technique. 

I will be continuing the training with Lone Sorensen systems because I trust it offers another dimension to my facial treatments and will ultimately bring more benefit to you, both health and beauty wise:)

Next time you visit, you may notice some new moves in your face massage:) If you are interested to explore this technique with me I will be happy to answer any questions you may have.

I am on a continuous search for beauty through improved health of both body and mind. Will keep on learning...  Thank you for reading!

Love, Magdalena