Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) can be dated back more than 4,000 years. Most of us know the benefit of receiving a deep tissue massage to release that deep sensation of aches, pain and strain.
Well cupping therapy, using suction cups over the body is less known in the west. This is a deep tissue massage/release on steroids!
Of late, celebrities and athletes have been photographed sporting the distinctive marks of circular post treatment cupping which has sparked curiosity in the media.
TCM cupping is a highly effective method of freeing up pain and stagnation, increasing the free flowing of qi and circulation, promoting health, well being and beauty!
Cupping therapy can be applied all over the body to assist the release of toxins and increase flexibility. It even treats cellulite - yes that right!
We highly recommend a very experienced TCM practitioner in Brockley - Ms Bichun Liu.
Bichun is a rare jewel to have on our shores! she is trained in the Zhi Ya style of Chinese body work, which is a renowned Traditional Chinese Therapy, highly regarded in China.
Check her out: www.heat-massage.co.uk
Nutrition, never could there have been a time in our history where choosing what to eat has been more confusing? Are we to believe government guidance and policy? Does virgin coconut oil deserve to be demonised and why can't we pronounce the chemical ingredients on low fat foods that have a healthy for your heart sticker on them?
Oh! Because we aren't pharmacists.
I'm not a dietitian or a nutritionist so I won't masquerade as one. I believe there's innate common sense in our bodies. That we all know deep down about nutrition,. About what food makes us feel good and what food lowers our energy after we have eaten it. We don't need qualifications in nutrition to know that if you eat something that has ingredients you can't pronounce and has a shelf life beyond your own lifespan...that isn't actually food, it's just pretending to be.
Michel Pollen is a food author who's books 'In defence of food' and 'Food rules' are a well balanced read if you are looking for a scrap of clarity amongst all the nutritional noise. To quote him directly: "Eat (real) food, not to much, mainly vegetables and don't eat anything your grandmother wouldn't recognize as food". Michael is a living legend. If you're interested in your well being and embodying radiant skin, I urge you and all my clients, to have an honest inventory of your daily diet and assess if you have the energy levels, health and skin integrity that you are happy with.
Extreme nutritional choices that work for one person may not work for another. I've met vegans who swear that their radiant skin is a result of their diet and I know high fat - ketogenic and bone broth enthusiasts that swear the same. Who is correct? Everyone is! Claim your inner nutritionist, follow what feels best for your body, ignore the fads, exercise common sense, eat yummy veggies every day, live well and with vitality.
In today’s society everyone knows that smoking has nothing to offer your health. The free radicals ingested from smoking cigarettes interfere with collagen's ability to build structure in the skin and breaks down the skin's ability to repair itself. Hence a slower skin healing response can be evident in smokers. Smoking can put you on a fast train to increased facial wrinkling and an overall tired lack lustre skin complexion.
The very act of smoking encourages the consistent use of the muscle movement around the mouth which encourage the formation of smoker's lines. The pursed lips can be a total give-away of a smoker with lines that bleed lip stick and dramatically age a person.
It’s no surprise that smoking decreases the blood flow oxygen concentration. When our skin has less oxygen and an increase of free radicals in the circulating blood our skin suffers and no topical cream can miraculously turn that around. If you really want a glowing complexion and radiant health ditch the cigarettes, seek advice from your GP as help with stopping smoking is free.
Sunshine can lift our mood, ensure we cultivate vitamin D and put a spring in our step. Having small, frequent exposure to sunlight is health promoting but too much ultraviolet exposure can cause complications such as premature ageing.
When UV rays make contact with our skin they stimulate melanin. Melanin protects us from UV damage and when melanin is stimulated by UV rays we tan. An excess of UV will lead to sun burn. Sunburn and repeated exposure to UV light damages our skin and cause it to age prematurely this includes an increase in wrinkles, deepening of wrinkles and a leathery texture to the skin that ages people. This may be observed with residents of countries with a lack of ozone and is also seen with those who use sun beds excessively.
When it comes to premature ageing caused by UV rays, prevention is better than cure. But its never to late to prevent further damage: use a high factor broad spectrum sunscreen daily. If you really want to be tanned for a special event try bronzing with sunless tanning products DIY or try a spray tan. You can get a golden glow without looking tangerine, the spray tan world has come on a long way with it's products.
Sugar is insidious. It is so laced into our food, palate and culture these days that unless you become a nutrition detective it’s hard to really know just at what level sugar has infiltrated our daily lives. Sugar greatly impacts our health, well being and our looks.
You may have only ever considered sugar as a treat or perhaps measured it's use calorifically - it’s impact solely on calories in versus calories out. If you scrape the surface ever so gently though, it’s not hard to find just how the rise of sugar in our diets has become excessive, carrying with it a host of diseases and health complications.
Glycation is a chemical reaction in which sugar molecules attach themselves to collagen fibres in our bodies (bonding AGE's) and cause them to loose elasticity and strength. This leads to an acceleration of ageing skin, wrinkles and sagging folds. This reaction that sugar demonstrates in our bodies can also be seriously damaging our health.
Most degenerative diseases are impacted by disease producing glycation reactions such as diabetes, heart disease, cancer and Alzheimer’s. You don’t need to look hard just study the research by looking at our history of health and what happened when sugar was introduced to communities that had previously only been exposed to the sweet stuff infrequently and in minute amounts.
If your well being and your appearance are paramount to you, consider a look at your sugar intake which also includes the high glycemic foodstuffs. Making changes to your daily diet may be the push that your beauty regime was waiting for.
As you are no doubt already aware exfoliation assists in the removal of dead cells on the outer layer of the skin. Regular exfoliation increases blood circulation and encourages the growth of new skin cells helping us acquire glowing skin.
Exfoliation additionally helps to target congested clogged pores, drawing out toxins and freshening up skin health preventing ingrown hairs.
If your skin is dehydrated and you have dry flaky patches, exfoliation can remove the dead skin layers. If you use exfoliation products with a high moisture content it simultaneously smooths and moisturises your skin.
In most cases exfoliating several times a week keeps our skin in tip top shape.
In our product range we use mineral rich sea salt for our body exfoliation polish base but for the face we use a finer blend made with a sugar scrub base. If you can, try and have two exfoliation scrubs because our facial skin needs are more sensitive.
A simple facial blend to make at home; combine coconut oil, fine sugar & a soothing essential oil like ylang-ylang. Combine ingredients and exfoliate the face, in small circles with your fingertips after cleansing, rinse and pat dry until the oil content suits your moisturising needs.
When we skin brush, we encourage the lymphatic system to cleanse the body and rid itself of toxic build up. Applying only gentle sweeping strokes can encourage the discharge of metabolic wastes which can be absorbed from chemicals found in unnatural soaps, moisturisers and antiperspirants.
Dry brushing increases the blood circulation and stimulates the lymphatic system, helping it drain and circulate. Dry brush massaging, gently over the limbs moving in the direction towards the heart, can break down toxins in cellulite, decongest congested skin, and smooth and exfoliate the skin.
To commence dry brushing, do purchase a natural bristled brush. These vary in price greatly. There’s really no need to spend a lot on the brush and a well made one can last you years.
Always dry brush your dry skin before you bathe or shower. Brush your entire body with long sweeping strokes starting from the soles of your feet upwards, in this direction to help drain the lymph towards the heart. To get started you can follow a lymphatic map. This is a stimulating, cost effective and easy beauty regime to perform at home.
Nothing can quite compare to a good night's quality sleep. The health benefits are enormous and the effect it has on your radiance and beauty outshine anything you can apply topically!
Getting enough quality sleep on a regularly basis allows our bodies to repair and recover. The aesthetic benefits can include a lessening of fine lines and wrinkles. This is due to the body's ability to build collagen which gives our skin the support and structure to prevent fine lines. Well being and radiant skin can come to the fore, as resting during slumber allows our bodies circulation to flow and nourish the skin.
Another sign of a well rested person is their clear sparkling eyes with no trace of puffiness and a lack of dark under eye circles. Sleep deprivation only increases these symptoms with a lack of circulation. Obviously there are other reasons that may cause puffiness and dark circles but getting a good night’s kip might help reduce these symptoms.
As we mentioned, skin health relies on good circulation which carries nutrients adding nourishment to it’s formation and maintenance and this applies also to our hair. In order for our mane to be in tip top shape, giving the hair follicles the best nutrients for growth and lustre, we need to combine a healthy sleep regime along with a good diet.
Prioritising sleep not only benefits our physical bodies but our emotional well being and mental health too.
Using a daily moisturiser from top to toe is essential for soft radiant skin. I find the best ones are completely natural ; mango butter, avocado oil, coconut oil, camellia oil, and cocoa butter to name my top 5. In my whipped body butters I include a mixture of these in differing quantities. If you have access to these butters and oils include them in your daily regime.
I'm going to focus primarily on virgin coconut oil. It’s easily obtained and a little goes a long way. I never truly understood the power of moisturising until I met my beautiful Polynesian hula dancing cousins at a family reunion. Their skin just glowed and I had never seen just how smooth skin could look before.
In Tahiti as regular as housework there’s a tropical beauty regime dedicated to skin health. Once per week a thin application of flower infused virgin coconut oil is massaged through the hair and from top to toe all over the skin as a beauty treatment. My family say they go about their housework and after a few hours they head to the shower to wash it off. They moisturise everyday with coconut oil but this prolonged coconut oil treatment is undertaken on a weekly basis.
Coconut oil is a remarkable moisturiser. It has anti-ageing properties because of it's antioxidant content of Vitamin E which acts as protection for skin cells. Coconut oil contains clinically proven antiviral properties. This is due to it content of 3 fatty acids: capric acid, lauric acid and caprylic acid.
A beautiful moisturiser with natural healing properties.
Maintaining hydration is not only important for overall health but it assists with digestion and circulation. If our digestion is working optimally we can take nourishment from our food. If our circulation is working well our bodies circulate nutrients and hydrate the skin so it is both fed and watered.
Skin is our largest organ, its made up from cells and as we know, cells are made up with water both intracellular and extracellular. If you are dehydrated your skin will suffer and become dry. Skin that is not adequately hydrated will have less plumpness and resilience leading it more prone to wrinkling.
Water is a number one essential beauty product. We naturally lose large quantities of water everyday, so it’s important to maintain hydration throughout the day. By staying hydrated we keep our skin cleansed and toned.
Our bodies naturally fill the intracellular and extracellular fluid of our cells with water to make them firm and tight, thus reducing the appearance of wrinkles for a smoother toned skin. Radiant skin is hydrated skin.
How much water? Experts recommend 2.5 litres a day, that is about 8 glasses, but as all bodies are different, you will need to find what hydration level works best for you.