In Ayurveda, the perception of beauty is not limited to the outer skin and appearance, but the overall well-being of body in the physical, mental and spiritual dimensions. Ayurveda defines beauty as “subhanga karanam” – which means transforming all aspects of your body, mind and soul to the highest level of auspiciousness. Hence beauty is not limited to the mechanical tasks of cosmetic surgeries, facelifts and workouts, but takes a holistic approach to understanding one’s body, its constitution, effects of daily routine and its impact on the physical, mental and spiritual health.
Ayurveda revolves around the concept of Tridoshas- Vata, Pita and Kapha. It is believed that a balance of these doshas helps in leading a healthy life which reflects on the appearance and skin of the body.
Scalp and Hair Treatments:
According to Ayurveda, scalp and head massage with medicated oils is essential to nourish hair and increase circulation and remove dead skin. It also helps in relaxing the mind and nervous system. No wonder in India, women moisturize and massage the head of their husband and children with aromatic oils containing Shankapushpi and Gotu Kola (which are herbs).
The oil for the massage can be customized according to your body constitution. For example, a body predominant with Vata will need almond/sesame oil, Pita will benefit from coconut oil and Kapha will benefit from sesame/olive oil. The Ayurvedic oils are also fortified with hair friendly herbs to make them more effective.
For dry and scaly scalp which leads to dandruff, special packs rich in herbs like amla, shikkakai etc. are applied which lubricate and moisturize the scalp ensuring strong hair follicles. Henna is considered to be a good conditioner and helps prevent hair loss. Henna pack is applied to strengthen the roots and impart a natural coloring which is safer and trendier.
A healthy diet rich in calcium is recommended for quality and bounce in the hair. It is also found that premature greying and hair fall are a result of an unhealthy liver. The diet and herbal medicines are recommended to tackle the deeper problems.
Face and Skin Care Treatments:
A glowing and clear radiant skin is always desirable and appreciated by all. As per Ayurveda, a healthy skin needs cleansing, nourishing and moisturizing. As part of cleansing, a combination of natural ingredients like chickpea flour and milk powder is used. Soap is completely avoided as it is alkaline and harms the skin. The face and body is scrubbed using a thin paste of the above ingredients (called Ubtan) and washed away with warm water.
Abhyanga is a self-massage with a drop or two essential oils in almond oil to nourish the skin and the face. The natural oils are selected depending on one’s body constitution or Prakruthi. For example, Vata skin can use sweet orange or geranium, while Pita skin can benefit from jasmine or sandalwood and Kapha skin would benefit from lavender or bergamot oil. The Abhyanga pacifies the doshas, moisturizes the skin and imparts a luster to the whole body and face. Turmeric, saffron, kunkumadi oil etc. are used to induce a golden glow to the face and the body.
These practices nourish the skin from within and purifies it, thus slowing down the ageing of the skin. Apart from the external purification, Ayurveda recommends internal purification as well. An overtaxed liver loaded with toxins and impurities in the blood may affect the skin. Similarly, an exercise routine, stress-free living and ample amount of sleep are equally important for glowing beautiful skin. Ayurveda provides guidelines to take care of these dimensions which include yoga, diet and herbal intake.
Eye care Treatments:
Eyes are a direct indication of the health of a person. Hence keeping the eyes healthy and beautiful is important.
As part of relaxation and cooling, cotton pads are dipped in rosewater and placed on the eyes. Triphala is mixed into a glass of water and left overnight. This mixture is strained and the water is used to wash the eyes.
Local treatment procedures like Seka, Trapana, Pindika etc. are beneficial in improving the vision and strengthening of the eyes. In these treatments, medicaments which include certain concoctions, oils and ghee are directly, but gently poured into the eyes and sometimes made to remain in a well formed around the eyes for a specified period.
Regarding diet, vegetables like carrots and greens rich in carotenoids and vitamin A are included. Also, butter, milk, green peas, cabbage are beneficial. Herbs like turmeric, Indian gooseberry, licorice and thriphala are recommended as a daily intake.
Hand and Foot Care Treatments:
To relax your feet and in turn the whole body, Ayurveda recommends a herbal foot bath as the first measure. A tub filled with warm water will stimulate the feet and soften the skin. A variety of herbs and natural oils are added to this water to relax the feet with aromatherapy, which also improves circulation and helps in revitalization.
After the foot bath, a gentle yet firm massage with aromatic oil is beneficial. It starts with your toes and gently moves up, massaging in a circular motion. This moisturizes, improves circulation and also helps in detoxification.
Hands are one of the main body parts which show signs of ageing very quickly. Hence it is important to pamper and nourish them. The hands are soaked in herbal infusion with turmeric, aloe vera, sandalwood oil etc. to relax, lighten and soften them. A herbal exfoliater is used to remove rough skin and improve circulation. A hand massage with essential oils like sandalwood oil helps ease away stress and fatigue. The massage also moisturizes the hands making them fresh and revitalized.
Body scrub: A body scrub helps to remove the dead, rough and dark skin off your body and removes the tan. It makes you feel fresh and rejuvenated with a layer of soft and supple skin. Scrubbers are natural substances which have a scrubbing property and also detoxify the skin due to their medicinal properties. The scrubber opens up the pores which otherwise may lead to acne and pimples. Apart from this, the scrubbing action increases blood flow in the body. Different kinds of scrubbers are used, like roots of herbs, salt, white sesame and yogurt scrub, etc.
Body Wraps: Body wraps are another way of relaxing and rejuvenating your body. There are various kinds of wraps like mud wrap, herb wrap etc. which have umpteen medicinal and healing properties like detoxification, hydration, skin tightening etc.
Ayurveda is all about a harmonious life achieved by a lifestyle that is balanced at the physical, mental and spiritual level. Beauty and wellness involve right diet, proper breathing, use of essential oils and herbs suited to your body constitution and ample rest. This leads to a healthy body, a peaceful mind and a beautiful glow!