I recently was reminded about the importance of embracing beauty at every age and how revolutionary of a concept this is when I read a post on Instagram by Rachel Brice - a strong, beautiful, inspiring dance instructor and performer. She was celebrating her 47th trip around the sun and commented that on her search for makeup and skincare for “mature skin” she was recommended, among other atrociously named items, a “wrinkle revenge” product… (Insert jaw drop)
Yes, our skin changes as we age, it becomes thinner, rougher, often drier and hyper-pigmented, even hairier. Absolutely we can use supportive topical products, implement dietary and lifestyle changes, even use acupuncture and specifically facial rejuvenation acupuncture to support the health, longevity, and balance of our skin. (Read more about Facial Rejuvination Acupuncture Here!) However, I refuse to accept that we must take revenge on any part of our body! I refuse to be anti-aging, anti-wrinkle, anti-anything about my body and it’s natural processes - and I encourage you to jump on the refusal bandwagon with me! There is a deep healing that can happen when we shake off the concepts of beauty that have been sold to us and instead create our own definitions of what is is to be beautiful.
My personal definition of beauty includes words like health, function, movement, joy, contentment, connection, laughter, and vitality. When I am not feeling beautiful, it means that I am not nourishing myself in some way. When my skin is dehydrated or rough from too much exposure to sun or wind it looks older and more wrinkled - much like earth looks when it dries up. The solution is often to drink more water and eat nourishing, hydrating foods, avoid too much direct sun, and gently wash and exfoliate the skin before applying nourishing oils like jojoba or rosehip oil. When my eyes are puffy or my skin looks inflamed I turn to my diet - have I been indulging in wine or sweets? Have I lacked sleep and had more coffee than water? Is it allergy season? When my eyes look dull and tired and my lips small and tight, I look at my self care practices - have I spent time with friends, time relaxing, time laughing, or have I been overworking, stressed, grumpy, unsatisfied? When my body feels stiff and tight the remedy is more regular movement - yoga, dance, hiking, swimming - along with looking at how I have been sleeping and fueling my body. When I feel that I have done what I can to create balance and need support, I turn to my acupuncturist to support my personal practices through hands on treatment and Chinese herbs, I turn to my massage therapist to support my body in it’s fluidity and circulation.
My hopes in sharing this is to inspire you to broaden how you think of your beauty regimen. Beauty does not come from a bottle, it comes from within. When we are nourished on the inside - physically, spiritually, and emotionally - we appear more beautiful on the outside. When we are inviting joyful and creative moments, when we are allowing ourselves time to slow down, when we are eating and sleeping well, when we are making time for our friends and family - it is in these moments that our physical beauty will shine it’s brightest no matter our age, wrinkles, spots, dots, or chin hairs!
“A woman is born with a certain amount of life essence and, as she ages, it transforms into wisdom. That is to say, her life culminates in wisdom, not emptiness.”
- Claudia Welch “Balance your Hormones, Balance your Life”
Morning snow fluff turns to chilly afternoon rain, small birds flutter between tree branches and hop under bushes. Underneath that cold dampness of the last bits of winter frost, the earth is singing a new song, notes of lightness and dew and young energy trill out - spring approaches! I am always excited for springtime in Portland, when the cherry blossoms overtake the west-bank waterfront, the tight bundles of rosebuds hinting at the summer bloom, and the scent of daphne is wafting through the air.
Spring carries the energy of transformation, the energy of newness. Springtime encourages us to clear out the old and make preparations for what we want to be harvesting in the coming autumn. Spring is looking forward. Spring says to us “Time to shake off that last bit of winter frost, clear the clutter of decayed foliage, and make way for new sprouts to emerge!”
Portlanders are avid gardeners, many of us will take to the dirt to pull the damp dead weeds, till the soil, and clear the way for new seeds to be planted. Taking a page from mother nature, spring is also a time where we can cleanse our personal worlds - both externally and internally. Many people are familiar with “spring cleaning” and with the gaining ppularity of Marie Kondo and the minimalist movement, and with or without the help of one of these frameworks it can be a great excuse to clear the clutter from our closets and make some donations to local shelters.
More importantly, spring is a great time to cleanse, nourish, and give a little extra attention to our physical body. In many ancient forms of medicine including Ayurveda and TCM, a cleanse is more of a “reset” button for the system, specifically the digestive system, meant to heal and nourish as opposed to scrub clean. While in the warm summer months I am all for the smoothie and raw or juice cleanses, for the cool damp pacific northwest springtime I am a fan of a more warming, nourishing reset such as a kitchari cleanse. Kitchari is a traditional Ayurvedic dish of mung beans or lentils and rice, cooked in a single pot with a little ghee (clarified butter) and spices that support digestion. There are numerous articles and recipes online, I have found the one written by Banyan Botanicals to be both descriptive and delicious!
As you cleanse, taking regular saunas and receiving both acupuncture and regular bodywork can help to support and further detox your body. Chi Nei Tsang massage is a gentle and effective modality for supporting your body before, during, and after a cleanse. Chi Nei Tsang is a form of abdominal and organ massage with roots in both Chinese and Thai medicine as well as Taoist healing practices. CNT was first practiced over a thousand years ago by Taoist monks to help detoxify, strengthen and refine their bodies in order to maintain the energy needed for their spiritual pursuits. The translation of Chi Nei Tsang is "internal organs chi transformation." CNT uses gentle massage, acupressure, and sound healing techniques to support organ function, free stagnation, support circulation, and mobilize the fascial connections between organs. CNT supports the physical, emotional, and energetic bodies through gentle manipulations which focus primarily around the abdomen, pelvis, and thorax.
Our organs are responsible for digestion and assimilation of not only food, toxins, and hormones, but also emotions and experiences. Chi Nei Tsang is a holistic treatment which supports both systemic organ health through direct manipulation of the organs and emotional wellbeing through clearing blockages in the movement of our Chi.
What to expect during your CNT session:
CNT begins with a conversation about your health history and the physical and emotional health issues you want to address. It is best to wear comfortable clothing to your session that can be easily adjusted to reveal your abdominal area, clothing you would wear to a yoga or exercise class is an appropriate option. CNT is performed both directly on the skin of the abdomen and over a thin shirt or sheet, depending on the technique being used. CNT techniques are slow, gentle, and performed with clear communication about what you are feeling physically and emotionally. You may feel deeply relaxed during the treatment and may even fall asleep.
Schedule your Chi Nei Tsang treatment now!