What is Ayurveda?
Ayurveda is the centuries-old science of natural medicines. It originated in India over 5,000 years ago and has been revered for remedies that focus on the root cause of physical and emotional ailments (as opposed to the symptoms). So - what does Ayurveda mean? Literally, Ayur = life, Veda = science or knowledge. Ayurveda combines powerful botanicals, yoga and lifestyle modifications to treat our modern afflictions. We love to incorporate these practices into our daily beauty routines - as we truly believe glowing skin comes from a combination of lifestyle and incredible skincare factors. Using Inner Glow, our powerful botanical face oil, and incorporating these practices has helped us reveal brighter, youthful and healthy skin. We had the pleasure of meeting with Shrankhla Holecek, the founder of UMA oils, and Ayurvedic medicine connoisseur, who helped us understand these incredible practices and their benefits.
What is Practiced:
How: Dry brushing is when you use a natural-bristle brush to gently but firmly brush your skin in long strokes towards your heart, going over each area 2-3 times, and at your belly, brushing in a clockwise motion. Typically, you would then shower to remove any dead skin, and follow with a very nourishing body oil, this is one of our current favourites. It should be practiced daily.
Benefits: The benefits include the removal of dead skin cells/exfoliation, revealing softer skin. It can also aid with the appearance of cellulite by mobilizing and distributing fat deposits under the skin. It can even aid with our immune system as it stimulates the lymphatic system, which is responsible for destroying bacteria, toxins and waste. Here is one of our favourite dry brushes.
How: This is a widely popular practice in India, and Shrankhla was astonished to find how difficult it was to find one in America. You simply stick your tongue out, and gently drag the scraper from the back to the tip of the tongue (only in one direction). Remove the debris after each scrape and repeat 2-3 times per area. Make sure to clean and store it properly to avoid bacteria growth. While you might think your toothbrush is doing the job, some studies have shown that a tongue scraper removed 30% more volatile sulphur compounds on the tongue than a toothbrush.
Benefits: Tongue scraping removes bacteria - a 2005 study showed it reduced the overall incidences of bacteria that are known to cause bad breath and dental decay. This helps to prevent cavities and gum disease. It is said to gently stimulate the internal organs, and can also enhance the sense of taste and appearance of the tongue.
Ghee in your Belly Button:
How: this is definitely one of the most shocking practices, but it is said to be highly effective. According to Ayurveda, the navel is the focal centre of the body - and it is connected to important organs. Applying ghee to the belly button is said to banish dry lips! Apply about a tablespoon of ghee inside the bellybutton and leave overnight (apply a cotton pad and bandage over it to avoid staining your pyjamas or sheets).
Benefits: plump, hydrated lips
We talk about facial massage a lot, and for good reason! Facial massages are extremely popular in India, and are practiced daily. They can either be performed with a tool (read our breakdown here), or with you hands (watch our tutorial here).
Ayurvedic medicine also believes everyone has a Dosha - Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. Doshas are biological energies that are said to outline why we may prefer cold to hot drinks, or how we express our anger or stress. Each Dosha has an outline of how best to treat your ailments - such as what foods to consume more of or avoid. Online dosha tests, like this one, are actually quite accurate. Check out your dosha and how you should be adapting to it! Shrankhla told us that you can actually have numerous doshas, but you will always have one in power, and depending on what your symptoms are, you can asses which dosha is out of balance and how to rebalance it.