How to Achieve Radiant Skin with Oriental Medicine

Picture credit: COMO Shambhala Estate.

By Nancy Kim, COMO Shambhala Estate in Bali

Achieving smooth, supple, and glowing skin is not attained simply by slathering products on — it starts from within. And the basic steps towards having good skin is to cultivate good habits such as drinking plenty of water, including healthy fats and richly-coloured plants in our diets, and using all natural and chemical free soaps and moisturisers. Doing these will help you have great-looking skin, no matter what age you are.

Once you have gotten the basics down, take your skin to another level of radiance with the following five tips that have been derived from traditional Oriental Medicine:

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1. Dry skin brushing

When the skin is overrun with dead cells and a build-up of toxins, it is unable to eliminate and detoxify itself. To aid the process, exfoliate all parts of your body by dry brushing your skin with a body brush made with natural bristles.

Begin at the outermost parts of the body (hands and feet) and brush towards the heart to stimulate the lymph system and to increase circulation. By gently invigorating the skin and body’s meridians with this daily pre-shower routine, you are moving the body’s surface qi to cleanse the skin as well as to benefit digestion, kidney function, and internal organs.

2. Avoid foods that cause phlegm

Many of us have been told while growing up to avoid ice cold food and drinks, or too many sweets as they can disturb digestion. According to Oriental Medicine, when we consume excess raw salads, ice cream, cold smoothies, dairy, fried and oily foods, and sugary-sweets, we run the risk of accumulating phlegm within the body which can lead to acne, cysts, nodules, or small bumps on the skin. As it turns out, most of those suggestions are sound, so clear your diet of the above foods for at least four to six weeks. Eat plenty of cooked vegetables, some low-sugar, high-fibre fruit, high quality ethically-grown, hormone-free meats, and natural probiotic rich foods like kimchi, sauerkraut, or coconut kefir. Your digestion as well as your skin will transform.

3. Look for skin products that contain pearl

Pearl has traditionally been used as a topical agent for skin ulcers and is said to clear the skin, soften and refine texture, whiten and treat discolouration from the sun, and offer radiance. It is also often used as an exfoliator to remove dead skin cells and clear pores. As Oriental Medicine considers pearl to be a cold ingredient, it is best used to combat conditions due to heat, which are indicated by redness, swelling, heat, and possibly pain.

4. Bone broth

Want an elixir for youthful skin? Try traditional bone broth. Bone broth is made from the bones of healthy animals, vegetables, herbs and spices and boiled to result in a flavourful stock full of skin-saving ingredients. It contains collagen, the protein found in the skin and other connective tissues. As we age, reduction in collagen production, as well as damaged collagen, results in wrinkles, sagging skin, thinning of the skin, and skin that is slow to heal.

Aside from collagen, bone broth is mineral rich and it has a soothing effect for acne, eczema, and other inflammatory skin conditions. It’s also full of other anti-aging ingredients like amino acids such as glycine, which aids the liver in detoxification, and glycosaminoglycans, which are important for maintaining joint health.

5. Strengthen your lungs

Oriental medicine believes that lungs tell the condition of your internal body. Your lungs disperse nutrients through the body, and they control the opening and closing of pores, allowing your body to excrete waste products.

Strengthen your lungs by breathing oxygen-rich air in a green natural setting, using your diaphragm and proper posture to breathe deeply. If you happen to be a smoker, quitting smoking helps. When your body is properly inhaling oxygen and exhaling carbon dioxide, your body’s cells regenerate and allow you to achieve optimal fat loss, get improved sleep and be less stressed — this is the formula for beautiful skin from the inside out.

Nancy Kim is the oriental medicine consultant at the COMO Shambhala Estate in Bali. She is a US Nationally certified and licensed acupuncturist and holds a Master’s of Science degree in Oriental Medicine from Pacific College in San Diego, California. She has a special interest in helping women to master the needs of their body during each changing stage of life, helping to empower them by improving health and preventing disease. For more information on the oriental medicine programme at the COMO Shambhala Estate, click here.

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