India – Ayurvedic principles are the center focus of most Indian beauty rituals (and some of my favorite spa treatments!) Ayurveda is the life philosophy based on the Vedic sciences.
The basic premise of Ayurveda is based on the belief that everything that exists in the external universe, also appears in the internal cosmos of the human body. The human body consisting of 50-100 million cells, when healthy, is in harmony, self-perpetuating and self-correcting just as the universe is. Each person is made up of three ‘doshas’ (Vata, Pitta and Kapha,), which determine physical traits (among other things.) The ultimate goal is to get all three doshas perfectly balanced. It is the dominance of one or more doshas that can cause physical, mental and emotional imbalance. Similar to Chinese medicine, balance equals health.
For more information on this Indian philosophy and practice, read this great little book: Ayuredic Wisdom
The Shirodhara treatment is one example of a traditional Ayurvedic spa ritual and it is commonly copied here in the states. It combines facial, body wrap, massage and scalp treatment all into one meditative, transforming package. Natural spices, herbs and oils are used abundantly to balance the dosha’s – which means that every Shirodhara is customized (usually information is gathered about your lifestyle, physical make-up and preferences in an effort to ascertain your dosha.) The most luxurious and memorable part of the Shirodhara is the hot oil drip on the third eye (middle of forehead). The warmed scented oil drips down the scalp and into the hair, putting you in an almost catatonic state. I dare anyone to stay awake through this treatment!
Indian brides also traditionally used a mixture of turmeric, lemon and honey and chickpeas on their skin to achieve a glowing complexion. Want to copy this pre-wedding skin care treatment at home?
Follow this recipe:
1 can whole cooked chickpeas washed thoroughly and drained
1 teaspoon of honey, preferably organic
juice from half a small lemon
1 banana mashed
tiny pinch of turmeric
- Combine all ingredients into a food processor or blender and mix until a paste is formed
- Apply mixture to face and neck, avoiding the eye area
- Leave on skin for 15-20 minutes, mixture will cake on a bit
- Rinse in shower or over sink thoroughly with warm water
- Apply moisturizer of choice