Ayurveda has it's only special take on skin conditions. Skin is a window into the health of the system. It is said that there is always a spiritual or karmic component. This can be hard to understand, especially in the West where the notion of karma and life cycling are not second nature. The reason for this connection (between skin and spirit) traces back to Ayurvedic anatomy.
The qualities of rasa and rakta (circulatory system) have the greatest impact on skin health. The vessels that they travel in are the highway of the heart. Symbolically these tissues carry the messages from the centre of our truth. The metaphysical always leaves a biology imprint through our patterns. Matter follows energy.⠀
Vata skin disorders tend to be rooted in patterns that deplete rasa giving rise to dry flaky skin and deep seated skin disorders with a nervous system imbalance. This violates the truth of essential right to existence. To break the pattern there is a need to counter the mistruth that they are undeserving of a home (root, chakra 1 injury) by grounding nourishing foods and practices that allow rehoming.⠀
Pitta skin disorders tend to be rooted in patterns that congest the liver and spleen like intensively charged emotion or toxicity (food, drugs and emotional). The liver and spleen work in conjunction with the bone marrow (majja) to filter the blood of pathogens and defective blood cells. If these pathways are congested then the blood itself becomes toxic (sour) and the capacity to carry oxygen + nutrients (aka life, metabolic power, agni) is weakened. To break the pattern deep seated suppressed (+toxic) emotions need to be released, usually by redirecting energy from chakra 3 (solar plexus) to chakra 4 (heart). ⠀
Kapha skin disorders tend to be rooted in patterns of over-eating, or using food as a substitute for a lack of sensory experience (adventure, love, passion, risk etc). This thickens rasa and clogs mucosal linings. To break the pattern the fear of feeling and doing needs to be overcome usually by connecting heart chakra to the centre of will (chakra 5) or by charging chakra 3. ⠀
There are, of course, many other causes of skin imbalances and any combo of doshas can be involved. The one thing in common is the connection back to the heart, where the vessels are the vehicle and skin the window. The heart is the centre of truth, so impurities in this system (at any level) reflect a violation of self (primordial, essential) truth.⠀
Madeleine is MA's skin guru - for her skin conditions are very personal. These are her words:
It wasn’t long ago, March last year in fact, that I walked out of a dermatologist’s office in tears. I was sad for me, sad for my skin, but mostly sad for all those people out there who just do what they’re told and go on Roaccutane for their acne. I cried and cried and cried in my car. I was done. Done with my skin screaming out at me. Done with the years of not knowing what it wanted or what it was saying. I was desperate, vulnerable, and sought "proper" help, and left feeling unheard and pushed out the door. My dermatologist said “you have hormonal acne, these are your options”. I paid $250 for these words, a couple of crazy prescriptions, and a lot of tears. ⠀
My then 26-year-old self knew this was my cross-roads; take Roaccutane and give in, or prove to myself that I could heal my skin holistically. I was raw and tired and wanted to move on with my life, with my skin. I'd been fighting the skin fight since I was a teenager. I knew it would take time and patience when done right, and I knew it was time to throw all my trust into the true Ayurvedic process. Often, we think we are healing, but we are just skirting around the edges. That was me. I had studied Ayurveda, my acne peaked after my time spent in India, and I was practicing (so I thought) the science. Truth was, that I had some incredibly stubborn imbalances that I needed help with, and it was time for me to dig deep and shed some serious light onto them. Our skin goes beyond the foods we eat, herbs we take, treatments we have – I learnt that skin issues really are as our teacher, Dr Bosco, said; so closely tied to our truth. Breach it, and you’ll see it on your skin. ⠀
So, as your Ayurvedic practitioner, don’t think for a second that I haven’t had/have my own battles with imbalances. It’s life. My skin was/is my journey towards total trust. I found my winning wellness mix; the herbs, the treatments, the different modalities. I can honestly say, Ayurveda can help.
Big love, ⠀
If you could do with some advice Mads would love to see you in our Ayurveda clinic.
You can also try this lepa (aka herbal paste) recipe for an at-home, cost-effective natural acne treatment.
2 caps triphala
0.5 teaspoon warm water
To make the lepa
1. Crack the triphala capsules open and pour the powder into a bowl.
2. Add 0.5 teaspoon warm water.
3. Use your finger to mix it into a paste.
4. Apply lepa to pimple.
5. Wait until the lepa starts to dry (max 20mins), and remove it.
If you have thick pimples with lots of paste then let the paste dry out completely. If you have inflammation-prone sensitive skin then remove the paste using a little warm water on a cotton bud before it dries out.
MA // MODERN AYURVEDIC TM
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