From kansa wands and gua sha massage to vitamin infusions, Beauty Editor Lisa Tristram investigates the best new natural beauty therapies.
This intriguing facial massage technique has a long history in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). It means 'to scrape' (gua) 'red' (sha), because it involves drawing a scraping tool made from jade or rose quartz across the skin, which creates a blushing effect. This boosts the circulation of blood and lymph, helping your system to release stagnant toxins. The tool is shaped in a way that follows the curvature of your face, and it definitely doesn't feel as harsh as it sounds – in fact, it's highly soothing and relaxing, and it gives your complexion a real glow. Find it: Buy a gua sha tool ($39.95) or have a gua sha facial at Brisbane's Kindred Toxin Free Facials. www.kindredtoxinfreefacials.com.au
Long used in Ayurvedic beauty traditions, a kansa wand is a small, hand-held wooden tool with a bronze, domed head, which is used to massage the face using natural oils. The technique is said to calm inflammation and remove puffiness by moving excess Pitta (an Ayurvedic dosha, or constitution, which signifies heat and acidity) out of the body. It also improves circulation and tones skin's musculature, which has a knock-on effect of smoothing out wrinkles and lifting sagging skin; it can also help with acne and hormonal breakouts by restoring cellular function. The wands come in different sizes, for use on different areas of the body. Find it: Buy a wand ($50.00) or find a salon to have a kansa facial at www.awecosmeceuticals.com.au
If you're not needle-phobic, then a 'Skin Lightening Cocktail' containing high doses of glutathione and vitamin C could be just what the doctor ordered. Glutathione is made in the liver and it is needed for skin and hair health as well as organ function and hydration levels, but production slows as we get older. Vitamin C is essential for production of collagen, the 'cement' that supports skin and keeps it toned and firm. The advantage of this infusion technique is that it increases absorption of these nutrients to 90 percent, compared with around 50 percent if they are taken as supplements via the mouth and digestive system. Some research also supports the use of vitamin C infusions for cancer patients, as this improves their immune function. The treatment takes 45 minutes, and can entail side effects of feeling light-headed or skin flushing. Find it: Irefresh ($220.00) www.irefresh.com.au
The idea of having needles in your face may seem confronting, but people who try this 5000-year-old TCM technique invariably report on how relaxing it is – even going to sleep while it's being done. Facial acupuncture is non-invasive and non-surgical, and it is said to work by stimulating blood circulation, toning soft tissue, and improving the flow of qi (energy) along the body's meridians, especially those for the Stomach, Gallbladder, Spleen, Liver, and Kidneys, so treatment also has powerful effects on reducing stress and rebalancing hormone levels. Practitioners claim success in treating acne and scarring and in reducing sagging skin, especially the jowls, cheeks and eyelids. Find it: Cosmetic Acupuncture, www.cosmeticacupuncturemelbourne.com.au
Yep, more needles! But unlike those used in acupuncture which penetrate all the way in to the intramuscular layer under the skin, micro-dermal rolling involves a little roller with tiny needle points over the head, as small as 0.1mm to 0.3mm, which you roll over your face. The theory behind it is that whenever we create an injury to the skin, no matter how microscopic, a wound-healing response is initiated and all the precious input required for regenerating the skin rushes to the site, to boost collagen and support elastin. No wonder many natural beauty brands are advocates of this therapy - it's a far less invasive way of improving skin tone and appearance than going under the knife or having laser therapy. The micro-needling roller is used in conjunction with a highly nutritive serum or moisturising oil containing ingredients like vitamin C and plant-based polyphenols which help to counter damage caused by the micro-dermal stress to the skin. Plus, it's an easy technique to use at home. Find it: Buy micro-dermal rollers ($59.95) at Mukti Organics. www.muktiorganics.com
Lisa Tristram, aka The Natural Skin Expert, is an aromatherapist and mentor, writer and speaker in the natural spa, beauty and wellness industry. www.lisatristram.com