Ayurveda: this ancient form of medicine developed in India centuries ago and, to this day, it informs our understanding of health and wellbeing. What’s more, Ayurveda has so much to teach us about skin health. How can a system of healing developed thousands of years ago apply to our modern lives—and the state of our skin? Ayurveda teaches that there are three main constitutions, called doshas. These categorizations help us to understand the way our skin behaves, as well as the tools that help to keep it in balance. Herbs, spices, specific foods, and self-care are some of the primary tools for Ayurvedic therapy, and those tools translate very well to a spa setting. For specific ideas on how your can bring the wisdom of Ayurveda to your skincare regimen or spa, read on for some of the NAA’s favorite suggestions:

Bring Ayurveda into the spa:

  • Spa intake form with a dosha questionnaire. Knowing your client’s dosha can help you understand his or her constitution, which sheds light on everything from sensitivities to strength and weaknesses, and common areas of imbalance. Your clients may not know their own doshas, so a dosha questionnaire can open up a conversation about specific ways to apply Ayurveda to treatments they enjoy.
  • Dosha-specific skin treatments. Once you know your client’s dosha, you can tailor his or her skin treatment with Ayurvedic ingredients and therapies to encourage health and balance. For example, those with a vata dosha may benefit from deeply hydrating facials and extra focus on calming and stress relief.
  • Ayurvedic herb-based skincare. Try Ayurvedic herb-infused oils in your treatments, ayurvedic teas as toners as compresses, and use sesame oil as a carrier oil. Sesame is traditionally used in Ayurvedic practices and benefits most skin types. Keep in mind that Ayurvedic herbs and sesame oil have an aroma that’s not pleasing for everyone, so you may need to add essential oils at 2% concentration or less.  [Never use essential oils for a product to be used around the eyes.]
  • Vastu shastra-inspired decor. Vastu Shastra, “the science of designing buildings in accordance with the laws of nature,” is India’s version of Feng Shui. Adopting the principles of Vastu Shastra in the spa and each treatment room can improve the environment both for the aesthetician/therapist and for the client. Adding Vastu Shastra to your spa can also help set your business apart from your competitors, increase client referrals and retention, reduce workplace stress, and improve overall ambience.
  • Shirodhara. Shirodhara—slowly dripping oil on the “third eye” from a large copper vessel—has been scientifically shown to help people achieve the same state of calmness achieved from meditation, which led to a physiological reduction in stress and anxiety. Consider offering this deeply relaxing therapy as part of an Ayurvedic facial treatment.
  • Gharshana massage. Gharshana massage, a dry massage with no oil, is primarily used for increased lymphatic circulation and breaking up fat deposits in the body. It is often followed by an oil massage called abyhanga that is intended to restore balance to the doshas, and energy, improve the tone and texture of the skin, and help to deliver nourishment to all areas of the body.
  • Ayurvedic nutrition. Incorporating some of the traditionally healing and balancing Ayurvedic foods on your spa menu can help increase the success of your Ayurvedic treatments. Look for teas that contain  tulsi or ashwaganda teas, or create smoothies, broths, or soups that apply Ayurvedic detox principles.
  • Change spa offerings with the seasons. Ayurveda teaches seasonal shifts in lifestyle, diet and self care that help each dosha stay in balance. By changing your spa treatments with the seasons, and especially by doing so in accordance with Ayurveda, you can help your clients stay in balance all year long.
  • Focus on lymph. Ayurveda teaches the importance of healthy lymph flow for radiant skin and overall wellness. Incorporate more lymph moving techniques into your treatments to apply this wisdom.

Some NAA favorite Ayurvedic resources

John Douillard/Lifespa

The Art of Living Retreat Center, North Carolina

Melanie and Richard Sachs/Diamond Way Ayurveda

Claudia Welch

Absolute Beauty by Pratima Raichur

Beauty Pure + Simple by Kristen Ma

The Way of Vastu by Robin and Michael Mastro


CommentWe want to hear from you!

What have you learned from Ayurveda that you’ve been able to apply to skin health?

Do you incorporate Ayurvedic principles into your spa or skincare routine?