Spring is THE time to detox. This is noted in many traditional medicine, including Ayurveda. Why? Well, according to Ayurveda, spring is a time of dampness and heaviness. This is why it encourages growth and germination. It is governed by an energy referred to as “Kapha” – the earth and water dosha, and because of this Kapha influence, our bodies also accumulate earth and water qualities of moisture, retention and cold. If imbalanced, this is said to lead to internal “dampness”, taking the form of excess mucous, candida, edema and sensitivities to mold and mildew. This also explains why the spring often aggravates snotty seasonal allergies.
From a beauty perspective, dampness also plays a role in how we look and feel. It is puffiness, water-retention, weight gain and fluid-filled cystic acne. Ayurvedic beauty involves an inside outside approach that is tailored to the season’s energetic fluctuations along with our personal lifestyle tendencies. So, if you find that you are prone to high Kapha and dampness, here are a few ways to re-balance this season and practice truly holistic beautycare.
Eat Up Kapha Cleansing Foods
One of the best ways to reduce dampness is to avoid Kapha foods. These are foods that are cold, wet, heavy, and produce mucous and candida such as dairy, sugar, heavy starches, yeast, fat and fermented foods. Conversely, increasing Kapha reducing foods such as leafy greens, lean meats and legumes (except for soy beans) treat dampness. Seasonings are also important, and spices such as ginger, black pepper and cayenne heat up and decrease Kapha as well as stimulate the digestion of damp toxins.
Many of us think of detoxification as a cleansing diet and bowel evacuation, but bodywork can be cleansing. Exercise, vigorous massage and heated (dry) saunas are also excellent for breaking up stagnant internal dampness. Increasing blood circulation and muscular movement is Kapha-pacifying as well as supports a healthy metabolism. Here is some info on Kapha-style yoga. Getting up early and being active in the morning also helps purge excess Kapha as the early part of the day is when Kapha energy is strongest. This also increases the length of time each day that we are moving and invigorating our bodies.
Switch To Stimulating Skincare
Topical care also helps to manage dampness as stimulating skincare ingredients promote circulation and alleviate water-retention. Applying kapha oils like mustard seed or sesame oil or soaking in a ginger bath moves blood flow and the lymphatic system. Ginger baths can be made simply by adding half a cup of ginger powder to your bath water. These are so Kapha purging that you can feel a tingling sensation and even cough up mucous. Using stimulating skincare can also reduce facial puffiness and bring brightness to the skin. Natural actives such as lemon, ginseng and radish root extract are excellent for this as well as have anti-aging properties. This is because increased blood flow also promotes collagen production.