An Expert On Caring For The Skin & Fascia — At The Same Time
Pop quiz! What is your fascia? How can you tell if it's healthy? What are the ways you can care for it on the daily? If you're a regular reader here, there's a chance you know at least something about the fascia—but it's still not a well-understood system of the body by the general population. And as we learn more about it, we learn how to care for it—and what that means for the rest of the body.
"When our fascia and tissue is healthy, it is very resilient," says fascia and lymph expert Shalini Bhat, D.C., IFMCP, CFMP. In this episode of Clean Beauty School, I chat with Bhat about the deep intricacies of our fascia, the ways in which it affects our skin, how to identify unhealthy fascia, and how to care for your own. (A major bonus? We do a fascia- and lymph-supporting facial massage tutorial that you can follow along with while listening.)
Read on for your fascia cheat sheet.
Water is essential for all body functions—and for the fascia, it helps the tissue stay supple and flexible. But as Bhat notes, the way you hydrate yourself is important too: She recommends lots of watery foods and filtered water with electrolytes.
"Listen to your body's cues of when you are thirsty—and don't just drink liquids to hydrate," she says. "Really focus on filtered water with electrolytes and minerals, and then eating lots of watery fruits and vegetables."
As for foods, there are so many hydration-supporting options to try. "You want the type of water that's in cucumbers or celery," she says—we also love sweet potatoes, watermelon, tomatoes, and citrus fruits. "Those are great for natural hydration because they have sodium, potassium, and all the different vitamins, minerals, and electrolytes that help our body absorb what we need."
And when you're just drinking water? Make sure it's filtered and contains minerals. "Sometimes we just need some filtered water with a little bit of pink salt."
Breathing is breathing, no? Apparently not. "Breathing is not talked about enough, but proper breathing technique is so important as it plays a huge role in the health of the tissue."
Most notably, we need to focus on nasal breathing. "And we should be breathing through our nose. Obviously nasal patency is also an issue for some people, because of sinus issues or various other reasons, but if it's not—I recommend paying attention to nasal breathing," she says, noting that because of posture, many people default to mouth breathing without realizing it.
"If you're dropping your mouth open and you're kind of panting, then your body's not oxygenating like it should. And lactic acid will be the byproduct of breathing through the mouth," she says. This may cause the fascia to become tighter and less elastic.
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Regular physical manipulation of the fascia can help keep it healthy. You can do this by properly stretching out your body prior to working out and giving yourself a massage regularly. The latter is especially helpful for those who work at desks all day long or are prone to jaw pain.
As I noted, we share an entire facial massage tutorial in the episode, but as Bhat notes: "I oftentimes find that people are pretty intuitive when it comes to working on their own face. For me, I just like to do it at night with clean hands, a clean face, and my face oil. It doesn't have to be 30 minutes or with tools. Some nights I do it for 20 seconds. But if you do it regularly, it can make the biggest difference."
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