While standards of beauty have varied by region and changed over the years, one thing has not changed: People have strived to feel and look their best since ancient times. In fact, many of the techniques our ancestors used have been passed down over the generations, and survive today in their modern variations.
From beauty-focused facial rituals to healing massages, in this article you will explore some of the ancient techniques that serve as the foundation for many of our modern spa techniques.
Hawaii: The Lomi Lomi Massage
The Lomi Lomi massage was brought to Hawaii along with the Polynesians who settled it. Despite being persecuted by missionaries and colonisers as a heathen practice, it endured as a well-loved healing ritual.
The principle idea of Lomi Lomi has held strong to this day: to provide the client with a space that is calming and nurturing, allowing them to connect mind and body. In this space, the practitioner uses fluid strokes, often described as ‘loving’, avoiding excess pressure (especially on sensitive areas). Much like other massage techniques, these movements work wonders on your body’s circulation and lymphatic systems, leaving you feeling refreshed and relaxed.
Native practitioners of Lomi Lomi now perform this massage around the world, since it has become popular and well-loved.
Thailand: The Thai Massage
The Thai massage is estimated to have been developed around 2500 years ago in Thailand by a friend of the Buddha who had extensive medical knowledge.
The Thai massage is a dry massage technique, meaning that no oils or lotions are used. Pressure is applied to various areas of the body to stimulate circulation while relieving pain and tension in targeted muscles. The Thai massage motions may remind you of yoga, and similar to yogo this massage will improve your flexibility, relax you and even improve your sleep!
India: Ayurvedic Massage
Ayurveda is a system of medicine that emerged in ancient India, based on the idea that keeping the body in balance is the best way to prevent and heal illness and injuries. Ayurveda may be the oldest system of medicine that we know of!
This principle led to the development of a massage technique that seeks to balance the client both physically and mentally, since body and mind are seen as intrinsically linked to each other. To this day, this massage technique uses heated oil to stimulate energy points in the body, with pressure and a light touch.
This makes Ayurvedic massages incredibly relaxing and useful for relieving tension and stress, and can be included regularly as part of a healthy lifestyle.
Turkey: The Hammam
Baths have been well-loved for centuries, and the Turkish bathing technique is no exception. The Hammam was one of the first baths to be open to all, leading to their quick popularity in ancient times. Hammams quickly became a popular way of maintaining one’s health, hygiene and mental relaxation, all while socialising with others.
Nowadays one can experience the same heated marble room alone if they prefer, or with family and friends as our ancestors did. The beautiful marble room with its gentle, relaxing heat helps open your pores and prepare your skin for exfoliation by a therapist. This means that by the time your session is done, your skin has been cleansed deeply, and is incredibly moisturised.
Greece: Clear Skin and Protection from the Environment
The ancient Greeks idolized the goddess Aphrodite, and strived to match her youthful beauty by keeping their skin clear and protecting it from the elements. Face masks were an integral part of their beauty routines, used to remove facial impurities that build up during their day.
Face masks are still well-loved today for the same reason, and are perhaps even more important since our skin is exposed to pollution as we walk in busy areas.
Japan: Exfoliate Old Skin Away
Since ancient times, clear fresh skin has been prized as a sign of beauty and health around the world. Japanese Geishas achieved this skin perfection by creating pastes mixed with sea salt crystals that helped remove old skin through abrasion. Modern exfoliants still work in the same way, and you can still find many exfoliants that include sea salt as a key ingredient
As this article has shown, you would be surprised at how many ancient wellness routines are still alive and well today. Much of our knowledge is based on our ancestors' skills and experiences, passed down to us and improved and we learned more and understood our health better.
Other blogs you may be interested in
Carisma Spa & Wellness International has been offering a superior service in 5-star hotels, and holiday resorts along the Aegean and the Mediterranean coast of Turkey and Malta since 1990.