From a Qigong and Chinese medical perspective, there are two main areas that affect the quality of skin- the lung system and the digestive system. On the digestive side, people who eat oily, greasy, fried and fatty foods tend to have more oily skin and are prone to increased pimples and wrinkles, whereas those with healthier diets consumed of vegetables, good protein and fats, as well as ample water intake have more glow to their skin and overall complexion. Diet is a huge factor, and we talk about this extensively in the diet section of the site.
Breathing meanwhile is also an important factor, as sufficient breath through deep breathing allows for more oxygen to enter the lungs and blood, resulting in an improved lung system and blood flow as well as enhanced detoxification. Many schools of meditation and Qigong emphasize that one of the best ways to detoxify is through deep breathing, and it just so happens there is truth to that based on Chinese medical theory. In addition to the lung systems, Western doctors also recognize that deep breathing through meditation helps enhance your sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems, with the latter affecting digestion and detoxification.
Breathing thoroughly, particularly through focused meditation or Qigong, is very helpful. In Qigong the active exercises presented in books such as SFQ Level 1 focus on movements that are done slowly in connection with the breath, and can be of great benefit to improving one’s overall health and even physical features such as the skin. Additionally, there are also a number of additional tapping and massage exercises based on Qigong practices and Chinese medicine theory that can be done to stimulate digestion and detoxification.
Rubbing the corners of the mouth
The corners of your mouth have energy points connecting to your large intestines and digestive system. Use your hands and rub them together until they are warm and then run the corners of your mouth 36 times each way one a day or more of possible. Alternatively, you can use your index and middle fingers to tap the two areas for about a minute to activate these points, which will help stimulate digestion and issues from constipation. Healthy digestion also means healthier skin, and through these exercises along with more water and improved eating you will see a difference.
Using the middle and index fingers, start from the base of your nose and rub until the eyebrow area and proceed to swipe across the forehead and down the cheeks with the whole hand. Before doing this, rub your hands together until they are warm and perform the exercise about 5-7 times. This is great for alleviating stuffiness and headaches, but is also really good for eliminating wrinkles and facial pain. The face has may energy centers connecting to the brain, and rubbing it promotes health of the skin and nerves. The facial area also has many points connecting to internal organs that promote enhanced circulation and digestion, leading to improved skin.
Rubbing the back of the hands
The back of the hands is where the Qi of Yin and Yang meet and rubbing this area lightly with one hand on top of the other will help heal aging spots, according to Head to Toe Healing. The book recommends performing this exercise 1-3 minutes a day for best results.
Additional diet tips for Healthy skin
Drinking tea is a great way to improve digestion and remove oily fats from the body due to the many polyphenols and ECGC compounds found in tea that have also been found to help enhance skin color and tone. Tea is also a great drink for aiding in weight loss and reducing the risk of heart diseases, and brings a unique flavor to water that makes you want to keep drinking.
Chinese doctors meanwhile will often tell people to eat light and blander. This can be difficult for many who priorities their diets on fried and oily foods, but from a Chinese medical perspective this causes the body to have more oily skin, poorer digestion and higher risk of heart disease. Eating more foods such as porridge and vegetables, oatmeal and fruits, in addition to more fish are a great starting point.