Inspired by Traditional Chinese Medicine, Ashmira Botanica focus on the concept of "treating your skin from the inside out", and have created a bespoke whole-body experience to help you achieve that 'glow' the winter weather has dulled.
Everyone wants that inner, radiant glow; for your colleague to ask you not-so-subtly in the kitchen, "have you had some work done?". And, although your skin is your largest organ, it's often the most neglected due to the everyday exposure to pollution, cold-weather and often poor-quality lifestyles many young-professionals lead (I'm talking about those of you who get 5 hours of sleep a night, eat a diet that revolves purely around Pret-A-Manger, and maybe get 2000 steps-a-day in) . Cue Ashmira Botanica. As a 21 year old social media editor who had just finished an EXTREMELY busy run at fashion week - I was gagging for some R&R, and a morning spent at the gorgeous Chuan Spa at The Langham seemed like the perfect way to unwind. My therapist, Tracey (& founder of Ashmira Botanica), explained that the treatment would be personalised to not only my skin concerns (the usual: hormonal, acne-prone, dry), but my biorhythm and current emotions, as well as being attuned to the season and time of year. When speaking in the context of TCM, the spring season is associated with new life and beginnings. It is a time for cleansing toxins from your body and negative energy from your mind; so of course it seemed only natural that the treatment and products used would focus on the liver and gallbladder.
To summarise, it's much more than just a skincare treatment. The use of natural plants, essential oils and clays balances the skins’ vital energy, intertwining your physical and emotional energies to relieve physical tension and achieve mental clarity.
The Secrets of Traditional Chinese Medicine
According to the traditional healing system of Chinese Medicine, our body & mind are synonymous to that of a mirror, reflecting any internal and external imbalances within the meridian systems of the body. Ashmira Botanica teaches therapists to recognise these imbalances and blocks through the use of advanced mindful massage techniques, acupressure points, sound healing, crystal and energy work, as well as they're natural, vegan friendly products to bring about distinguishable, immediate change.
The core concept of Ashmira Botanica derives from the ancient, Chinese philosophy of the five elements: wood, fire, earth, metal, and water, used to describe interactions and relationships between things. The five elements are presumed to be the fundamental elements of everything in the universe between which interactions occur. They represent the physical and energetic qualities of the human body and of the physical world, ebbing and flowing to influence our physical, mental and emotional wellbeing.
So, all of this wrapped up into a 90 minute facial sounded more than enticing for a stressed, hormonal & acne-prone individual such as myself...
Welcomed into the treatment room with a ceremonial mug of hot cacao packed full of flavonoids (nutrients shown to help lower blood pressure, improve blood flow to the brain and heart, and aid in preventing blood clots), I surrendered to a delightful back exfoliation with ground rice powder, followed by a soothing head massage that targeted acupressure points all over my scalp. The back massage that then ensued worked on meridians, which are acupuncture and energy vessels that function as a network, to assist in stimulating and balancing my emotions. I then turned over onto my front to begin the facial portion of the treatment, with a soothing massage and cleanse with rose oil, and a creamy clay cleanser to ease away tension and stress. After a spray toner of rose hydrosol, the facial exfoliation and subsequent massage (with vacuum suction cups to help remove toxins) balances the yin and yang energies in the skin, softening lines and promoting that glow from within. The elemental wood mask is then applied whilst chimes and sound bowls are incorporated to provide even deeper relaxation, and rose quartz rollers are used all over the face and neck to help remove toxins, reduce inflammation, and lessen the appearance fine lines and wrinkles; bringing about an overall sense of health and wellbeing and leaving you with radiant skin.
My Final Thoughts
If I’m going to be honest, I was slightly sceptical going into this experience. As a so-called ‘wellness girl’, I typically tend to trust a lot of science and data driven research regarding skin, health and wellbeing (a.k.a. I listen to Huberman Lab on my way to work!), so I was conscious of the claims that TCM is "fraught with pseudoscience", and that the majority of its treatments have no logical mechanism of action. However, the Ashmira Botanica experience truly left me speechless. Walking out of that treatment room, I genuinely don’t think I’d felt this relaxed and, dare I say it, zen, since being a newborn babe. I would highly recommend this to any person who’s feeling burnt out, congested and fatigued.
Pure Alchemy Facial Treatment - £210 / 90 Minutes
Chuan Spa, The Langham Hotel, London, W1B 3DE
44 (20) 7973 7550