Tis the season for holiday cheer... and, all kinds of bloating. Often, this is the reality of indulgent imbibing, over-stuffing on stuffing, and late night parties. For some, the dread of family dynamics can understandably make this the most stressful time of the year. And, don't forget air travel.
The Chinese Medicine Concept of Bloating
Bloating occurs when things don’t circulate or move properly. Think of a traffic free interstate freeway that becomes encumbered by too much excess, turning the fast flow of cars traveling with speed into bumper to bumper parking lot traffic, crawling at a snail's pace.
During the holidays this is commonly seen in the abdomen and face, where the free flow of Qi, Blood and/or fluids (JinYe) becomes sluggish as a result of several main causes:
1. EXCESS ALCOHOL INTAKE
From a Chinese medicine perspective, excessive and frequent intake of alcohol can create an internal imbalance called "Damp Heat." Think of your body as having the same environment as a hot, humid summer day when there's no breeze, and the air just hangs like a heavy cloak. This environment can cause facial puffiness and bloating, as well as potential flare-ups in skin conditions like rosacea, acne, eczema.
Solutions for managing alcohol induced bloating and puffiness, or inflammatory flare-ups, include:
★ Facial Gua Sha starting with the neck, then face can be unbelievably helpful for reducing facial bloat.
★ For suitable skin types, an exfoliating mask or treatment can help reset breakout prone skin.
★ Drink extra fluids and eat fluid-abundant foods the day prior, day off, and day after heavy or increased drinking. Bonus: drink all fluids warm to hot.
★ Abstain altogether with the many mocktail beverages out there today like Ghia non-alcoholic aperitifs.
2. FOOD STAGNATION
This is the TCM term for indigestion due to weak Stomach Qi, overeating, or eating too quickly. If you feel any of the following symptoms a few hours after a meal, you may have a case of food stagnation:
- Uncomfortable fullness in your abdomen, as if nothing is moving through your digestive tract
- Abdominal pain
- Excessive, and possibly odorous, belching
When we eat too much and aren't able to efficiently digest our food, it can of course lead to abdominal bloating. But, it can also cause facial bloating in the day or two following large holiday meals. It may also trigger breakouts and facial redness, or create more heaviness/sagging of the lower face.
Solutions for managing food stagnation related bloating:
★ Once again, Facial Gua Sha for neck and face
★ Don't drink iced beverages with your meal
★ Drink water before your meal, instead of during or after
★ Take your time! Eat and drink s-l-o-w-l-y
★ Try digestion support herbs over antacids, like our favorite, Curing Pills.
★ Sip on plain 1/2 cup hot water (as if drinking hot cup of coffee, except it's water)
3. LACK OF SUFFICIENT SLEEP
Holiday late nights are great—it means you're having fun—but they can also mean facial bloating the next day. When we don't get enough sleep, our systems lack the energy to drive strong and efficient circulation throughout the day. And as we know, sluggish circulation leads to congestion of Qi, Blood, and/or fluids (JinYe). And this can cause all sorts of issues including facial puffiness. This can also lead to excess dryness, dull complexion, dark circles, eye bags.
Solutions for managing sleep deprivation related bloating:
★ You guessed it, Facial Gua Sha for neck and face
★ Apply extra rounds of hydrating mist to skin after cleansing, followed by light oil application
★ Drink an abundance of fluids the day of an expected late night, and especially the day after. Not sleeping enough is very dehydrating, which can affect overall bloating.
★ Prioritize napping the day after
★ Choose light exercise options instead of strenuous workouts.
We hope this is helpful. Please do let us know if you have any questions!