Facial massage is a wonderful practice for relieving tension, calming your mind, and getting stagnant energy flowing again. Although there are plenty of techniques that only require your hands, there are times when I love to use facial massage tools and one of my favourites is called a Kansa Wand.
This traditional facial therapy tool has been used in Ayurveda for thousands of years. They are typically made of wood, with a domed metal tip. It is this metal tip that gives the tool its name – Kansa is the metal we call bronze.
Bronze is an alloy of copper, zinc, and tin. While zinc and tin make the metal harder and more durable, it is the copper that gives this tool additional benefits for our skin.
In Ayurveda, copper is known for its healing properties. These are backed up by modern Western science, as we now know that copper is naturally antimicrobial, meaning it can fight off bacteria and viruses.
Copper is also a great conductor, which is another reason it is so valued in Ayurveda. The metal is used to balance the doshas and mobilise the life force, or prana. This helps to get the energy flowing freely through your body to restore your overall wellbeing.
Another huge fan of the Kansa Wand is Jasmine Hemsley, the well-known author, chef, and expert in Ayurveda. Jasmine sells these beautiful tools via her shop, so do take a look if you don’t already have your own.
Jasmine and I met recently over on Instagram for a live all about Kansa Wands, Ayurveda, and self-care. Jasmine shared some tips for how to use your Kansa Wand effectively and showed us some techniques.
If you didn’t catch the conversation live, there’s a recording over on my YouTube channel.
In this post, I’m going to look at some of the simple techniques you can do with your Kansa Wand to give you beautiful, natural, and glowing skin. But if you don’t have a Kansa Wand yet, don’t worry. You can use your fingers instead.
Before You Start
Make sure you have a clean face and clean hands before using your Kansa Wand. One of the benefits of using this tool is that the Kansa metal reacts with the acids on your face, pulling out toxins and removing impurities. However, this can mean very occasionally you see a grey film on your face after using the Wand. This is perfectly fine and simply shows that the tool is working as it should! But if you try to use it before you clean your face, you’ll find lots of extra grey coming off as the tool reacts with your makeup.
When your face is clean, apply some of the Fusion by Danielle Collins Facial Serum to help the Kansa Wand glide easily over your skin.
How much serum you use will depend on your skin and your dosha type. Those with drier, Vata-type skin might want to apply quite a bit, especially in the winter. If you have oilier, Kapha-type skin, then you want to just use a few drops. Don’t skip it altogether though, even if your skin is oily – you need the serum to move the Kansa Wand smoothly without dragging at your skin. You can always wipe off any excess with a warm cloth after you are finished with the practice.
For more about the different dosha types and how understanding your type can help you care for your skin, check out my podcast episode with Anita Kaushal, co-founder of Ayurvedic skincare brand, Mauli Rituals. You can also take the dosha quiz on Jasmine’s website to help you figure out your own dosha type.
When you first pick up your Kansa Wand, you’ll find that the tip is cool to the touch because it is made of metal. This makes it a lovely, soothing tool to use on the eye area.
I even keep my facial tools in a little fridge to keep them cool for when I need that calming touch on my skin.
Close your eyes and gently place the dome of the Kansa Wand over one eye, then the other. Then, gently begin to stroke the Wand over and around your eye area, keeping your eyes closed and the pressure very light.
Continue until the metal begins to warm up.
If you feel that the cold touch isn’t right for you today, use your hands to warm up the Kansa Wand instead. I always encourage you to work very intuitively with any face yoga or facial massage, modifying the techniques and practice to suit your needs.
This is an invitation to connect to your body and feel into what you need in the present moment. Spend longer in areas where you feel extra tension or tightness and allow your intuition to guide your movements.
2. Lymph Nodes
When you are ready, start to glide the Kansa Wand from your chin over your jawline to your ear. Come down the side of your neck, all the way down to your collarbone, then repeat this on the other side. Continue for as long as feels good.
Use a very gentle touch here – the lighter the better. We’re working with the lymphatic drainage system, which is just beneath the skin, so there is no need to press hard.
By coming all the way over to the drainage point at your ear and all the way down to your collarbone, you are encouraging the drainage for your whole face. This is especially good if you are experiencing any puffiness, especially around the eyes.
Next, move up to your cheek area. Starting at the bridge of your nose, sweep the Kansa Wand along your cheekbones to your ears and then down the side of your neck again until you reach your collarbone. Repeat on the other side and continue.
Come up to forehead next and work in circles or in a sweeping motion, or a combination of the two. It really depends on what feels best for you.
You might want to freestyle a little here. Move the Kansa Wand over your face and neck in gentle motions, spending extra time wherever you find an area that is especially tense or feels crunchy.
Many of us hold a lot of tension in our necks from working on screens all day, so it can feel lovely to work the Kansa Wand over the back and sides of your neck. If it feels good, you could use a little more pressure here.
4. Marma Points: Face and Head
Once you are feeling relaxed and calm, it is time to take your focus to the marma points.
Marma points are locations on your body where bones, muscles, ligaments, or joints meet. In Ayurveda, we work to open up these marma points to balance the doshas and allow the prana, or energy, to flow freely through our bodies. Marma points are roughly equivalent to acupressure points in Traditional Chinese Medicine.
There are 107 marma points and 37 of them are found on the head and neck, so you can see why facial massage is such a powerful healing tool. When we stimulate these points externally by touching our skin, we affect our internal, mental, and spiritual health too.
Kansa Wands were specifically developed to open the marma points and unblock stagnant energy. Jasmine has a helpful page on her website which shows the location of these marma points on your face, head, and neck.
Using a small clockwise circular movement, massage the marma points with your Kansa Wand. Start with your chin and then work your way up the face, over the forehead, up to the top of your head, and back down to the back of your neck.
You are aiming for a very light, subtle touch here. We’re not trying to stimulate the muscles or the lymphatic drainage now. Instead, we’re working with the energy, getting everything flowing and balanced again.
Keeping your touch light is often more challenging than pressing hard. It takes concentration. You really need to focus inwards and attune yourself to your movements. This makes this practice very meditative.
You can also use your fingers to comb slowly back through your hair and massage your head. This stimulates the marma points on your head, which are often ones we overlook. Jasmine has another tool that is beautiful for this – a wide-tooth wooden comb made from Neem wood, which is highly prized for its medicinal benefits.
5. Marma Points: Neck and Shoulders
Our final focus is on the marma points on the neck and shoulder. These are often areas where we carry a lot of tightness and stress, so take as much time as you need to work on points that feel especially crunchy.
As before, use a circular motion to massage the marma points. You can also work more generally over the neck and shoulders, wherever you feel tightness and tension.
Don’t be surprised if you see some redness coming up here, especially if you are Pitta-dominant. I’m prone to redness myself – it flares up quickly but also disappears quickly and shows that your body is responding to the massage.
Although you can spend as long as you like using your Kansa Wand, it is entirely possible to complete this full routine in just a few minutes. It is a lovely practice to introduce at the end of your day to help you feel calm and settled before bed.
When you use a practice like this regularly, it becomes a brilliant way of checking in on yourself. You’ll start to notice when things feel tenser and tighter than usual, which is a sure sign that you need to spend some time nourishing your body and mind.
Using a Kansa Wand also helps you to connect with your intuition and attune yourself to your needs. I love to do that with all of my face yoga. I don’t plan in advance which tool I will use on which day. I simply connect with myself and let how I am feeling that day guide me.
For more advice and support to help you develop your own daily self-care habits, I offer plenty of tools via my online shop. Whether you prefer to follow an online course, read a book, or use an app, there’s everything you need to guide you on your journey to wellness.