I recently became aware of the surprising benefits of facial massage after randomly buying a Groupon for one during a self-care shopping binge. After just one session, I felt a noticeable difference in my skin's texture and tautness and instantly became hooked on the idea of using massage to refresh skin and bring out that healthy inner glow. Shortly after, I became a proud owner of a Kansa wand—an ancient skincare tool that predates the jade roller and gua sha—and began incorporating a 5000-year-old facial technique into my skincare routine.
The act itself upgrades my skincare routine with its soothing, smooth feel (it starts cool then begins to warm) as I use it to gently massage in a favorite oil or serum. Just like when I got a fascial facial massage, my face feels invigorated and firmer immediately after. The practice helps reduce puffiness around my eyes first in the morning and essentially awakens my face. When I use it at night, I feel like it releases any stress and tension that's accumulated in my facial muscles during the day. With time, I've noticed that the fine lines around my eyes and mouth have smoothed and even my angry elevens seem to be less deep and noticeable.
To learn more about the ancient tool and Ayurvedic practice, we had Ranavat Botanics founder Michelle Ranavat tell us more about the history of the Kansa wand, its benefits, and how to integrate it into your skincare routine.
What Is a Kansa Wand?
"Kansa came about in the bronze age in India—where they were able to get temperatures high enough to forge copper and aluminum," shares Ranavat. She explains that Kansa (the metal used in Kansa wands) is called the "bell metal" because bells—and Tibetan gongs—are made out of this same material. "What is so magical about this metal is its ability to balance pH," she states. "Back in the day, people ate their meals on a Kansa plate to help make the digestion easier and reduce the acid content in the food. They drank their water from Kansa cups because it was almost like a water filtration system—it would remove the acid content from the water. Eventually, they found incredible health benefits by applying the metal directly to the skin as well."
Why It Works on Skin
Because of the metal's alkaline properties, touching it to your skin will help balance your skin’s pH. "Skin that is high in acid content or just general imbalance can cause sensitivity, premature aging, wrinkles, inflammation or acne," warns Ranavat. "As a result, using a Kansa wand can keep those issues at bay." Additionally, she explains that massaging the skin with the Kansa wand helps to remove built-up toxins in the lymph nodes by draining them out. "We also know physical massage and lymphatic drainage brings fresh oxygen to the skin—which is that beautiful natural glow we love," observes Ranavat. "To me, a Kansa wand balances your pH naturally—helping your skin texture, aging, etcetera—and massage reduces puffiness and brings out that glow from the renewed oxygenated blood. You are able to do so many things at once, really increasing the impact of your treatment."
How to Get The Most Out of It
"To use the Kansa wand, you need to pair it with a facial serum," advises Ranavat. "In India, they used a saffron-infused serum like our Radiant Rani Illuminating Botanical Serum that helps with brightness and inflammation." By combining the Kansa wand with the right product, the two will work synergistically. "If you pair the wand with a serum that also provides those same benefits, you are again increasing the impact of your treatment," describes Ranavat. "It is important to select the right oil on your skin. Use one with high vitamin and mineral content."
What Else to Know
Something you might notice—but shouldn't worry about—is graying. "Don’t be alarmed if you massage with the Kansa wand and you see a grayness appear on the skin" reassures Ranavat. "It means the Kansa is working!" She explains that the grey is a chemical reaction between the metal and the acid content on the skin as it heals. "Simply remove the grey after your massage with a gentle cleanser and cloth," she suggests.
Another important thing to note is to beware of fakes. "Just like any tool, there is a huge variance in quality," warns Ranavat. "Kansa is pure. It has zero led content. Any Kansa with zinc or metals other than copper and aluminum are not genuine and you should not use them as they may have led content."
Here are six more Ayurvedic habits for healthy skin, mind, and body.
Schwalfenberg GK. The alkaline diet: is there evidence that an alkaline ph diet benefits health? J Environ Public Health. 2012;2012:727630.
Field T. Massage therapy research review. Complement Ther Clin Pract. 2016;24:19-31.