Charley Huf: Beauty And Health Coming Together
Alternative health and beauty coming together
Charley Huf, beautician and Classical Chinese Medicine practitioner, is the founder of beauty and health salon "de Bindweefselbar" in Amsterdam. The salon is focused around deep tissue massage, yet offers much more. When opening the salon, Charley’s vision was to provide a place where people could be offered an extended and thorough knowledge of natural and holistic approaches on health. Furthermore, she wanted to create an ambiance of peace and calmness to help people feel comfortable, safe, and able to relax, let go, and surrender to the practitioner's expertise. This is exactly the feeling I got when entering the salon! Soon after my arrival, I was in a conversation with Charley when we realized we had the same passion for Eastern philosophies. Although, Charley does know a lot more than I do. Of course I was intrigued to hear more, and during the interview we spoke further about her background, Chinese Medicine, deep tissue massage, and the salon.
YOU WERE A BEAUTICIAN FIRST; WHAT MADE YOU CHOOSE THIS PROFESSION AND WHEN DID YOUR INTEREST FOR CHINESE MEDICINE START?
Actually, it was not really a choice, but the direction of the institute I attended because I left school when I was 15. The beautician course was assigned to me randomly. To be honest, I cried when I heard the news, since it was not my own choice at all. I wanted to learn about the hospitality industry. It took me a incredibly long time to finish the course, almost to the point the possibility to get a degree would expire. I thought to myself, "Well, I need to have some kind of degree, so lets do this!" From that point on I started looking into all sorts of beauty videos on YouTube, and found I actually loved it! The videos gave me a different outlook on being a beautician and gave me the perspective that there was actually so much more out there. After that, I finished school within two months.
I got my degree in 2010 and started working at a day spa where I learned about the basics on Ayurveda, an ancient Indian medical system. This is where I deeply understood the relationship between health, skin, and beauty for the first time. Our skin can tell us a lot about our health and vice versa! Instead of only using certain products, I learned to compare ingredients to see if they would match the client's skin. The spa only used products with a specific philosophy behind it, which I truly appreciated. However, I felt like I could dive deeper into the subject of skin and health than the Ayurvedic approach.
In the past, I had done some acupuncture treatments, which always worked well for me, so I decided to learn more about that as well. Before determining a health complaint, Chinese Medicine practitioners will analyze features on the outside of the body, and will take into account the condition of skin as well. This always has been fascinating to me. After the introduction I was so eager to learn more that I decided to finish the whole course on Traditional Chinese Medicine, which led me into continuing a course in Classical Chinese Medicine in the direction of ‘Trunks and Branches’, which explains how everything in nature is meant to be as it is. Classical Chinese Medicine is actually the original background for acupuncture.
In regards to my beauty practices, I keep the perspective in mind that health and beauty are much more intertwined than we think, which is also very much in line with an Eastern Medicine perspective.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN TCM (TRADITIONAL CHINESE MEDICINE) AND CCM (CLASSICAL CHINESE MEDICINE), AND WHY DID YOU WANT TO CONTINUE WITH CLASSICAL CHINESE MEDICINE?
Both philosophies work with acupuncture and herbs. It's mainly the approach towards the methodology and philosophy of treatment that makes the difference and distinction. The approach of CCM is much more holistic.
When there is a lack of energy somewhere in the body, where a certain health complaint stems from, in Traditional Chinese Medicine the meridian that is responsible for it would be punctured, in an attempt to activate the energy flow lacking in that spot. The risk of this method is that in the end there will be no energy left. In CCM we avoid this risk by puncturing meridians that actually belong to organs or tissues where there is more than enough energy. CCM is more aware of the balance of energy in a body. It has a great philosophy on body type, strengths, and weaknesses of the body regarding the year and season someone is born in.
When we compare Chinese Medicine to Western medicine, Traditional Chinese Medicine is more similar, because the Western complaint will only be translated into a certain element like fire or wind, and will then get treated with acupuncture and herbs. In CCM we would look into the cause of the complaint by examining the specific organ, the tissue surrounding it, the element it belongs to, and how it communicates with other organs.
In general I would say I have a very holistic point of view towards life, as I believe everything is connected, so Classical Chinese Medicine is more in line with my own believes. And, it actually gave me an even broader perspective towards life, beauty, and healing. When I have a client it [CCM] provides me the tools to really focus on the unique person I have in front of me, and to treat them accordingly.
CAN YOU TELL US A BIT MORE ABOUT DEEP TISSUE MASSAGE AND WHAT MAKES YOU SO PASSIONATE ABOUT IT?
There are actually several types of deep tissue massage. The one I use focuses on the network of meridian systems and the intensity of massaging the tissue's needs.
Why I love this type of massaging so much is because of the importance of deep tissue for us, and for our overall health. Deep tissue comes in different forms and is present throughout our entire body; basically it's what keeps our body together. It is also of great importance for removing toxins.
Currently, deep tissue gets a lot of attention for counteracting cellulite, but it goes further than that. The main goal is to have healthy tissue. What I mean by this is a healthy harmony between the internal and external, removing toxins, and our bodies need to be well supplied with blood. So meaning no cold spots on your body, and no stiffness. With deep tissue massage the tissue is activated, which causes the blood flow to increase and it improves the ability to remove toxins. From an Eastern Philosophy perspective deep tissue is of greater importance because it is the tissue in the body where a lot of energy can be stored when it stagnates. Stagnation happens when there is a void present in the body. This is caused by a shortage, and never an excess. When there is a shortage present somewhere in the body, there is an imbalance, and this can cause diseases and bodily complaints. When it is a minor imbalance, it can be rebalanced through deep tissue massage by activating the tissue so that the stagnated energy can start moving again.
IN OUR SOCIETY THERE IS A GREAT FOCUS ON BEAUTY. WITH DE BINDWEEFSELBAR YOU CREATED A PLACE WHERE BEAUTY AND HEALTH COME TOGETHER. CAN YOU TELL US MORE ABOUT YOUR CONCEPT?
I noticed there was a demand for a place where different views, and approaches towards beauty and health were available, though no place was providing this. I think deep tissue is an important bridge between beauty and health, but deep tissue massage is one of the few techniques that actually improves both when utilized.
Even though in the salon I offer mainly deep tissue massages for face and body, I also wanted to offer a place for all practitioners of natural and holistic health approaches like acupuncture or food specialists. Furthermore I offer courses for ‘cupping’, a Chinese technique that focusses on improving skin firmness as well, and in the future I would like to offer more courses. Soon my own specially crafted natural oil tinctures will be available. The salon itself is a place which focuses on complete wellness. I even hired a Feng Shui specialist for the interior, because I’m a strong believer of enhancing the energy and improving the vibe in a space with Feng Shui. Because deep tissue can be painful to some people it is important that someone can relax and surrender in a safe and comfortable space.
Charlie's expertise can be experienced in her own salon