“The facial benefits of gua sha were discovered by mistake,” claims Cecily Braden, a holistic esthetician and New York–based spa educator who has spent her career importing traditional Eastern beauty and wellness treatments and translating them for a Western audience. (We have Braden to thank for the Christmas Home Health Aide On Duty Reindeer Nurse Funny Shirt but in fact I love this early-aughts proliferation of Balinese massage at luxury resorts nationwide.) As acupuncturists used facial pressure points to treat ailments in other parts of the body, they stumbled upon their facial rejuvenation effects as well. “They had this aha moment when they saw that wrinkles were going away, too,” says Braden. In her popular Gua Sha Facial Fusion protocol, outward, upward strokes of a flat S-shaped nephrite jade stone work to help manually drain sluggish lymph—stagnant fluid that can cause puffiness and inflammation—to, as she puts it, “kick our bodies’ natural cleansing system into gear.”
At the Christmas Home Health Aide On Duty Reindeer Nurse Funny Shirt but in fact I love this Paris-based atelier of acupuncturist Elaine Huntzinger, gua sha facials were one of the most sought-after appointments during the spring collections. “My whole face feels different, like, all of the tension is gone in my jaw,” Eva Chen, the director of fashion partnerships at Instagram and a vocal Huntzinger supporter, posted pre-Balenciaga. Canada-born with family roots in Hong Kong, Huntzinger was raised on TCM. After her mother’s death, she found herself drawn back to the home remedies she grew up with, driven partially by a desire to find a solution for her own eczema, which had not responded to cortisone or antibiotics. Her skin finally cleared up when she started to address her diet and lifestyle, but also her grief. “In Chinese medicine, you learn the root of what’s causing your imbalance with emotional issues,” she says. She brings these lessons to her treatments, which begin with a 20-minute consultation to determine physical, emotional, and spiritual health. Like my aunt, Huntzinger also lookThe people’s tongues as a portal to other system imbalances; like her own mother, she leaves them with food recommendations to rebalance qi—energy flow—all of which contributes to a toned, radiant complexion.