And a boost in radiance, too.
If you've been following me for a while, you likely know that I am no stranger to trying anything under the sun that will give me better skin and a much-needed sense of relaxation throughout the day. (I guess it's just a part of the job when you're a beauty and wellness writer.) To be transparent, I usually try these beauty and wellness routines out of necessity. So when I felt I needed to amp up the firmness of my skin, I looked into traditional Chinese medicine to see what I could find to help me return a supple bounce to my post-25th-birthday skin.
Turns out, there is a myriad of skin-care benefits in stimulating acupressure points with a reflexology tool. A reflexology tool is a pen-like tool with a round end that serves the purpose of stimulating acupressure points to rid qi blockages in the body's meridians. According to Ted J. Kaptchuk, O.M.D.,'s book The Web That Has No Weaver, "In Chinese Meridian theory, [meridians] are unseen but are thought to embody a kind of informational network—the Qi and blood move along them, and a therapeutic system is conceptually organized through the details of its design. Because the Meridian system unifies all the parts of the body, it is essential for the maintenance of harmonious balance." When we rid the meridians of blockages, we're able to delve into a better state of health where we experience better sleep, improved focus, calmer moods, and even clearer skin.
Now, I've done acupuncture before, so I cannot say that I'm a total stranger to the benefits of stimulating the acupressure points in my body. However, I *am* a stranger to finding these points on my own body. To help me figure out which points I can stimulate at home, I turned to two professionals: Dr. Sian James, DACM, LAc, LMT, RYT, and licensed acupuncturist at Ora; and licensed acupuncturist and fertility, facial and pain specialist Dr. Anna Hsieh Gold, DACM, L.Ac, FABORM.
Before stimulating specific points on my face for taut and clear skin, I first had to do some prep work. According to Dr. James, "Because everything is connected through the meridians, you first have to clear out the blockages below your face before stimulating acupressure points." This includes massaging the chest with a gua sha tool in upward and outward motions, then moving the gua sha tool from the jawline down to the chest, and finally, performing a facial gua sha massage with upward and outward motions to rid the face of stagnant fluid. Dr. James says, "You can't drain blockages in the face if there are blockages in the neck or chest," so I made sure not to skip this part.
As stated earlier, I turned 25 this year, meaning that I'm finally at the point of really taking my skin's elasticity seriously. (It's not that I didn't before, I just did not see any noticeable drooping or loss of firmness until now.) Dr. Gold reveals, "Many of the acupressure points that are good for the skin on the face are actually located throughout the body." Dr. Gold recommended I stimulate Lung 7, which is located on the forearm, since the lungs control the skin's elasticity. Additionally, Dr. Gold recommended I stimulate Stomach 2, which is located under the pupil, to increase the firmness around my eyes.
In addition to wanting to bring a sense of bounce back to my cheeks, I was also interested in decreasing inflammation in my sensitive skin. Dr. Gold states, "When there is inflammation, it usually indicates that there is excess heat." For this reason, she recommends stimulating Spleen 10, located near the knee, which promotes circulation and cools the blood, effectively benefitting the skin. Dr. James also recommends the third eye point, located in between the brows, Stomach 5 and Stomach 6, located slightly above the jaw bone, and the points located on the temples.
I started stimulating these points during my nighttime skin-care routine. Dr. James reveals to Coveteur, "There is no set amount of time that you should stimulate a point; just listen to your body and see how long works best for you." I used my Mount Lai Acupressure Gua Sha Spoon for as long as I needed to on each spot, which usually lasted about a minute or two. Then I would go on with the rest of my routine of sleeping masks and thick eye creams before going to sleep.
I noticed a significant improvement in the glow of my skin, as well as a decrease in the amount of puffiness in my cheeks. Also, although I didn't have much acne before, I certainly did experience some texture on my forehead that is virtually gone now. I will not lie: The results are not instantaneous. I had to stimulate the points around my body and on my face every night for about two weeks before seeing any results. And that's OK, because acupuncture and acupressure do not operate on the idea of being an immediate solution to health problems! Rather, they are a cumulative way to bring the body and the skin back to homeostasis.
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