Sure, Gwyneth Paltrow may not be everyone’s cup of sugar-free organic Kool-Aid, but it’s always good to have an open mind when listening to the new thing she’s spruiking. The latest health fad she’s digging, and thus we’re intrigued, is facial cupping. At this year’s annual Goop Summit, guests were offered complimentary treatments, purported to boost collagen, reduce fine lines and plump up tissue, according to acupuncturist, herbalist, and author Aimee Raupp, who was in charge of performing these new-age ‘facials’.
The benefits stem from one primary goal of improving circulation in the skin. Dr Vivian Tam, founder of Cosmetic Acupuncture Melbourne and Zilch Acne Formula, explains “regular treatments in both facial cupping and facial acupuncture can help a lot with many skin condition (including acne symptoms and wrinkles) as they promote blood flow to the area, thereby promoting healing. When there is increased circulation and lymphatic drainage, you are also helping to move toxin build up in the facial skin, reducing heat and inflammation accumulation.”
WHAT HAPPENS DURING FACIAL CUPPING
“Cupping is essentially a therapy that involves ‘cups’ that create a vacuum or suction onto the skin, muscle and fascia,” says Dr Tam. The pressure of the cup when activated stimulates blood flow to the area, and encourages lymphatic drainage. The cups are slid around in different directions to encourage this movement and it is very stimulating to both the facial skin and the deeper layers.
In facial acupuncture, painless and ultra-fine specialised needles are inserted into the skin, reaching the soft tissues and causing a ‘microtrauma’. This signals the body to heal the area, promoting collagen and elastin production. Promoting blood circulation through these tiny needles also means more oxygenation and nutrients arrive to the cells, helping with skin hydration and brightness.
ACNE AND FACIAL CUPPING
Acne is one skin condition which can certainly benefit from improved blood circulation, as confirmed by Dr Tam who has treated hundreds of patients suffering from it. “From my extensive experience in seeing patients with acne, I would say that is common that they suffer from blood stagnation that can stem from poor circulation or blood deficiency. Acne sufferers also almost always have a very inflammatory pattern from a build-up of toxicity and heat,” she says.
Dr Tam explains, facial cupping can help with acne by helping to remove toxin build up in the skin and soft tissue level – by tapping into the lymphatic system – and it also stimulates blood flow which can promote healing in the area too.
WRINKLES AND FACIAL CUPPING
It’s not just acne this treatment targets it can also help with fine line and wrinkles. Dr Tam explains it “stimulates the skin to support collagen production, and the increased blood flow promotes healthy nutrients and oxygenation to the skin which is super beneficial for your facial skin and anti-ageing.” You’re also working on releasing muscle tension and tightness, which can play a big role in wrinkles and lines.
SO CAN I TRY DIY FACIAL CUPPING AT HOME?
“Traditionally cupping was done with glass cups and fire therapy which would create the suction,” says Dr Tam. But nowadays the technique is a lot more modern using plastic and silicone cups which have a self-suction mechanism through a pump.
If you want to play along at home, Dr Tam says it can be self taught with the right practise and teaching. “There is just a little involved with getting the pressure right. A general rule of thumb would be not to put it on tightly enough to cause bruising, but enough to create pinkness and warmth in the skin. Always move in an outwards direction toward your lymph nodes. I’d always recommend seeing a professional to teach you before you get started!”
In everyday life, you can also work to improve your blood circulation by moving regularly, having hot baths, and massaging your skin either with a tool or using your hands. Read on for 20 easy ways to boost your circulation, and the winter workout built to boost your blood circulation.
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