I often get this question, “What is the difference between cupping on the body and cupping on the face? Will it not leave the circular bruise marks that normal cupping could leave on my face?” There is a big difference between traditional cupping and cosmetic facial cupping, as well as traditional gua sha and cosmetic facial gua sha. I thought of trying to clarify some of these misconceptions.
Traditional cupping dates back to ancient Egyptian, Chinese and Middle Eastern cultures. Cupping has gained popularity in the last few years with celebrities, models and athletes enjoying the many benefits of this ancient therapy. Most people are aware that it can help with muscle and pain relief and that it is very relaxing. Many have seen the red circular marks on the backs and shoulders of Olympic swimmers like Michael Phelps.
Facial rejuvenation (cosmetic) cupping is very different from traditional cupping and does not leave the circular bruise marks that traditional body cupping could leave. During facial rejuvenation cupping, very small and specifically designed suction cups are used to lift and massage facial tissue. After applying a special oil, the cups can smoothly glide across the face and jaw. This minimal suction is not painful and actually very relaxing. The goal is to increase blood flow and stimulate lymphatic drainage. This reduces fine lines and wrinkles, reduces puffiness, increases facial product absorption and relieves facial muscle tension.
Traditional gua sha is part of traditional Chinese medicine, dating back to the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). During gua sha an instrument with a smooth edge is used to press-stroke or scrape lubricated skin in one direction to produce intentional redness on the skin, known as “sha”. It increases blood circulation and relieves pain (works great for muscle spasm relief), is anti-inflammatory and can be used to stimulate the immune system.
Facial rejuvenation (cosmetic) gua sha is very different from traditional gua sha, in that it is not painful and does not leave the bruise marks that traditional body gua sha could leave. During facial rejuvenation gua sha, an instrument made from jade is used to gently massage the face and jaw. Jade is used, as this stone has balancing and natural cooling properties. After applying a special oil to the face, the jade stone can smoothly glide across the face and jaw. This is not painful, and actually relaxing, gentle and soothing. The goal is to increase circulation, improve lymphatic drainage and stimulate collagen production. This results in an overall brighter and more youthful complexion, tightening of the skin and contours of the face and relaxed facial muscles.
In summary cupping and gua sha has an ancient history with proven benefits, both for the body as a whole and for healthy and glowing skin.