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What is Gua Sha?

Gua Sha is one of the oldest recorded forms of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). It involves using tools, such as jade, with a lubricant to scrape or rub parts of the skin. Gua means to rub or scrape, and Sha is a type of stagnant energy or blood stasis. The intent of the treatment is to stimulate blood circulation to improve the health of the tissues. Gua Sha can be used when a person is dealing with an acute or chronic disorder, or when experiencing aching or tension in the muscles.

Gua Sha is not only used to treat areas of the body, but can be done on the face as well. When performed as a facial treatment less pressure is used along with a slower speed. As with the body, the Facial Gua Sha also improves the health of the skin and tissues by promoting circulation of blood and lymph. By using a light pressure, along with a little friction and a light stretch, a bit of heat is created in the tissues, improving micro-circulation. Gua Sha helps to detoxify the face, allowing the release of muscle tension and helps break down muscle adhesions, has a sculpting and contouring effect on the tissues, and can even make the skin look more radiant.

Natural skin care tools and techniques, like Gua Sha, are recently becoming more popular. Facial Gua Sha can now be found on spa or holistic practice menus, with tools available for purchase at your local stores and online. Facial Gua Sha is a natural, gentle treatment that can be done by your skin care professional, and one that can become part of a home care regimen to maintain healthy, radiant skin.

Submitted by Melanie Pittman
Licensed Massage Therapist & Esthetician

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Change of Season and Transitional Skin

As the seasons change you may notice a change in your skin. You could see a difference in skin tone – freckles or dark spots caused by exposure to the summer sun. Maybe you notice clogged pores from consistent or heavy SPF use. The skin’s oil production may increase or decrease, or you may feel dry patches or texture changes. The change of season may be a shock to the system, and your skin could begin to transition. With the shift from Summer to Fall the temperature and humidity drop quickly, so our skin has to work harder to maintain hydration. This can lead to cracks in the epidermis (the outer layer of our skin), causing loss of hydration and possible inflammation. Things like taking hotter showers and the use of heaters in the home also contribute to this. Our skin may need extra attention during this time.

The skin likes consistency. To achieve this it is important to pay attention to your skin and change your routine with the change of seasons. Change of season requires a shift in the products we are using. Some suggestions include: switching to a creamy cleanser that does not foam so as to not strip the skin of its natural oils; the use of serums that focus on hydration or lightening; adding retinols back into your routine; increasing moisturizing, maybe even a heavier moisturizer; and always remembering to continue the use of a good sunscreen.

There are services offered at our favorite spa or skin care practice that we can receive to help us during this transitional skin period. Exfoliation services, like peels, can help even out skin tone and texture, while also reducing fine lines and wrinkles. Services that target deep pore cleaning can help remove blackheads and debris caused from months of using heavy sunscreen. Facials that focus on adding moisture and hydration are always beneficial.

Paying attention to your skin is key during the change of seasons. Change your routine to suit your changing skin and help keep your skin balanced. Make an appointment to see your Esthetician for a service that repairs, revitalizes and nourishes your skin.

Submitted by Melanie Pittman
LMT, Licensed Esthetician

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Are Your Skin Care Products Truly Natural?

PlantDiscerning product labels of skin care products can be confusing, leaving consumers to rely on intuition, and a blind trust that one is buying a product that seems as benign and derived from nature as the advertising implies. After all, when the product derives its name from botanicals, such as “green apple shampoo,” or “oat and honey body wash” it sounds good enough to eat, so why not apply it to the skin? Knowing a few important things to look for on that label, and with simple research, one can emerge a more educated consumer, confident that one’s skin is absorbing only things it should. Continue reading Are Your Skin Care Products Truly Natural?

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Amazing & Versatile Lavender Oil

AromatherapyLavender essential oil is one product I routinely recommend as a staple in one’s medicine chest. This small vial of essential oil, (as opposed to perfume oil), can provide relief to many common complaints, and can even be relied on as first aid in certain situations. Lavender essential oil is distilled most often from Lavendula angustifolia, or “true” lavender, which distinguishes it from hybrid varieties. Like all essential oils, lavender is primarily used as a topical remedy, and not intended for ingestion. It should be kept out of the reach of children. Continue reading Amazing & Versatile Lavender Oil

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Skin Care with Natural Products

Women and men throughout the ages have instinctively turned to plants to nurture, soothe, and heal their skin. Skin care products are increasingly apt to be based upon, or include, herbs, fruits, and essential plant oils. Many of these products also come with a steep price tag. But natural beauty and skin care does not necessarily have to be expensive. The raw ingredients of these products may be growing nearby, or stocked in your kitchen. Continue reading Skin Care with Natural Products