Culturally, at least in our modern society, being slapped in the face can mean a lot of things. It's not usually a positive thing and it's often either an affront, an insult, a way to start a fight, or a method used to calm down someone who is freaking out. But a California-based massage therapist actually employs a face-slapping facial technique, in measured doses, as part of the process, claiming it increases circulations, unblocks energy, and is a stimulating, anti-aging practice meant to improve skin and make it look younger. Wait, what?
Is this another of many questionable anti-aging trends? Is this BS spin or is the slapping of the face really based in ancient practices? And, perhaps most importantly, does it work? Does it really make your facial skin look and feel younger?
Yes, face-slapping sounds a bit traumatic, but is it any more stressful on sensitive facial skin than, say, a gritty exfoliant or even a Clarisonic tool?
The jury is decidedly out and it's likely this fad will die out before any sort of empirical research and results rear their heads.
Gam Pukkalanun, certified Thai massage therapist in L.A., told ABC News that her salon employs a "chopping motion along the energy lines," which will "relax the muscles and open the energy lines." These energy lines, in Thai medicine, are known as "sen," and the face has sen. Pukkalanun says she uses the technique in moderation and that it's not a part of the traditional Thai massage. Of course others are skeptical.
Dr. Shirley Chi, a dermatologist, considers face-slapping a fad and not a proper treatment for anti-aging and it's particularly problematic for people with serious sensitive skin problems, like rosacea.
Chi's prescription for younger skin? The usual suspects, like sleep, sunscreen, and a solid washing and moisturizing routine, with gentle massage methods focusing on upward motion and anti-gravity.
My take? It seems obvious that slapping the face would increase bloodflow to the area and it's not like the therapists who use this method are winding up and hauling off with a swift slap to each cheek. That said, facial massages are meant to be relaxing and slapping is definitely jarring. While any sort of deep tissue body work leaves you hurtin' the next day, that's livable when it comes to the back and the neck, not the face.
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