Most peo­ple as­so­ciate the an­cient Chi­nese art with painful red welts, but not only can it be pain-free, it can be just as ef­fec­tive as Bo­tox


Afriend once told me that as long as the lines on your face are laughter lines and not frown lines then you should em­brace them. It’s a mantra I’ve lived by since. But a few years ago, one frown line in par­tic­u­lar put all my laughter lines to shame.

Those lit­tle lines that ap­pear be­tween your eye­brows, you know the ones I’m talk­ing about, your ‘think­ing lines’. I’m guess­ing I must do a lot of think­ing be­cause mine have deep­ened – a lot – in re­cent years. In par­tic­u­lar, the one on the left-hand side for some rea­son.

The left brain/right brain the­ory sur­mises that those with left-think­ing brains are an­a­lyt­i­cal and me­thod­i­cal, which would de­scribe me, so maybe I just do most of my think­ing on that side.

What­ever the rea­son, it’s a line that has been in­creas­ingly mock­ing me over the years. Granted, while it seems like a crevice to me, when I pointed it out to my other half re­cently, he in­sisted he’d never even no­ticed it be­fore. And this is a man who spends a lot of time look­ing at my face, for his sins.

I’ll be hon­est, it’s got to the point where I’m con­sid­er­ing Bo­tox. How­ever, tales of botched pro­ce­dures and per­ma­nently sur­prised-look­ing celebri­ties have made me wary, so I’m pre­pared to ex­plore all other av­enues first.

Which led me to the Dublin Holis­tic Cen­tre, where Amanda Nordell prac­tices a mix of fa­cial cupping, gua sha and acupunc­ture. When I pointed out my prob­lem area to Amanda, she be­lieved that she could help me.

She first in­serted acupunc­ture nee­dles in my feet, legs, arms and hands, at points de­signed to pro­mote bal­ance and gen­eral well­ness. She then be­gan the gua sha treat­ment. This is a tra­di­tional Chi­nese treat­ment in which the skin is mas­saged with spe­cially crafted pieces of smooth jade to scraped to in­vig­o­rate the skin, smooth out wrin­kles and in­crease blood sup­ply.

Amanda uses a num­ber of in­stru­ments, pic­tured be­low, which for all the world look like a small hur­ley, a fish and a foot.

Th­ese are used in a gen­tle mas­sag­ing mo­tion all over the face, with par­tic­u­lar at­ten­tion paid to prob­lem ar­eas – yes, you, fore­head.

She then uses two rolling tools, one with pro­tru­sions, the other smooth, to again force the blood around the face.

This pro­motes in­creased cir­cu­la­tion, which helps to detox­ify the face and move stag­nant blood and in­flam­ma­tion, which can oc­cur par­tic­u­larly un­der the eyes. The skin is then bet­ter nour­ished and health­ier. Acupunc­ture points on the face are also mas­saged with the tools, which ben­e­fits the in­ter­nal or­gans.

It can treat skin con­di­tions such as acne, rosacea, melasma and dark cir­cles, as well as cos­metic is­sues such as wrin­kles, sag­ging and puffi­ness. It can also ad­dress those hard-to-tighten ar­eas such as the neck and jowls.

The mas­sag­ing mo­tion also re­laxes the mus­cles

and, sur­prise, sur­prise, the more re­laxed the mus­cles are, the more re­laxed you feel.

So in much the same way that smil­ing causes you to feel hap­pier, hav­ing a tensely fur­rowed brow can elicit worry, pen­sive­ness and anger. I re­ally need to smile more.

The sec­ond part of the treat­ment in­volves fa­cial cupping, which much like the body ver­sion, uses suc­tion to in­crease blood flow, but un­like the body ver­sion, it won’t leave huge welts all over you.

Amanda uses two suc­tion cups, both thim­ble­shaped, one smaller than the other, to mas­sage the face in vig­or­ous but pain­less mo­tions. On a very ba­sic level, the cups in­crease blood flow and cir­cu­la­tion to the skin, but on a deeper level it also drains stag­nant flu­ids, thereby eas­ing puffi­ness and mak­ing skin ap­pear younger.

The treat­ment is de­signed to bring col­la­gen to the sur­face, re­duc­ing puffi­ness and dark cir­cles, di­min­ish­ing lines, and drain­ing nasal si­nuses and the lym­phatic sys­tem.

Tied in with the acupunc­ture, this is one of the most re­lax­ing treat­ments I’ve ever had – in fact, I had some of the deep­est sleeps of my life in the nights after our ses­sions.

My skin was glow­ing and smooth, and the puffi­ness in my face re­duced to such a point that I even looked thin­ner – in face- only self­ies any­way.

As for my frown line? It all but dis­ap­peared. I couldn’t be­lieve how much bet­ter it made me feel when I looked in the mir­ror – it cer­tainly made me smile, keep­ing those laughter lines out in front once more...

THE com­bined fa­cial cupping and gua sha treat­ment costs €65 for one hour, con­tact Amanda di­rectly on 086 811 5877 for re­duced rates for a course of treat­ment or the Dublin Holis­tic Cen­tre, South William Street, Dublin 2 on 01 633 0063

The gua sha treat­ment is in­cred­i­bly re­lax­ing and ef­fec­tive

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