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Facial Cupping Is Trending Due To Its Circulation And Lymphatic Drainage Benefits

Traditional medicine is fast turning into a weekly home routine


Facial cupping emerged from traditional medicine, largely traditional Chinese medicine. Traditional Egyptian practise also include cupping, as do Tibetan, Unani and Korean. Heated glass bulbs create little pockets of vacuum to balance your qi or flow of energy. It increases your blood circulation, and in turn relieves stressed muscles, also promoting cell repair. Besides Tibetan and Unani medical clinics, a number of spas in India also offer cupping as a therapy. Jiva spa lists Ventoz in its menu, an Indian form to relieve knotted muscles, followed by a deep massage. When practiced on the body, cupping can lead to bruising and be slightly painful, as the glass bulbs are left on for a longer while than on the face. Face cupping draws on the same principle, but the methodology is very different. Small plastic cups are used to massage the face, creating a slight vacuum, encouraging better blood flow.

Does cupping lead to healthier skin?

“It’s an internal process that’s dealing with your blood circulation and your lymphatic drainage,” explains dermatologist Dr Kiran Sethi from Delhi-based Isya Aesthetics. “It forces the blood flow to stop and start—sort of stimulated, with the vacuum you’re creating.” The process involved an face oil application so the cups can glide without friction (which can bruise or tear your skin), and the cups are applied with mild pressure and allowed to glide along the planes of your face, using strokes you would use in a facial massage.

Is it the same as a facial massage?

Dr Harshna Bijlani, medical head of The AgeLess Clinic & celebrity skin expert says, “A facial massage helps nourish the skin. Massaging your skin with serums or creams that contain active ingredients also help these ingredients penetrate deeper. Facial massages help detoxify and improves lymphatic drainage. When done with the right strokes, a massage could also help de-bloat and contour the face. Many believe that facial cupping helps to improve lymphatic drainage, contour the face, reduce inflammation and slow down ageing.”

Are there any side effects?

“If you do it yourself at home and don’t do it correctly, or leave the cups on one area of your face for too long, or apply too much pressure, you can get some bad bruising,” advises Dr Sethi.

“I wouldn’t do it on broken, irritated or acne skin. You have to use some form of oil, right? Sometimes your skin might react to the oil.”

What kind of face oils can I use?

Dr Bijlani suggests the following:

A few skincare clinics offer facial cupping, but they’re usually part of other treatments. Facial cups are available online for those who want to try it at home, but the risk of bruising your face are perhaps not worth it. And as Dr Sethi says, it’s much better when someone else is massaging your face. We’re in limbo when it comes to taking care of ourselves and loved ones today. Bombarded with many ways of doing it, demands that we do it, and also given the leeway that we take our time to find what version of self-care suits us. If in this process, we find a relatively benign method of using plastic cups to massage our face a little relaxing, why not? At worst we’ll be left looking like we have hickeys (not entirely a loss). At best, we’ll look rested (thanks even blood flow)—major win.

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