Lying down and adorned with acupuncture needles in the quiet of Sandra Lanshin‘s Brooklyn wellness studio, those receiving her signature facial Gua Sha treatment soon experience an unexpected next step. Lanshin slowly massages the face and neck with a small jade tool, working with precision along the neck, scalp and under-eye. The resulting sensation feels at first cold, smooth and strong. This yields to a soft warmth. Facial Gua Sha is a process of rejuvenation that Lanshin’s tailored to the needs of today’s consumers—and it tackles everything from tension to skin health. Acupuncture accompanies it to stimulate circulation. This is but one of the many treatments on site—a location where one can also take classes, but in many ways it embodies what Lanshin hopes to accomplish.
“We treat anything someone might walk in with, but we have a special focus on correcting dermatological disorders and skin rejuvenation,” she explains to CH just prior to this author’s first acupuncture session, “I personally treat a lot of acne, rosacea, dermatitis,eczema,and psoriasis.” Lanshin employs herbal medicine—something she notes takes time but is effective for a lot of disorders. The strategy is different: rather than suppress symptoms, Lanshin aims to correct problems and restore functions. “This can also mean we have to restore the other systems—the digestive system or the nervous system. Stress can feed into the skin’s behavior,” she continues.
Beyond wellness, anti-aging benefits can be attributed to facial Gua Sha. “Anti-aging is about helping the body ‘source more health.’ Rather than ‘anti-anything’ it should be called pro-health. That’s what our work is about,” she explains. The standard way of considering aging can be so detrimental—more or less the idea of recovering something lost. “In Chinese culture,” Lanshin says, “there’s a huge emphasis on longevity preparation. That’s what works rather than running yourself into the ground with treatments and creams.”
With facial Gua Sha, less is more. After the acupuncture needles are placed in the body, there are light oils used and the jade tool massaging the face. This is it. According Lanshin, “The tool releases fascia [and lymphatic fluid], a connective tissue layer that surrounds all of our muscles. We release the tension and it brings back circulation, life. It brings things back to their appropriate integrity.” Releasing tension has undeniable benefits.
Lanshin explains it as such: “Tension effects the way the skin falls. By releasing the tension you get the layers to be in the right relationship with one another. It’s about bringing us back to where we are supposed to be.” She’s quick to note that people spend way too much money on nothing or, in contrast, too much. Our hour-long experience had both a physical and emotional impact. The facial Gua Sha’s concentrated facial massage immediately led to smoother, brighter skin and the tension release combatted city-driven anxiety. And while it’s all very peaceful, the process also makes one incredibly aware of oftentimes forgotten parts of the face and tightness that’s secretly present. All of this is beneficial for numerous reasons.
Treatment by Lanshin is located at 129 Roebling Street Brooklyn
Images by Debora Francis