When it comes to the latest in skincare, we are always on the hunt for the best of the best experts to share. We had the pleasure of speaking to one of Paris’s most sought-after estheticians, Elaine Huntzinger. Elaine has been sharing her holistic knowledge in Paris since 2018, focusing on the benefits of acupuncture, gua sha, and buccal massage for skin health and facial rejuvenation. She has been featured in Vogue, The New York Times, and The Financial Times, among others.
Elaine’s technique is the culmination of extensive modalities and over 20 years of industry experience as a licensed practitioner of Master Tung and advanced constitutional facial acupuncture. She is also a certified gemologist with a deep knowledge of crystals and their various healing properties and holds a Master of Science in Traditional Chinese Medicine.
Here, Elaine spoke to us about the interconnectedness of the body and how our skin can be the map to deeper imbalances. She also explained the amazing benefits of facial massage and acupuncture as an alternative to Botox. And she touched on the benefits of sound therapy and the use of crystals in her treatments.
What led you to become an acupuncturist?
I was living in Thailand and went to Sri Lanka to study homeopathy to help cure my eczema. The practitioner also taught acupuncture, and in reality, it turned out to be something of an acupuncture boot camp. I worked at a free clinic in Colombo for 8 hours a day for two months. The professor told us the points to use, and we just stuck them in people. Miraculously, I saw people getting better and their skin conditions dramatically improving. People came every day, so they got treatment quite regularly. After this experience, I decided to study it formally in California. I always knew I wanted to work with the skin since I have suffered from eczema from an early age, and began to focus on it early in my studies. Once I moved to Paris, I became interested in combining my treatments with facial massage, gua sha techniques, and other modalities that would complement the acupuncture treatment.
How can we use the skin as a map of what's going on internally in the body?
There are six meridians that traverse the face. It is inevitable that if there is an imbalance in the body, it will show up on the face. For example, if you have a digestive issue, the stomach and small intestine channels are around your eyes. So, when we indulge the night before, the next morning we often end up with puffy and tired eyes.
How does acupuncture combat our skin issues? How does facial acupuncture work?
Facial acupuncture and facial massage are what I use to improve the health of the skin. The acupuncture points are firstly a point on a meridian that connects to other parts of the body. If there is an imbalance in that meridian, certain points will unblock the energy in the meridian. Think of it as a highway and the acupuncture points unblock the traffic jam, so we have a flow of energy.
Also, many of the points on the face are muscle motor points, so releasing muscle tension via the point helps on a physical level. It all comes down to a matter of circulation, whether energetic or physical.
As a certified gemologist, how do you use crystals in your treatments and what effects do they have on the skin?
I use crystals on the chakras of the body, which work on a different level to balance our energy. I also use tools that are made of certain stones with specific properties. For example, if a person has a puffy face, I will often choose to use jade because it is dense and is considered very yin in TCM and is effective in moving dampness. I use bloodstone for gua sha on the neck because it penetrates through the muscles, helps circulation, moves the blood, and relieves tension and stress.
What is the best alternative to botox when it comes to skin treatments?
Massaging around the eyebrows, specifically squeezing the inner eyebrows, will help relieve the tension between the two eyes. This tension is the main cause of the ‘11’ wrinkles that cause people to resort to botox. By increasing the circulation and massaging the muscle that creates this wrinkle, the skin and tissue in the area will be healthier.
Tell us more about your Gua Sha technique and how it can help transform the skin.
I like using Gua Sha after I have massaged my face. I look at it as the yin part of my routine. I generally start at the neck and work my way up. My pressure is lighter than you would expect. I always go up and out with the tool at a 45-degree angle. I go up and out, always using the other hand to anchor the skin. You don’t want to tug at the skin. You are moving through tissue, and you are trying to encourage circulation. I generally move up and out and then eventually down toward the collarbone. This helps move the lymphatic fluids down towards the terminus, where all the lymph from the head and neck exit.
You offer sound balancing in your treatments. Can you explain this type of therapy and the benefits that can come with it?
I love the sound balancing treatment. I always see an immediate release of tension. I use a tuning fork that is the second octave of the Schuman’s resonance. This vibration is the vibration of the earth. I use it on certain areas of the body (mainly joints), and you feel it through the bones. It is the ultimate grounding because this vibration is something we have known our entire lives and is very comforting. It’s great for people living in cities, who rarely have their bare feet on the earth. I also use tuning forks that are connected to the chakras, which help open them up.
What are the top do-it-yourself treatments you recommend?
I love a good mask. I use a honey mask every other day alongside a technique I learned from a Russian doctor to stimulate circulation, which exfoliates at the same time. I encourage my clients to massage their face every day, even just for five minutes. It really makes a big difference. I am also a huge fan of LED and the LYMA Laser.
What are your top skincare tips?
Stay hydrated, eat according to the seasons, do not smoke, and stay active.
What are some of your personal beauty and healthcare routines you swear by?
I like to neti pot to clear the nose of viruses and pollution. I love getting lymphatic drainage massages and rolfing massages to keep the body in check. I also take liposomal vitamin C every day, a collagen supplement (holi (mane) is my fav at the moment!), and Yin Power from Sun Potion. I also drink 1.5 liters of herbal tea per day.