On Beauty: Elaine Huntzinger
Multilayered. That’s one word to describe the facial work of Elaine Huntzinger. The Parisian-based acupuncturist practices an array of modalities, including facial and body acupuncture, Gua Sha, lymphatic massage, tuning forks, and gemology. Her knowledge is vast and with that, she makes sure to intimately understand her clients to fully interpret their skin’s needs.
Here, Elaine shares why her technique takes on many forms of healing, why facial acupuncture liberates and nourishes the muscle, and how evaluating a client’s entire system helps inform how to best treat them.
Your facial techniques are very unique. You’re trained in Master Tung style and are also a certified gemologist. Can you share how you incorporate the two?
Master Tung is a type of acupuncture. It’s very meridian based. And there are certain points in Master Tung that are not normally used in traditional Chinese medicine. It’s very specific and it mainly works on the limbs. It also treats emotions really efficiently, which is why I enjoy it.
I also study gemology. I started integrating it on a more esoteric base. I read that before the cultural revolution, they used alchemy and stones because they felt that crystals had so much chi. Stones have different energies and jade has always been used in beauty because it’s pure yin, it’s dense, and it advocates morality.
My treatments are multilayered because acupuncture works on the meridians. I put crystals on the chakras. I incorporate massage, which is quite physical and very yang and moves the tissue in blood. And then I add gua sha, which takes all the stuff that was moved in yin, drains it out, brings the feminine back, and renews the cells.
We’re also adding a new treatment, which is manual lymphatic drainage, Vodder style. I’m going to add that on because it’s super yin.
You noted you have a robust intake process that looks at the whole body, from anxiety to digestion. How does evaluating the entire system help inform how you treat a client?
I always ask if you're taking any medication, if you smoke, if you have Botox, those kinds of things. Then I ask about your level of fatigue and sleep, sleep hygiene, and night sweats. I also ask about digestion, which is always a huge issue. I need to know about your bowel movements. What are you eating? How are you feeling?
Then I inquire about stress levels and what you do for work. Do you exercise? Do you get headaches or migraines? And then I ask if you're having fun. How's your private life? Are you in a relationship, or are you dating? How's your family life? I need to understand your physical level, mental level, and spiritual level.
Would you say that your intake takes mental wellness into consideration?
Most definitely. I get a lot of people who cry because I work out of my apartment and it's very, very private. There's no one hanging out in the waiting room. There's no one shuffling back and forth. That allows my clients to feel safe. I see a lot of anxiety. There's a lot of stress and a lot of anger. Fortunately, acupuncture addresses all of that because there are points that treat the heart chi. There are points that treat liver stagnation because of anger. There's also the window of the sky points, which opens up for feelings to emerge.
You’re a proponent of tuning forks. What do they do?
The main one I use is Schumann resonance, which is the earth's vibration. It’s a very low vibration. NASA noticed that when astronauts were in space, they were getting depressed and a bit discombobulated. There is something called the Schumann simulator either in the rocket or in the room when they come back to earth and they found that it’s very grounding.
I have a really, really long tuning fork. It’s a second octave of the resonance of the earth. I touch on certain aspects of the bones because it’s very healing. It’s like a big hug. It penetrates into the body better. They used to use tuning forks on bones to see if they were broken. If one had pain, it was broken. I also have a set of tuning forks that are of the chakras, which is a much higher vibration.
While using the tuning forks, my client has needles in their body and their face, and they’re lying down, sometimes with an LED mask over them. At that time, they rest, so the body can accept it and let it go through.
You do facial acupuncture, which is not offered by all acupuncturists, so what does that do for the complexion and why is it important for you to have that offering?
I took many classes on facial acupuncture when I was a student. There are six meridians that cross the face and these are important because they correspond with the muscle motor points of the major facial muscles. So not only are you treating it energetically, you’re also treating it on a physical level. You want to reset the muscle back in its proper place if it’s overused.
Facial acupuncture is sometimes equated to “natural botox.” What are your thoughts when it comes to that analogy?
Botox freezes the muscle, whereas acupuncture liberates the muscle, giving it more nourishment. Botox freezes the chi in the blood and as a result, you have a muscle that isn’t moving. Then after three or four months, it wears off and you have this muscle that’s completely out of shape. I’m not a huge fan of Botox. I get why people do it. But looking at it from a TCM point of view, you’re basically blocking chi in blood.
My favorite scent is frankincense. I burn it or melt into a resin. I like the one from Oman because it has a higher note and it’s for meditation. In Chinese medicine, frankincense calms the heart and it’s very soothing. I also know it cleanses energy, cleaning the air on a bacterial level. It’s one of those magical scents.
Favorite beauty food?
I like teas with flowers. I drink a lot of chrysanthemums with rose and jasmine because rose and jasmine are warm. Chrysanthemum moves the liver chi, which is cooling, so it balances out.
Bone broth with Chinese herbs is also really good. And I eat a lot of congee for digestion because your large intestine and lungs affect the skin.
This isn’t beauty food you eat, but I also make creams to use in my treatments. I have three different ones. I have a frankincense cream with Chinese herbs. I have a version with blue tansy, blue cypress, and chrysanthemum leaf. And then I have a third cream for the summer with neroli, bai yu lan ye (magnolia leaf), and blue yarrow, and an oil with sandalwood and helichrysum.
Do you have any tips for long-haul flights?
Drink lots of water. Keep your hands clean. Sheet masks don’t really work because they dry out too quickly, so I would spray your face with a lot of rose water and then put either an oil or a balm on top and continuously add to it. Also, put some oil in your hair because it can get very dry. And lastly, bring your own food if you can because airline food is awful or you can fast. Fasting is great.
Do you have any vices?
I watch a lot of K-dramas. Also, I like shopping for accessories. Chanel and Hermès bags are great. I figured they’re the only ones worth buying now because they gain value. It’s better than Bitcoin or anything else. Chanel keeps increasing in value. You might as well buy that and enjoy it for a little while and move on.
Do you have any charms or talismans?
I wear a turtle around my neck. A couple of years ago, I was at this event and I had to pick a card. At that point in my life, I was receiving a lot of pressure from certain friends to work with them. I pulled a turtle card, which is known to be steady, solid, and comfortable in its own home.
I say no to a lot of offers I receive because I like what I’m doing, I like my pace, and I like the results I’m getting. I’ve been staying on my course for such a long time and not trying to dilute it. I’m quite speedy. But the turtle indicates to keep steady.
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