I caught up with the delightful & exceptionally knowledgable Stephanie Totman from The Green Room in Hastings to chat all things skin (+ beyond) and namely the beauty art form that Stephanie has so absolutely perfected, Gua Sha facial massage.
Recently, Gua Sha & other beauty tools such as jade rollers have received a lot of attention. And rightly so, this ancient Chinese medicine technique was originally developed for the body some 700 years back, to rid of health ailments, pain & to re-establish qi balance removing stagnation in the body.
With an adaption to the facial Gua Sha massage technique, it has taken the beauty world by storm as a natural practice to smooth, de-puff and sculpt the skin. And whilst you can see a specialist like Stephanie for a mind-blowing facial, you can also take this wonderful ritual & adapt it into your at-home routine as long as it is learned correctly, Stephanie tells me.
Applying light-medium pressure is more than enough to stimulate & work with your sensitive lymphatic system to get possible stagnation cleared & flowing. ‘When everything flows, it brings about health & a glow to the skin.’ Stephanie explained knowingly.
She suggests that we start at the neck to open the portals for flow and finish at the collar bone. ‘To move gently & slowly, upwards & outwards.’
The results emerge as an instant de-puffing, Steph says that you can literally see the drainage & feel the fluids shifting. A sculpted skin takes form, as well as a beautiful clarity to the skin. Fluids, blood & oxygen rush to the surface of the skin and you are left with an incredible glow from breaking down all of the sluggish & dull skin cells.
Like the Corbin Rd. Bian Gua Sha stone is one of Stephanie's favourites to use on her clients. Bian is an amalgamate stone made of some 40+ minerals known for their healing & rejuvenating properties.
Fun fact; Bian stone formed when a meteor struck a mountain in China 65 million years ago. Bian emits measurable ultrasound pulsations, far-infrared waves as well as emitting negative ions - all of which are known to have anti-oxidants & anti-ageing benefits.
The holistic approach to health and beauty has not always been Stephanie's way forward. Starting out in traditional beauty therapist training, Stephanie explains that a lot of her initial training explored in-depth skin knowledge but solely focused on the topical application neglecting the all-important internal skin functional factors.
When Stephanie had her children, she soon learned that what you consume, environmental & lifestyle factors can affect both you & your child. This opened Stephanie's mind to self explore ayurvedic & eastern medicine, also leading to gut and hormonal health research, which resulted in different approaches altogether in both her personal & professional life. Stephanie firmly stands by the statement that ‘beautiful skin starts on the inside.’She also believes that living a life of balance & contentment plays a large role in our overall health & therefore our outwards appearance.
This leads to the practice of protecting our precious energy. Being in the healing role that Stephanie so beautifully undertakes has the utmost importance to her. Stephanie advises that boundaries on how many clients she sees a week are paramount. ‘ Running on empty really does not serve my clients, therefore me or my family ultimately - so I make sure I recoup. ‘
This looks like meditation daily, sometimes more often, to recharge the energy load. This practice allows Stephanie to keep giving.
She also loves her bed, any time of the day/night. She thrives in a peaceful & quiet environment to rejuvenate - usually with a good book. I think that we can resonate with that & apply it in our own lives.
I asked Stephanie for her holistic beauty tips including changing things up for the cooler months. Anyone that knows her can see that she glows like a goddess - so naturally, I wanted in. Topically, sunscreen - 365 days a year. Just because you can’t see the sun it does not mean that harmful rays aren’t present. Stephanie suggests a natural & mineral sunscreen - watch out for chemical-laden screens that do more harm than good.
Stephanie's approach to the cooler months had an emphasis on locking in moisture wherever possible, this looks like layering your skincare with hydrosols, and serums to then protecting all of that with skin oil, our Restorative Face Oil is the perfect candidate.
Inviting massage into the skin is great to remove any fluid build-up & stagnation. Whilst Stephanie loves to see that facial massage tools are having their time in the limelight she also says that the very best tool you can have, you already own. ‘ Our hands connect us to ourselves through touch & serve as a barometer as to what is happening with our skin. ‘
This is also why our Cleansing Balm reigns supreme for her. ‘ I just love it, it smells divine. It’s just like butter - so yummy!. It’s also a beautiful massage medium, it offers a great slip for facial massage. Don’t be scared to move the skin, it doesn’t create saggy & wrinkled skin, that's totally been debunked. Cleansing is a fabulous time to do this - really get in there! ‘
Sipping on warm water as opposed to cold water is far more receptive for the body as it allows the hydration to absorb better. Herbal teas & tonics are a must too for extra liquid uptake including more nutrients too. Also, follow the season food wise - eat what's in abundance. These foods are higher in the nutrients that we require for our health at the specific time of year.
Whilst we totally encourage your at-home skin rituals to be consistent - as this is what we do the majority of the time & it is of great importance to maintaining our skin. We also totally endorse an indulgent time out & letting a true professional, like Stephanie, take matters into her own hands - quite literally.
Stephanie's holistic facials incorporate nourishing & ancient rituals that, in my opinion, are yet to be surpassed in Hawkes Bay. Book online to The Green Room, you won’t look back.
Kelly @ Corbin Rd.