I first started learning about the ways massage and other forms of tissue manipulation could benefit the face while working for the Japanese skincare company Shiseido in 2001. The aesthetics education I had received in cosmetology school in the late 90s was mostly focused on the structure of the skin itself. Massage was primarily taught as a feel good way to apply products, aka the real focus of a basic facial service.
But Shiseido had a different philosophy. Although their focus remained on products (they are a skincare company, after all), they also introduced me to the idea that there were structures under the skin that played a role in the appearance of the face—such as muscles that could become tight and lymph fluid that could stagnate. It was also there that I started learning about the impact that botanical ingredients could have on the skin when applied topically.
When I enrolled in acupuncture school in 2003, botanical medicine and structural alignment had already become my primary forms of healthcare. The intensive tui na (Chinese medical massage) training I received in school further revealed the importance of unseen structures in the health and vitality of the body.
It was in tui na class that I learned about the fascia, ligaments, and tendons that held together the other structures of the body, and how disruptions to their normal movement could cause a chain reaction that lead to bigger health problems, even ones seemingly unrelated to their function.
I also started learning about the ways physical and emotional trauma can be held in these structures, and how releasing trauma stored in the tissues could impact not just the body, but the mind and our emotional wellbeing as well.
And most importantly, I learned how to diagnose and treat the problems that arose from these issues. Using traditional Chinese medicine as a starting point, I learned methods of physical manipulation that included acupuncture, tui na, qi gong, and craniosacral therapy, as well as internal medicinal treatments such as Chinese and Western herbalism, nutrition therapy, and homeopathy.
When I graduated, I started a practice focused on hormonal health—treating things like fertility problems, menstrual issues, and menopausal symptoms. I was amazed at the transformation I saw in my client’s skin as we addressed the other symptoms they were experiencing. Changes like the dry, crepey skin of menopause becoming hydrated and plump once underlying Yin deficiencies were corrected, or the acne of PCOS disappearing as internal stagnation was dispersed and the free flow of Qi was restored. Throughout this time I completed hundreds of hours of continuing education to further my knowledge of the body’s systems and potential ways to treat issues that could arise. I also continued to offer holistic aesthetics services and facial acupuncture treatments in my own practice, and at the office of a local naturopath.
As time has gone on and I’ve began to deal with the effects of aging on my own body, my interest in skin health has become more personal. Over the past five years I’ve become especially interested in Chinese medical therapies as they can be applied to the face, primarily gua sha and cupping. After attending a gua sha workshop with world renowned aesthetician Cecily Braden in 2019, I was in the process of establishing a gua sha facial service at Canyon Ranch in Tucson when the pandemic forced the temporary closure of the resort in 2020.
Since deciding not to return to Canyon Ranch after its reopening, I’ve recognized my need for autonomy in my own work. My passion is working with clients to understand what they truly need in the moment, and creating hyper-individualized treatments, using whatever modalities are best suited to their goals.
At the beginning of every treatment, I assess each client: asking questions, taking pulses, examining the tongue, and palpating affected areas. From there, I determine what the greatest need is on that particular day, and, drawing from over two decades of experience in structural rebalancing and internal health, design a treatment and home care plan to best address each client’s needs in that moment.
As our time together progresses, you’ll begin to see lasting improvements in your skin and facial structure, but you’ll also likely begin to notice other benefits as well—such as better digestion, improved sleep, more patience, less anxiety, and an overall feeling of increased resilience and wellbeing.
I’m now accepting new clients! To make an appointment, click here.