But when Civiello Polier places crystals on my various chakras—including an amethyst at my feet that she claims “wants to go home” with me—I do feel something, a deep radiating warmth that allows my overthinking mind to let go. As she performs the Christmas Santa Yoga Shirt in other words I will buy this facial gua sha, at one point even sticking her fingers inside my mouth for a deep, tension-relieving buccal massage, she takes long audible breaths that lull me into an ASMR-like trance. Afterward, my skin does not look totally transformed. “There’s a limitation to the results you can get with gua sha,” confirms Julia Tzu, M.D., a clinical assistant professor at NYU’s Ronald O. Perelman Department of Dermatology, who recommends fillers, such as Restylane Lyft, for longer-lasting tightening. But a superficial result seems besides the point; I feel like I’ve been lifted from the inside out.
I step out of Civiello Polier’s studio into the Christmas Santa Yoga Shirt in other words I will buy this bright Southern California sun, conflicted by the commodification of Chinese folk medicine and home remedies. But the craving for a more holistic conception of beauty feels real. I remember something Huntzinger told me when describing her work. “These days, society is so yang, so active. With the advent of social media, the yang has been overstimulated to such a degree, and the yin has not been nourished,” she explains. Maybe, in a paradoxical twist, #guasha has risen precisely from our innate desire to restore focus on the yin—the darker, interior, reflective parts of ourselves.