There’s no denying that we’re in the midst of a gadget boom, but it’s also good to bring our routines back to basics every once in a while. Bone tapping, also known as face tapping, is a useful, low-fi alternative approach that fans claim raises your wellness and skin-smoothing game – all without spending a single penny.
What is bone tapping?
Bone tapping is exactly as it sounds: fingertips are used to rhythmically tap along the cheekbones, forehead and jawbone.
“Bone tapping is based on the ancient Chinese principles of acupuncture,” explains cosmetic accupuncturist Sarah Bradden. Not only has she included it as part of The Bradden Method but she claims it is her best hack for slowing down the ageing process.
“Instead of using needles, it utilises your fingertips. It involves tapping different acupoints with light-medium pressure with your fingertips several times. It’s a great way to keep your bones healthy, enhance skin vitality and boost collagen production.” All of which explains why face tapping has exploded on TikTok recently.
While beauty brands are jumping on the mind-body connection, popularising the idea that mental, emotional and physical health all impact each other, this has actually been a core tenet of Traditional Chinese Medicine over millennia. Much of this connection focuses on invisible meridian points on the face that are essentially energetic channels in the body. “Tapping on these acupoints restores the normal flow of energy (or Chi), which are felt to be responsible for health,” Sarah adds.
Does bone tapping actually work?
While the science around bone tapping is still thin on the ground, there are plenty of studies on how piezoelectricity plays a key role in bone health. Put simply, piezoelectricity is an electrical charge resulting from mechanical stress. A 2023 study published in the Materials, Chemistry and Physics Journal found that the piezoelectric effect enhanced bone tissue and, in doing so, maintained bone health and prevented bone loss.
“When human bone is subjected to pressure, it produces piezoelectricity, which, in turn, attracts osteoblasts — the cells that build bones,” Sarah explains. “These osteoblasts deposit calcium and other minerals on the stressed parts of the bone and can, in some cases, make them stronger and denser.”
So, where exactly does tapping come into all this? According to Sarah, “tapping your face might prevent, or even reverse, the bone loss that can cause the facial skeleton to shrink, causing the skin to become too big and sag – all of which is the main cause of wrinkles.”
It’s also thought that tapping on the meridian points reduces activity in the amygdala, the part of the brain linked to your fight or flight response. “Studies have shown that these acupoints contain a high density of nerve endings, which release neurochemicals such as serotonin and GABA when activated by tapping,” Sarah notes. “The release of these compounds can lead to immediate but temporary calmness, happiness, and relaxation,” which alone sounds like a good argument for giving bone tapping a try.
How to try bone tapping at home
- Choose a time to perform face tapping when you can relax, so you don’t feel rushed, such as right before bed.
- Cleanse your face and apply a light face oil.
- Begin tapping with 1 or 2 fingers. Using light-medium pressure, start with the collar bone area and work up your neck, along the jaw, under the eyes and all the way around the eye socket.
- Move up to the forehead and don’t forget the scalp and back of head.
- Tap for around 50 seconds per area and repeat as many times as you like.
For more from Fiona Embleton, GLAMOUR’s Acting Associate Beauty Director, follow her on @fiembleton.
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