Gua sha has been all the rage in recent years. But what is it? Does it work? We’ll guide you through everything you need to know to get started.
WHAT IS GUA SHA?
Gua, meaning ‘scrape,’ and sha, meaning ‘sand,’ is an ancient healing technique used in traditional Chinese medicine. The name refers to the minor, speckled bruising that may (temporarily) appear on the skin post-treatment. This practice involves scraping the skin with a smooth-edged/rounded jade or quartz massage tool to stimulate blood flow and lymphatic drainage.
BENEFITS OF GUA SHA
Improves blood circulation: Gua sha may improve microcirculation, which will contribute towards tighter, lifted skin and a brighter complexion.
Promotes lymphatic drainage: The application of light strokes on the skin reduces puffiness and inflammation by keeping your lymph fluid flowing.
Relieves muscle tension / Sculpts facial muscles: Gua sha helps relax facial muscles, leaving the skin with a more sculpted appearance and minimized wrinkles and fine lines.
Reduces side effects of migraines, tight muscles and headaches.
HOW TO GUA SHA
1. Prep your skin.
First, it’s important to make sure that your skin is clean. Apply a few drops of facial oil to your face to create a smoother surface/base for your massage tool to glide on. The tool also helps the oil absorb better into your skin. Sounds like a win-win to us! Our favourites to pair with gua sha are the Matahari and Bulan facial oils.
2. Hold the tool nearly flat to the skin.
Apply light to medium pressure with slow, even strokes. Using too much pressure may cause irritation or bruising.
3. Start from your neck moving upwards.
You might be eager to start with the face because that is where you want to see the most results. It is best to glide in the direction of lymph flow by starting from your neck and making your way up (thus encouraging lymphatic drainage)!
For best results, we recommend that you practice gua sha in the morning - when your face is at its puffiest!
Take deep breaths and work slowly to release tension.
Note: Avoid using gua sha on problem areas (ie. open wounds, breakouts) and on areas with filler. Drinks lots of water after your Gua Sha practice.
AREAS TO USE GUA SHA
Neck: Sweep the long side of the tool from your collarbone up to your earlobe. Repeat on the other side and move towards the centre of your neck.
Jaw: Moving along your jawline, sweep the heart-shaped (or curved) side from under the centre of your chin toward your earlobe. Do a gentle wiggle motion when you reach the end to help relieve the tension in your jaw. Repeat on the other side.
Cheeks: Sweep the long side of the tool under and across your cheekbone, toward your ear. Repeat on the other side.
Under eyes: Using the curved side, start from the inner corner of your eye and move the tool under your eye and towards your temple. Repeat on the other side.
Eyebrows: Rest the tool over your eyebrow and swipe toward your hairline. Sweep upwards from the brow bone toward your forehead. Repeat on the other side.
Forehead: Starting from your brow bone, glide the tool up to your hairline. Repeat this motion starting from the middle of your eyebrows, and again on the other side.
Tip: For maximum results, do each movement at least 5 times.
GUA SHA TOOL RECOMMENDATION
It’s a good idea to choose a massage tool that has a range of contours and bevels. We recommend our best selling Holistick Gua Sha Tool for beginners and avid gua sha advocates alike. The jade stone has four sides, with each side serving a different purpose. This way, you can target various parts of your face and body and get the most out of your self-care.
Long side: sculpt and define the natural curves of your face, promote lymphatic drainage, de-puff and reduce excess fluid build-up
Heart-shaped side: contour and lift the face, massage and soften fine lines and wrinkles, relieve facial tension
Pointy side: apply acupressure to release tightness, relax facial muscles, stimulate pressure points
Teeth side: promote blood circulation for glowing skin, massage forehead and scalp area, increase blood flow for plump, youthful skin
Revamp your daily routine with a relaxing and good-for-you ritual that you can implement from the comfort of your own home. With this, you can holistically work towards achieving a smoother, youthful complexion. Trust us, your skin will thank you later.
Written by: Anna Ky