Gua Sha (pronounced gwah-shah) is the ancient practice of scraping the skin with a flat, smooth-edged tool to release toxins and relieve muscle tension. With origins in Traditional Chinese Medicine that date as far back as the Stone Age, Gua (scrape) Sha (fever) loosely translates to “scraping away illness by allowing it to escape through the skin”. Gua sha’s firm scraping action on the body typically leaves reddish welts called petechiae, but this is not to be confused with facial gua sha, which uses much gentler techniques to achieve beauty results.
Anti-aging benefits of gua sha scraping techniques
If done properly, gua sha shouldn’t hurt. On the contrary, it should feel like a soothing massage therapy that seems to hit all the right spots – aka the pressure points along the major meridian lines on your face. Gua sha tools dig deeper into the muscle than our fingers can, alleviating muscle tensions and stimulating blood flow. This in turn increases the flow of oxygen and nutrients to the skin, promoting a healthier and more youthful appearance. In fact, research suggests that continued use of facial gua sha improves microcirculation and blood flow by as much as 400%.
Facial gua sha massage, or the appropriately nicknamed “Eastern Facelift”, can produce the following anti-aging effects over time:
- Lifts and firms sagging skin and facial muscles
- De-puffs and improves facial contours for sculpted appearance
- Reduces the appearance of fine lines on the face and neck
- Improves overall facial complexion, including texture & radiance
- Helps to clear up bacterial skin infections, including acne, rosacea, and eczema
- Reduces the appearance of age spots and pigmentation
- Improves the appearance of dark and hollow under-eye bags caused by aging
- Helps to improve sleep
How to choose gua sha tools
First, you need to find the right tool to perform your daily gua sha ritual at home. Semiprecious stones such as jade, rose quartz, amethyst, and crystalline are carved to hug your facial contours with smooth and flat surfaces. Each stone is believed to be packed with various healing properties, which also make them the ideal tools for gua sha. For example, according to Traditional Chinese Medicine, jade can balance and relax your inner energies, reduce inflammation, and encourage lymphatic function, whereas rose quartz is best for detoxing and lifting the skin while draining the body of negative energies.
Gua sha scrapers come in all shapes and sizes, but usually tend to be flat stones that are smaller than your palm. The general rule of thumb is, the simpler the tool, the more beginner-friendly it will be. Make sure to find a tool that is comfortable and easy to grip with its scallops, dents, curves, and edges. We also advise running your finger over the edges to check for chips or damages to prevent cuts on your precious skin.
How to use your gua sha tool
Pick your favorite gua sha scraper and settle down for a DIY pampering session that will leave you feeling relaxed and looking radiant. We advise avoiding gua sha if you are prone to broken capillaries, and to avoid scraping over broken skin or acne.
For beginners, the below step-by-step guide is the perfect introduction into the world of gua sha:
- Wash your face with a gentle cleanser.
- Apply a layer of your favorite moisturizing serum on your face and neck.
- Stroke your gua sha scraper from just above your eyebrows in an arc towards your temples.
- Repeat the same motion while going up higher on the forehead.
- Use the curved part of your gua sha tool to scrape the area underneath the brow bone, starting from the inner corner of your eye.
- Start underneath the inner corner of your eye and sweep the contour of your under-eye “bags” until you reach your temple.
- Sweep across your cheek from the bottom of your nose towards your ear.
- Start at the corner of your mouth and sweep upwards towards your ear.
- Sweep from the middle of your chin to your earlobe.
- Scrape from under your chin to the bottom of your earlobe.
- Scrape from the bottom of your neck along the spine up to your hairline.
- Sweep all the lymph you’ve collected on the sides of your face into your lymphatic drainage by starting at the top of your forehead under your hairline, and sliding down to your temple and behind the ear until you reach your neck.
- Now repeat the same motions on the other side of your face.
- Drink a glass of warm water to help your body dispel the toxins.
Why we choose gua sha
Cosmetic procedures like injectable fillers and Botox can achieve immediate results like zapping fine lines or restoring volume – but with all “quick fix” solutions come a flood of caveats that many would rather avoid. Higher cost, more pain, and more risks and side effects involved, to name just a few. That’s why we love the gentle and non-invasive alternative technique of facial gua sha – a beauty ritual that has truly stood the test of time.