Want to instantly feel better? Try out gua sha. Gua sha, a full-body massage method, includes rapidly scraping the skin with a smooth, flat instrument, frequently made from stones like jade, rose quartz, or obsidian, using strong upward strokes to reduce pain and encourage sluggish energy to move through the body to aid in healing. The visage-friendly version applies the same ideas but does so far more delicately.
If you are familiar with the jade roller then no doubt you have also heard about the coveted pebble version called Gua Sha with its ability to chisel out cheekbones even when they are barely visible. While riding on a wave of hype, this beauty tool is probably one worth getting for its ability to depuff face and neck while dialing up skin glow.
We can give you a whole history lesson on this gorgeous lymph flushing skin care and vanity gemstone but we would rather focus on telling you, from an expert’s point of view, how this may benefit your skin. What does Gua Sha even mean? Where does it come from and how can we take advantage to restore healthy skin and beauty?
What is Gua Sha in History
After hearing the numerous acclaimed benefits of this tiny stone for skin and beauty, you may wonder where it all came from. The oriental technique, gua sha, is essentially face scraping or jade scraping which uses the said material to rub the skin off of toxins while stimulating lymphatic drainage. It is essential soothing the skin for it to heal itself of the strains of heat toxins and all the material we throw at it in our strenuous modern lives that it cannot handle.
The Gua Sha technique is actually centuries old and was originally a full body rather than a face and neck ordeal. It is common in oriental cultures being shared between the Chinese and Japanese cultures at some point. You see the gua sha, when done correctly entails more than just scraping. It is a specific gliding technique mastered over the centuries and passed down from master to student over and over, while being perfected.
Ancient Chinese medicine gifted this art to us along with acupuncture and herbal therapies for natural healing. The Chi of Qi is an energy that flows within us and when misaligned causes ill health. A stagnant Chi causes illness and pain and the jade stone is an excellent choice of material and form to nudge it along, reducing inflammation and promoting inward healing.
What is the Gua Sha Tool Made of?
While ancient oriental medicine used a number of herbs and implements for the holistic treatments, modern beauty salons place importance on the stones used for the implements —mostly jade and rose quartz. In ancient China for instance, you didn’t have to be in possession of the vanity gems just to perform Gua Sha; normal household tools could be used instead to scrape the skin and produce the same effects. That does not discredit the use of stone tools which had the right shape for the specific task and the Chinese did use jade a lot for these treatments.
The practice has been popular for centuries in Asia and is only recently dawning on the western civilization. This has been attributed to the ‘70s and ’80s influx of immigrants of Asian decent and the mass adoption in the US wellness industry. Since then there has been more than enough scrutiny into Gua Sha and some if not most of it supporting its acclaimed positive therapeutic benefits.
How to Use a Gua Sha Tool
Don’t go rogue right now. We advise users to carefully adhere to the instructions provided with the instrument they are using and not make up their own method. Many beauty bloggers have been caught performing it incorrectly in their instructional videos, if not outright incorrectly.
1. Select a tool
Choose the gua sha tool form that feels the most comfortable to you from a selection of shapes that include those with deeper grooves and gentler curves. According to Huntzinger, certain stones have various powers. For example, jade is said to be balanced, but obsidian is utilized for healing and protection.
2. Be Gentle
Apply a moisturizing mist or face oil after applying moisturizer to freshly cleaned skin. There has to be some slide so that the instrument may glide over your skin without tugging. Always use the tool with short, single-direction strokes rather than dragging it back and forth to prevent skin irritation.
3. Perfect your skill
Apply light to medium pressure as you glide the tool from the center of the face toward the hairline while holding the tool at a 45-degree angle and maintaining tight skin with your other hand. Huntzinger loves to massage the widest portions of the face with the tool’s notched end and the thinnest sections of the face with the flat end. Always start from the neck up and work in zones while repeating each action five times.
To learn the moves, look below.
Neck: Use the instrument in upward strokes from the back of the neck toward the front of the body to relieve tension.
Cheeks and Jaw: Follow the jawline with the tool’s notched edge from the chin’s center to the ear, then gently drag the tool in a downward motion toward the collarbone. Work your way around the lips and follow the cheekbone to the hairline by beginning at the bridge of the nose. To assist relieve tension, wriggle the instrument once you’ve reached the front of the earlobe.
Eyes: From the inner corner to the hairline, sweep the tool’s tiniest tip across the under-eye region. Repeat the action on the brows, raising them upward along the brow’s natural arch toward the temple.
Forehead: Work upward strokes with the tool’s long, curved edge while positioning it on the forehead.
The Benefits of Gua Sha
Modern jade scraping may be less intrusive, but it may still produce some rather remarkable outcomes, such as:
- Increases blood flow
- Increases blood flow
- Promotes the production of collagen
- Softens wrinkles and fine lines
- Reduces inflammation, puffiness, and dark under-eye circles
- Skin becomes temporarily tighter and looks more radiant
- Face muscles are sculpted
- Relaxes tension
Anecdotal evidence shows that Gua Sha is useful for treatment of migraines, perimenopause, inflammatory symptoms, anxiety, and muscular tension. From a scientific standpoint, you have the lymphatic system to thank for the relieving effects. Blood circulates under the cardiovascular system with dedicated vessels which distribute and redistribute the vital life fluid. But with the lymphatic system you have muscle contractions and expansions to thank for the movement of the lymphatic fluid.
What are the side effects of Gua Sha
Although gua sha has extremely minimal negative effects, it might cause skin bruising. Because you are pressing firmly, pushing, and scratching the skin, it might occasionally create bruises. When performed regularly, the exercise may make you feel exhausted since your body may feel overwhelmed if toxins are discharged from it too rapidly.
Gua Sha is not suitable for people who have rashes, sunburns, or problems with blood coagulation. Depending on the pressure and your propensity for bruising, your skin may seem somewhat pink or red after a treatment; nonetheless, it is still best to use modest pressure. However, aside from that, gua sha is generally a good choice for all skin types if performed appropriately. Always consult your doctor if you have any particular questions.
How Often Should You Gua Sha?
While once a week is recommended for gua sha, the frequency of use will depend on your skin type and your skin’s tolerance for the method. As you start to familiarize yourself with it and get more comfortable with your techniques, you should aim to use gua sha at least two to three times per week. Once you get into a routine of performing gua sha on yourself, you’ll achieve the best results doing it daily.
DIY vs. In-Office Gua Sha
The specialists we spoke to frequently extolled the virtues of DIY gua sha facials, unlike, for instance, microneedling or microdermabrasion where it may be very difficult to get at-home results that are equivalent to the in-office version. However, it’s a good idea to see a professional first if you’re new to gua sha. Your esthetician can assist you learn the right method to use in order to get the best results in addition to giving you a professional treatment. Use a quality gua sha tool for five minutes every morning. Apply a facial oil or serum first, then use a stone to gently brush the cheekbones and jaw along the neck toward the hairline. This helps drain fluid downward and encourages circulation.
Ultimately, experts are better knowledgeable about the precise and subtle gua sha procedures that may be performed on different parts of the face; as a consequence, an in-office gua sha facial will provide more noticeable effects. However, doing some DIY every day in between treatments is a terrific method to both improve and keep up those results.
How Do I Choose the Perfect Gua Sha Tool
While the type of stone used for gua sha is not important, the shape certainly is. Find one that is smooth and rounded and fits the curvature of the area you want to treat. It should be comfortable to grip so you can evenly apply the strokes to your skin.
Shape: In order to get the perfect curvature to match the angles of your face, we advise using gua sha instruments with a variety of curves on each edge. If this seems difficult, keep in mind that having a tool with a variety of angles and curves will give you more alternatives, especially as you figure out what works for you. You may use your tool on different sections of your face, including your cheekbones and jawline, thanks to the range of contours.
Material: Another factor to consider is the stone’s composition. Some stones are particularly suitable for face procedures because they contain antibacterial properties. Some materials, such as those fashioned from nephrite jade and amethyst, have a cooling effect naturally, which helps mitigate the warming impact of the process (even with a gentle gliding motion, there is some natural friction that stimulates circulation and causes warmth). Rose quartz’s innate soothing properties make it the ideal choice for anybody with sensitive skin.
Craftsmanship: Concerned about the quality of a gua sha tool? A quality tool can frequently weigh a little bit more than a copycat or man-made synthetic tool if it is crafted from genuine crystal or another natural material. A heavier tool can help you get better results simply by feeling more substantial in your palm while you do your methods, allowing for deeper penetration – which gives more stress/tension release. However, the weight of your stone will ultimately come down to personal taste.
Mystic Powers: Do you practice mysticism or hold transcendental beliefs about crystal power? If so, a lot of the materials utilized in high-quality gua sha instruments have the ability to open your qi and purify your chakras.
Quality of the Materials: It’s crucial to think about a gua sha tool’s quality and construction before buying. Cutting shortcuts here is not a good idea. It is preferable to get one or two high-quality tools as opposed to several less expensive ones. The higher-quality stones will not only last longer but also have a far stronger therapeutic impact.
Nothing but time will convince us that this age-old technique is a skincare tip we should all be aware of. Gua sha is a fantastic non-invasive method, but it cannot be coupled with other operations, it is crucial to note. You must wait at least four weeks after your most recent injection before starting a gua sha program if you’ve had face botox or other injectables during the previous three to four weeks. You should never do gua sha in the four weeks immediately following any facial injections.
Last but not least, gua sha produces satisfying outcomes, albeit the majority of the immediate advantages are transient. If you want to keep enjoying the advantages, it’s crucial to include gua sha in your weekly routine.