What is gua sha
Gua Sha (pronounced “gwa-shah”) is a tool used to promote circulation in the skin.
Chinese medicine has used the gua sha tool for thousands of years to increase the flow of qi (pronounced “chee”)—or energy flow—to help the body heal itself.
When you give yourself a facial massage with a gua sha tool, you’re encouraging lymph drainage by scraping the water and lymph under your skin to the edges of your face and pulling it down your neck.
Circulating the blood under your skin brings in new blood and oxygen to create fresher, brighter, glowier looking skin!
Traditional Chinese gua sha came in the form of spoons and other items. Today, gua sha tools are typically made out of jade, rose quartz, or mineral-rich stone, and come in a wide variety of shapes, each tailored to different areas of the face. A broader base is good for cheeks and forehead, a small curved side is for the brow bone and under eyes, and a v-shape works well for the jaw line.
Benefits of gua sha
Aids in lymphatic drainage (reduction of accumulated fluid in your tissues)
Relieves jaw and muscle tension
Helps press skincare products deeper into skin
How to gua sha facial massage
Before you begin:
Gently cleanse your face and neck.
Apply a facial serum or gua sha oil to assist with gliding the tool across your skin. Reapply serum or oil, as needed throughout your gua sha session.
Find the side of the gua sha tool that fits best with your face contour. You might use different sides of the tool for different areas of your face. For example, use the divet side for under eyes and the curved side for forehead.
Hold your gua sha tool at a 15-degree angle (it should almost be flat against your skin).
Use medium to firm pressure, but it shouldn’t hurt. Gua sha massage should feel relaxing. A little redness is normal, as the point is to bring more blood to the skin’s surface.
Try not to lift the stone too much as you massage. Don’t pull or drag the tool across the skin. You want a smooth, gliding movement.
Steps for a gua sha facial massage:
STEP #1. Starting on your lower neck, place your gua sha tool on one side of your lower neck and glide upwards on the skin—using a sweeping, upward stroke—working your way up and out towards your ear. Remember to hold your tool at a 15-degree angle, almost flush against your skin.
STEP #2. Once you’re near your ear, stop to wiggle the tool a bit to encourage lymphatic drainage. Continue these strokes working toward the middle of your neck. Adjust pressure to what feels comfortable to you, and add more serum or oil, if needed.
STEP #3. Repeat for each area of your face.
Chin/Jaw - Start from the center of your chin and sweep the gua sha tool across your jawline until you reach your ear. Stop to wiggle the tool a bit. Repeat 3-5 times on each side.
Cheeks - Start beside your nose and sweep outwards across your cheek until you reach your ear. Stop to wiggle the tool a bit. Repeat 3-5 times on each side.
Under eyes - This area is sensitive, so apply very light pressure. Glide the gua sha tool from the inner corner of the eye to your temple. Stop to wiggle the tool a bit. Repeat 3-5 times on each side.
Brow bone - Glide the gua sha tool from the inner brow to your temple. Stop to wiggle the tool a bit. Repeat 3-5 times on each side.
Forehead - Sweep the tool in an upwards motion from the eyebrows to the hairline. Stop to wiggle the tool a bit. Repeat 3-5 times on each side.
STEP #4. Moisturize. Finish off your facial massage by applying a facial moisturizer.
How long to gua sha
A general rule of thumb is to do 3-5 strokes per area. But doing more strokes is perfectly fine! Take your time and enjoy the process. Once you get the hang of the gua sha technique, you can do it anywhere—whether you’re watching TV or soaking in a bath.
As you’re starting out, use gua sha on your face two to three times a week to check for any skin irritation, swelling, or discomfort. If you respond well, facial gua sha can be a relaxing daily practice.
Keep your gua sha tool in the fridge or pop it in a glass of ice water before using for a cooling effect.
Always wash your gua sha stone before and after each use with warm water and a mild soap to avoid spreading bacteria to your face and causing breakouts.
If you hold a lot of tension in your jaw, take time to focus there before moving to a different area. You can even use your gua sha tool around your shoulders, back of your thighs, or any place you’re experiencing pain or hold tension.
Give it a go!
Recommended gua sha tools:
Check out People's Herbs large selection of gua sha tools.
Recommended gua sha oil:
ReDermaVive's Golden Goddess Gua Sha oil provides the perfect slip for your gua sha tool to glide over your skin.
This content is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your health provider with questions you may have about a medical condition.
How To Gua Sha Facial Massage
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