The Who, What, Why, And How Of Gua Sha Facial Massages
Thanks to TikTok, Gua Sha is having its moment in the skincare spotlight, but it’s not for nothing. Read on.
Gua Sha, is a traditional Chinese medicine practice, meaning “scraping sand.” Or, in other words, scraping skin. And its ancient roots have nothing to do with facials and everything to do with treating chronic pain and inflammation of the body.
The practice of Gua Sha involves a simple tool. Traditionally, they were bones, horns, or the back of a spoon. It was used to "scrape" parts of the body that were inflamed and restore Qi's flow in the area. Qi is the energy that flows through a person's body. It's believed that when the Qi is blocked, Gua Sha helps move it along through the body, releasing the tension and or illnesses.
The long and consistent scraping of the body produces pink or purple bruises known as Petechiae, which goes away in a few days. Gua Sha promotes detoxification, relaxing of muscles and other inflammations, and encourages healing of the body.
It's great for any person and was commonly used for all age groups, from children to the elderly. However, a person struggling with serious health issues should always consult with their doctor before trying something new, regardless of whether it's considered non-invasive.
Gua Sha for the face is relatively new compared to its traditional roots and method, but it’s everything that it’s hyped up to be and more.
What are the benefits of Gua Sha facials?
First, we want to clarify that practicing Gua Sha on the face is much gentler and does not and should not leave your face bruised. Now that we made that clear, let's continue.
A Gua Sha facial promotes lymphatic drainage—our waste drainage system that drains our body of fluids. It increases blood circulation, reduces overall puffiness, especially under the eyes, and lifts the skin and face. It also helps break the tension in our facial muscles that contributes to fine lines and helps relax those muscles.
The time you add Gua Sha to your day also matters. Mornings are great to depuff the face. And nights are for jumpstarting your relaxing nighttime routine by releasing any muscle tension you may have.
Hot tip: always drink water before and after to help your lymphatic system drain and to reduce the chances of dehydration.
What tools do I use to Gua Sha?
There are many stones on the market today, but they aren’t all created equally. Traditionally, the tools used for Gua Sha were flat, smooth objects like horns, ceramic spoons, or smooth coins.
Jade—a stone believed to have a natural cooling effect that alleviates inflammation—and semi-precious stones like Rose Quartz are the most popular in the skincare industry today. Not only that, but they look great on a vanity table and are very Instagram-worthy if you ask us.
Oh, and don’t forget to use your favorite oil or skincare product to lubricate the skin before practicing Gua Sha.
How do you Gua Sha your face?
Stroking your face with a stone may seem pretty straightforward and easy, but the methodology behind it is anything but that. A deep dive into facial reflexology and meridians is in order to further understand this, but to keep things moving, here's an easy step-by-step guide on how to Gua Sha your face at home.
If you need a visual illustration, Youtube has tons of step-by-step tutorials on Gua Sha facials to check out. But remember, the key is always to move your tool outward to push out the fluids so your lymphatic system gets to work.
- Apply face oil or a skincare product to your face for lubrication.
- With the Gua Sha on its side, place it on the chin and move it upwards toward the ear along your jawline. Repeat on the other side.
- Place the Gua Sha just above the mouth and the side of the nose and drag it up and outward, following the contours of your cheekbone up to the hairline. Repeat on the other side.
- With the curvier side of the Gua Sha, place it under the eye and gently move toward the hairline. Rember to make sure your under-eye is very well lubricated to not pull on sensitive skin. Repeat on the other side.
- Place the Gua Sha above the eyebrow and follow the shape of your eye outwards toward your hairline. Repeat on the other side.
- With the longest side of the Gua Sha, place it above the eyebrow again and drag it upward to the top of the forehead. Repeat on the other side.