Discover our favorite Gua Sha benefits and learn how to effectively add this treatment to your routine with our tips here.
What is a Gua Sha?
At this point, I think everyone and their grandmother have seen the Gua Sha tool being used on social media marketing for skin care. Even if you aren't familiar with the name, the smooth gemstone tool being pressed across the face has gone mainstream on Instagram, Tik Tok and probably even in Facebook boomer land.
So what exactly is Gua Sha? Is it just an aesthetic trend or are there actually meritable benefits to this tool and technique? This article will explain all the benefits, how it works, and more.
Gua Sha benefits have made this ancient technique go from being very niche and specific to acupuncturists offices, to an at home self-care craze that has been made accessible to everyone with an interest for skincare. This article will explain what Gua Sha is, the many Gua Sha benefits, and when to use Gua Sha.
Gua Sha is a traditional Chinese skincare technique that dates back many centuries ago. It is also known as “Jade Scraping” and is the physical motion of scraping or stroking the skin with a smooth edged tool or stone. Traditionally it is used for larger areas of the body such as the back, neck, arms and legs. More recently, it has become popular to use specifically on the face as an anti aging and overall skin health treatment. It is known to increase circulation and lymphatic drainage. The tools now suggested and sold for home Gua Sha use are often made from Jade stone or another natural stone like smoothed clear or rose quartz crystal. When done on larger parts of the body, the tool is pressed down more firmly while the facial method is more gentle for the more sensitive skin that exists on the face. Gua Sha is often used accompanied by a facial oil to aid in the gliding of the stone across the face in a gentle yet effective way.
Gua Sha Benefits
Gua Sha benefits for the face include: reduce wrinkles, increase a youthful glow, and reduce sinus pressure. Gua Sha massage benefits in general include: aiding the body in the natural detoxification process, increasing lymphatic drainage, and helping to reduce anxiety and insomnia.
Benefit 1: The first and possibly most attractive benefit of Gua Sha facial massage is the ability to reduce wrinkles and contour your face. Gua Sha has been called the “Botox of the East”, and for good reason. Combined with a hydrating skin care routine, Gua Sha helps to smooth out wrinkles, and retrain the muscles in your face to be active, rather than wrinkle and sag- which can naturally happen with age. Retraining the muscles in your face can create a botox-like effect naturally, and without the risk of muscle atrophy- since you're training facial muscles rather than paralyzing them. In a similar fashion, this type of massage can naturally contour the face. With routine use of Gua Sha facial massage, one can train the muscles in the face to not only have less wrinkles, but also have a more lifted and plump appearance. Gua Sha also helps to reduce wrinkles and plump up skin by further penetrating hydrating and moisturizing skin care products into the skin. This helps your current anti-wrinkle serum or oil work more potently. Sign me up!
Benefit 2: Gua Sha massage benefits go beyond the superficial level. Lymphatic drainage and internal health benefits are also achieved through Gua Sha. Traditional Chinese Medicine never separated internal health from external health and beauty as the West and most modern cultures do. The original purpose of Gua Sha was to increase blood flow and lymph drainage to encourage the body’s own natural healing mechanism. The benefits of increased blood flow and lymphatic drainage are: an increased ability to fight infection, an aid in scar tissue healing, improved digestion, improved cellulite and stretch marks, boosting weight loss, improved post exercise recovery, less acne and less swelling and inflammation. Let’s just say Gua Sha massage is a part of a healthy diet! Ha ha.
Benefit 3: Another Gua Sha benefit is its ability to reduce puffiness and inflammation revealing a healthy youthful glow. Gua Sha has been shown to have benefits for nearly all skin types. Because it increases the uptake of your skincare routine, it will help everyone absorb their individual skin care actives to help their unique skin care goals. It has been theorized that most skincare concerns are a result of inflammation. Gua Sha massage helps decrease puffiness by gently moving out excess fluid retention in the face and encouraging normal healthy blood flow, speeding up our body’s natural de-puffing process. In terms of inflammation, gentle Gua Sha massage can aid in speeding up healing by increasing both blood and lymph circulation so that the inflammation can pass smoothly and swiftly.
Benefit 4: Reduce tension in neck, back, and shoulders. The muscles in our neck, back and shoulders hold a lot of stressful tension and stiffness from the workplace or everyday life stress. Neck back and shoulder gua sha massage can be done both professionally and at home with the proper technique. It is said that emotional tension and trauma is stored in our muscles. When you release the built up tension in these areas via Gua Sha massage, you can also experience a reduction in anxiety and insomnia.
Benefit 5: Of all the Gua Sha benefits for face, reducing sinus pressure is the least aesthetically related benefit. Many people struggle with allergies, chronic sinus infections, or the occasional cold that leads to the discomfort of sinus pressure. Through the lymphatic drainage and increased blood flow effects of the Gua Sha massage, you may experience sinus pressure release and relief.
When to Use a Gua Sha
It is best to use Gua Sha on a freshly clean face that has been toned, serumed and then applied with a trusted facial oil that will aid in the gliding technique of the gua sha stone across the face. It is advised to start out doing Gua Sha only once a day- either morning or evening before eventually experimenting with incorporating the massage into both your morning and evening skincare routine.
How to do facial Gua Sha at home:
First off, you want to make sure you have a gentle tool for the skin on your face which is much more sensitive and thin than skin on the rest of your body. You can use a Gua Sha tool made of gemstone or you can use something similar in texture and smoothness like a small wooden spoon. After washing and toning your skin, apply your favorite facial oil like our Most Wanted and then begin the Gua Sha massage technique. Dividing your face in half, gently glide the tool from the center of your face to the outward of your face, in one smooth line. Avoid rubbing back and forth- as that can loosen skin and lead to wrinkles and a reduction in proper lymphatic drainage. It is important to swipe in one motion at once and towards the lymphatic drainage pathways that are near your ears, jawline and under the chin. After you complete this routine, you may continue your normal skin care routine. Keep this blog post of ours in mind when deciding on the order in which you apply your skincare products. For daytime it's always important to include a mineral SPF sunscreen and for evening you can top off your gua sha massage with a rosewater or lavender spray and some Do Not Disturb CBD body cream or a complete and relaxing wind down bedtime routine.
So, whether you want to achieve less wrinkles, a more youthful glow, or ease physical tension and inflammation, Gua Sha massage can help you achieve a myriad of skin care and overall health goals. Adding this step into your routine can help your current products work better, while also adding an extra meditative moment for self love and self care!