How to use Gua Sha for firmer, glowing skin!
If you have been searching for a way to have a dewy, glowing complexion without breaking the bank then it might be time you meet your next skin saviour, the Gua Sha tool. Some industry experts that use this traditional Chinese healing method even boast that it ‘will give you an instant facelift and your best skin ever!’ You may have seen these tools all over your Instagram feed and have been wondering what all the hype is about. In this definitive guide we bring you everything you need to know to get started with your Gua Sha routine today.
What is a Gua Sha?
It is a traditional natural Chinese medicine practice that involves scraping a blunt tool across your skin to help relieve tension, boost blood circulation and combat puffiness by encouraging lymphatic drainage. These tools are carved to have a flat, firm surface and are typically made from rose quartz, jade or other semi-precious stones. Originally a treatment most commonly used on the body in recent years it has been adapted to be used as a facial therapy.
Where does it come from?
The practice originates from traditional East Asian medicine. The word Gua Sha (pronounced gwahshah) comes from the Chinese word for scraping. The tool aims to assist in moving your q (chi - life force energy) around the body, it is believed that your qi must be balanced and flowing freely to ensure optimum health and wellbeing. If there are any areas of your body where the qi is blocked, this can present as muscle tension or stiffness, the Gua Sha tool can be used to help relieve the trapped qi, relieving the symptoms.
What are the benefits of gua sha?
Aside from the incredible benefits Gua Sha can have on your skin's appearance it also is a great way to become grounded and help to harness you to the present moment. Whether you are treating yourself to a professional treatment or practising at home the slow and gentle touch of the movements can be highly relaxing and calming. By activating the parasympathetic (relaxed) nervous state we feel calmer and can handle stresses with more ease.
In the modern world, we can often feel stressed and tense, as a result, our facial expressions carry that stress and tension which can lead to wrinkles and fine lines. Think of Gua Sha like exercise but for your face. Performing Gua Sha helps to relax the facial muscles and can even help to relieve tension headaches. When done regularly it can also help to prevent and improve fine expression lines over time.
If glowing skin is something on your wishlist then Gua Sha could definitely help to make it into a reality. By using the scraping massage technique you are increasing your circulation, moving your qi (chi - life force energy) and improving your lymphatic function. When used with a moisturiser or facial serum the tool aids the product penetration, meaning it reaches a deeper layer of your skin, resulting in more hydration.
Gua Sha is also known as the ‘Eastern facelift’ and helps to tighten loose or sagging skin. It can also be used along your jawline to help create a more chiselled effect. The movement of the practice has a contouring effect on the skin. By retraining the facial muscles it helps to strengthen and lift them, much like a gym workout, but for your face. It also increases circulation and the production of anti-ageing molecules such as collagen.
The lymphatic system is part of our body's immune system and helps to protect us from infection and disease by passing lymph fluid through the lymph nodes. If the lymph gets stagnant it can result in sickness, by using the Gua Sha technique you are stimulating the lymph and helping it do its job so that it can detoxify the body and keep you healthy.
How do you use a Gua Sha tool?
Apply your favourite facial oil, serum or moisturiser to your face and neck before performing any of the below techniques.
- Forehead: Pull the skin tight with your free hand, use the flat side of the tool, run it along from your eyebrows up to your hairline in a gentle, slow, light pressured movement.
- Cheekbones: Above the corner of your mouth pull the skin down to make it tight. Using the flat side of the tool scrape in a gentle upward movement from the top corner of your mouth up to your ear. Complete on both sides of your face.
- Jawline: Place your free hand on the centre of the cheek and pull the skin upwards. Using the ‘heart shaped’ end, place your jaw in the centre of the dip. Smoothly and gently drag the tool along your jawline up to the ear and repeat on the other side.
If you have a particular skin concern or condition or if you are unsure how to use the tool please seek the advice of a professional before using the Gua Sha technique at home.