Chances are you haven’t heard of Gua Sha. I hadn’t either until recently. Also, referred to as the “Eastern Face Lift,” Gua Sha is a Chinese medicine massage technique that purports to have many benefits. Some say it even rivals Botox. What? If you’d like to improve circulation, reduce inflammation, and rejuvenate your skin, a Gua Sha facial treatment may be for you. Does it work?
Dating back thousands of years, Gua Sha is the process of repeatedly stroking lubricated skin with a smooth-edged, blunt instrument. Strokes are designed to follow the acupuncture meridian pathways on the face. The technique is also called “coining,” “scraping” or “spooning” because through the centuries various tools have been used, including coins, spoons and even animal bones. By the way, “Gua” is pronounced “Wah.”
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Gua Sha Facial
Here are a some of the benefits of this type of facial:
- Reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles
- Promotes a radiant complexion
- Decreases inflammation and puffiness
- Promotes detoxification
- Improves circulation
- Lifts, firms, and plumps
- Reduces acne
- Lightens discolorations, such as, age spots
- Decreases under-eye bags and circles
- Reduces pore size
- Is anti-aging
Another benefit of a Gua Sha facial is they’re inexpensive and don’t take much time.
Gua Sha Massage Tools
The tools used for Gua Sha facials are commonly made from jade or rose quartz. They’re typically pink, green, or black. There are a variety of tools to choose from so pick one that feels comfortable in your hand and on your face.
What are Rollers
You can also perform a Gua Sha facial using a roller. I haven’t used one, but you can watch the video below to learn more how to do it.
Fun Tip: Keep your stone and roller in the freezer. It will feel amazing when you use it on your skin, especially when it’s hot and humid.
At Home Facials
Following the diagram above, use your tool to use gentle stroking motions. Remember, they are always applied upward. This is key because the point of Gua Sha is to tighten and lift, while mitigating the effects of gravity. Hence, why it’s called a natural face lift. Rather than holding the tool flat to your face, it should be held at a 15° angle. This allows the skin to be gently pulled upwards.
Begin by applying a lubricating oil to your face – this will make the scraping movements effortless. Light pressure is always used while performing Gua Sha since facial tissue is delicate. Gua Sha can be done on the body, as well, but you will want to use more pressure. Not a lot of pressure is needed to move lymph, which is a primary goal of Gua Sha.
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Each upward stroke, on any given area, should be done approximately five times. You can do more strokes on your forehead if you’d like. One side of the face is typically done first, followed by the other side. If you’d rather, you can do one area, immediately repeating the same motion on the other side of your face. Do what feels good to you.
An efficient way to perform these motions is to use two stones, one in each hand. This will allow you to complete the motions on each side of your face simultaneously. I’m impatient so this is how I do it. Your skin will be pink when you’re finished due to the boost in circulation.
Here’s How You Do It
Note the diagram above when performing your facial.
1. Position your stone at the base of your neck, gently stroking upwards to just underneath your ear lobe. Repeat this five times.
2. Now place the stone underneath your chin, stroking upwards to just below your ear.
3. Stroke from directly under your lips, and up towards your cheekbones
4. Now, placing the tool to the side of your nose, sweep horizontally and up along your cheekbone.
5. Gently stroke under each eye and slightly upwards.
6. Just above your eye, directly on the brow bone, sweep the stone from the corner of your eyes to your temple.
7. This next motion is done vertically. Sweep the stone from the point in between your eyebrows up to your hairline.
8. Move the stones to your forehead and stroke horizontally from the middle of your forehead to your hairline.
9. Beginning in the middle of your forehead, close to your temple, sweep the tool outwards and downwards, following your hairline, and sweeping behind your ear. Now, make a downward stroke at your hairline, and down the side of your neck.
The goal of this last step is to move the stagnant lymph that was stirred up during the facial to drain though the lymphatic ducts located in between the collarbones. This is why this final motion is performed in a downward motion, making Gua Sha a beneficial facial for detoxification and drainage. An entire facial can be done in under ten minutes.
Does Gua Sha Work?
Hmmm, it’s not the new Botox, but from what I’ve read of others’ experiences with Gua Sha, along with my own, I can confidently say that Gua Sha facials do lift and firm sagging skin, while boosting circulation. It’s a particularly helpful technique if your face is puffy, which could be due to stagnant lymph. Not only is Gua Sha a form of facial massage, it’s also great technique to drain lymph.
Gua Sha is a facial therapy you can do at home that is both time and cost-effective. It boosts circulation, promotes detoxification, and reduces under-eye bags and dark circles.
It’s also great for relaxation and reducing tension. Pull out your Gua Sha tools next time you have a big event. At the very least, you’ll be gifted with a glowing complexion.
Have you heard of Gua Sha? Would you like to try it? Let me know in the comments:)