You’ve probably seen me raving about Gua Sha (pronounced Gwa Sha) on my Instagram. Move over jade rollers, there’s a new tool on the block. However, far from novice, Gua Sha has been a long-standing practice in Chinese medicine. And, as with many things, it’s gained recent popularity for its beauty benefits.
Gua Sha is traditionally a full body massage, similar to a sports one, but with a tool. It uses medium to intense pressure to stimulate blood flow and reduce inflammation. Full body Gua Sha often leaves bruising and red marks. However, this isn’t the goal when using it for beauty benefits. A much gentler approach is adopted with a lighter touch.
This little tool brings your facial to your home. It requires less money, far less time, and means you can put familiar products (your own) on your face. Isn’t that music to your ears?
Why Gua Sha?
The benefits are countless. Honestly, they sound made up but there is sufficient evidence backing what I’m about to tell you. Sit tight.
Gua Sha reduces wrinkles, rejuvenates and smooths the skin by bumping up collagen production. The gentle friction encourages blood flow, which in turn stimulates areas that are often left neglected. When was the last time you gave yourself a face massage?
It improves pigmentation and dark circles by increasing blood flow to these areas which also promotes the repair and recycling of old tissue. Not only does it depuff, but it also switches on radiance and glow.
Because it releases tension, it can help with headaches, migraines as well as tension in the jaw. If you grind your teeth at night, it can help with this, too.
I mean, are you sold yet?
Gua Sha stimulates the lymphatic system. The lymphatic system is directly linked to the expulsion of toxins and detoxification. It’s also the main transporter of lymph, the much-needed fluid for immunity. So, it goes without saying that Gua Sha can up your immune system, whilst nudging bad guys out of your body.
Because it helps with getting rid of toxins and waste, it can serve as a way to clear out blackheads and breakouts. 30% of your lymph nodes hang out in your head and neck, therefore, improving the movement in this area can result in full-body effect.
Choose your weapon…
It’s not easy when there are so many options. Jade rollers were tough enough and now we have Gua Sha. Things you should consider when picking your tool:
Always opt for pure Jade as some can have cheap acrylic or artificial substances. This is a big no-no as it can lead to irritation. Jade is also great for it’s cooling properties. I pop my tool in the freezer for 10 minutes before using it.
In terms of shape, pick one that feels comfortable in your grip as they all offer the same benefits.
Gua Sha tools can be as expensive as a few hundred Pounds. However, I have found a fantastic one (I can vouch for it) on for 1/10 of the price. If you’re after something a little more lush the Psychic Sisters ones from Planet Organic are a must.
How do I do it?
Well, it’s pretty simple. You start at your neck and finish at your forehead. This is my method, and there are a few out there. See what suits you.
Hold the tool almost flat to your face and move it in upwards motions. Always apply a thick moisturizer or Drunk Elephant’s Marula Oil pre-movement. This helps the tool glide seamlessly. I use the tool on my neck (starting at the base, moving upwards to the lymph nodes under my jaw). Then I move to my jaw, my cheeks, my under-eye and finally my forehead. I give the tool a small wiggle at the temples because it just feels damn good. I repeat this about 5 times per area. Here’s a video with some tips (btw, this woman is in her 40’s!)
This is a practice best done mindfully as aimless movement will achieve minimal results. It’s best to set out 10 minutes to give your skin the love it deserves. It can be meditative and relaxing when done properly. Light a candle if you’re feeling it, maybe even play some soothing music. Why? Because, why the hell not?