If you follow me on social media you will know that I love Gua Sha facial massage. And it’s not just me! Gua Sha is a traditional Chinese Medicine practice that has more recently become a world-wide beauty trend. My favourite thing about Gua Sha is that it’s a simple but effective addition to any skincare routine. And once you’ve learned a few basic techniques you can get professional results at home.
What is Gua Sha?
I’ll be honest with you cysters, it’s taken me a while just to be able to say this word properly! So for anyone else who is struggling, it’s pronounced – gwahshah. And for some reason whenever I say it I picture Hermione Granger explaining this to Ronald Weasley:
The most traditional Gua Sha tools are made from Jade, horn or metal but you can also find facial ones made from Rose Quartz. And Semi precious stones like Jade and Quartz have unique skin benefits all of their own. But it’s the shape of the Gua Sha tool that makes it so easy to use. And it’s smooth edges and cool surface means that is safe to use even on my acne prone skin!
As a massage therapist I started using Gua Sha on the body several years ago to aid chronic areas of muscular stress, helping to relieve pain and tension. But more recently I have started using Gua Sha techniques at home a few times a week as part of my facial routine. Although the principle is the same, I wanted to use Gua Sha to remove toxins from my skin and help to break down old scar tissue that I’ve been left with after some of my more stubborn cysts.
Benefits of Gua Sha
Although Gua Sha was traditionally used to balance the body by relieving energy blockages known as qi, it has become popular within the beauty industry for dramatically improving circulation within the skin.
Championed by Katie Brindle (founder of the Hayo’u Method), studies show Gua Sha is proven to increase micro-circulation by 400%. This means your skins surface layers will be visibly nourished. In turn, this creates more receptive skin cells that allow your skincare to absorb more efficiently.
One of my favourite ways to describe Gua Sha is as an exercise for the face, toning and firming the skin with regular use. While many have dubbed Gun Sha as ‘the natural face lift’, I use mine to help reduce inflammation. However, I’ve had to adapt the more commonly used massage techniques found on YouTube tutorials to accommodate my often tender spots.
How to Gua Sha
Translated in Chinese, Gua Sha means scraping. And once your start getting to grips with this massage technique you will understand why. The shape of the Gua Sha makes it extremely versatile. So as your skin needs change, you can adapt how to utilise this tool.
For a smooth massage, it is recommenced to use a facial oil so that the Gua Sha can glide over your face. As I predominately use my Gua Sha for acne scarring I use Pai’s Rosehip BioRegenerate Oil to help reduce my hyper pigmentation. If you are avoiding oil, you can still use your Gua Sha for static pressure point work.
When my skin is particularly inflamed I refrigerate my Gua Sha and use the flat cool surface to gently sweep across my face avoiding any tender cysts. I then use the point to relieve muscular tension, finishing with light lymphatic drainage movements to remove toxins. While these techniques won’t be stimulating micro-circulation they will help sooth stressed skin.