Gua Sha Massage: Does it really work?
If you’ve been on TikTok the past few months, you may have come across many video tutorials of people using shiny, angled stones on their faces. These are the (now famous) Gua sha tools, used to sculpt your cheekbones and jawline and make your skin look shinier and smoother than ever. And this skincare routine has an impressive past that goes back to ancient Chinese medicine.
The beautiful, angled objects you see are made of semi-precious stones that are supposed to scrape your skin gently to promote better blood flow, give you an energy boost, and start a rejuvenating process to have an improved complexion. By incorporating Gua sha massage into your beauty routine, you’ll be creating movement to get rid of tension and accumulated lymph while nourishing your skin.
But before you start scraping your face with beautiful rocks in the name of beauty and rejuvenation, let’s understand what Gua sha is and whether it really works!
What is Gua Sha?
Gua sha is an ancient Chinese technique that aims at restoring your energy and improving your blood circulation. This practice was meant to be applied to the body as a whole, using vigorous movements to obtain “Sha”, that is, redness in your skin that indicates it’s healing itself. The idea behind this type of massage was to:
- Boost blood flow,
- Release toxins,
- Reduce swelling and puffiness,
- Stimulate lymphatic drainage,
- Invigorate our immune system.
Today, Gua sha massages are used to improve your complexion, thus using a gentler version of Gua sha. Instead of scraping your skin until it’s red, you should use the Gua sha tools to apply firm pressure on your face, using long strokes to promote lymphatic drainage, increase elasticity, and overall give your skin a much youthful appearance.
The best thing about the Gua sha technique is that it’s completely personalisable. There’s no one-size-fits-all approach but you’ll need to figure out what truly works for you. For example, some beauty gurus recommend using Gua sha once a week, while some other people get the best results by massaging their face daily. What we suggest is that you start slowly and gently until you familiarise yourself with the technique and your tools and discover how and when to massage your skin to obtain optimal results.
Which Are the Most Popular Gua Sha Tools?
If you are into skincare and beauty, you’ll be amazed at everything Gua sha stones can do for you once you learn how to use them. These are flat stones used to massage your face to obtain a number of benefits (such as lymphatic draining and relaxing tight muscles). Some of the most popular stones include jade, quartz, onyx, amethyst, and obsidian, but there are a lot more varieties in the market. They tend to be flat with scallops, dents, and edges to efficiently scrape your skin.
When looking for a stone to use in your Gua sha massages, make sure you buy a high-quality one. These tools are essential to practising Gua sha in the most effective way and obtain relaxing and almost meditative effects (in addition to making your skin look healthier!). They are as important as the technique itself, so pay attention to what you are buying and try to avoid low-quality stones with coatings that may irritate your skin.
Gua Sha accessories come in many shapes and sizes and will enhance your beauty ritual, leaving your complexion smooth, relaxed, and radiant. Don’t forget to keep your Gua Sha tools clean! Use mild soap and warm water after every use, ideally, or at least once a week.
Gua Sha Stones: Jade or Quartz?
Is Jade or Quartz better to de-puff your face and help it look smooth? Well, it all comes down to your needs and preferences. For instance, quartz is considered to be an emotional healer stone, associated with detoxing and softening fine lines and wrinkles. Meanwhile, jade is believed to balance energies and help you relax. Plus, it’s the best type of stone for reducing puffiness and improving blood flow.
As stated above, there are many more options to quartz and jade, namely:
- Agate, typically used to treat acne breakouts and blemishes.
- Bian Stone, which contains antioxidant properties thanks to its more than 40 minerals.
- Scolecite, well-known for helping decongest and detoxify your skin.
Choosing the best type of stone for your needs is important, but so is the shape of the Gua sha tool you are going to use. Beauty experts recommend finding one that has smooth and rounded edges that fit the curvature of the area you want to stimulate. For instance, if you want to get rid of acne marks in the T-zone, you’ll need a different type of curvature than if you want to polish your cheekbones and jawline. Otherwise, you can just pick a stone that has different angles so you’ll have more options in just one tool!
Also, your Gua sha tool should be easy to grip (not too small or too big), so you can apply the exact type of pressure your face needs.
Top Gua Sha Benefits to Consider
From the times of the Ming dynasty until today, Gua sha has been used to promote energy flow and circulation while alleviating pain and improving the looks of your skin. Why is blood circulation so important, you may wonder? Well, blood takes oxygen and nutrients to your tissues and organs. In regards to your skin, in particular, a good massage can restore its barrier function while making it look fresh and smooth (1).
You should not worry if your skin looks a bit red after finishing your massage but make sure to be careful and don’t apply too much pressure on the thin muscles of your face! If you’re just starting, maybe it’s best to begin light and see how your skin reacts. And the best part is that this practice works for every type of skin, so you can enjoy all its benefits whether you have oily, dry, or normal complexion.
Boosts Blood Circulation
Gua sha is a technique that follows the principles of Chinese medicine, which believes in the Tai Yin meridians. These include your large intestines and your stomach on the one side, and your lungs and spleen on the other, and both of them are closely connected to your skin. When you stimulate the skin on your face with a Gua sha stone, you’re also stimulating your meridians, thus improving your blood circulation, giving your organs and tissues more oxygen and nutrients.
Fights Acne Scars & Other Marks
Acne breakouts usually leave us little unpleasant souvenirs: marks and scars. While the spots disappear in a matter of days, scars are not so quick and they may never go away if you don’t do something about it. Luckily, you can take the bull by the horns and include Gua sha facial massages into your routine to do away with acne scars and marks. By gently scraping your complexion, you’ll be bringing fresh blood to the surface of your skin and renewing your cells. This, in turn, reduces the visibility of your scars and blemishes and makes your skin look fresh and renewed.
If you are dealing with pore congestion, for example, make sure you use firm strokes from your ears towards your collarbone. Don’t forget to be patient: Gua sha works its magic from the inside-out, so your blackheads are not going to fall out immediately. Instead, you’ll see a gradual disappearance of those annoying marks. And never use your tools on open sores or pustules!
One of the main benefits of this Chinese practice is to reduce the puffiness in your face, as Gua sha tones can eliminate fluid and lymph build-up. When you gently massage your face, what you are doing is helping your organism flush fluids into your body’s detoxification system (the lymphatic one), where it gets cleaned and then mixed into your bloodstream. Incorporating Gua sha into your routine will also help you relieve tension and fatigue, making your face look relaxed and youthful!
Contours & Sculpts Your Jawline And Cheekbones
You can also use your Gua sha tools to contour and sculpt your face like a Kardashian! Hold your tool at a 20-degree angle and apply medium pressure while moving it slowly 3-5 times per side, gliding the stone towards your hairline. In just a few days, your jawline and cheekbones will look clean and bright, as if sculpted anew!
Softens Wrinkles And Fine Lines
If you’re interested in targeting wrinkles, you’ll be happy to know Gua sha can be your best ally. Just make sure to target areas where wrinkles are easily formed, such as your chin or forehead. The process is easy, relaxing, painless, and doesn’t leave marks. On the contrary, a massage will tighten your skin and has rejuvenating benefits that can help you soften wrinkles, acne scars, and other skin marks almost effortlessly.
Some Risks and Warnings
While this practice is usually very safe, there are some associated risks to take into account before starting using Gua sha stones. Here are some of them:
- Bruising and slight bleeding if applying too much pressure on your face (because the fragile capillaries in the upper layers of your skin can burst). It should fade away within a couple of days.
- Temporarily swollen or indented skin, especially if trying the technique for the first time.
Consult with your doctor whether you may be a good candidate for Gua sha if you are taking blood thinners or any other type of medication that affects your blood.
Enjoy the Effects of Millenary Gua Sha
Are you ready to get started with Gua sha massage and obtain a natural glow in a completely natural way? This is a completely personalisable treatment that will bring about visible results in a short time. Do away with blemishes and scars, de-puff your eye bags, and improve the blood circulation in your whole face. And by using Gua sha tools, you won’t just get a skin-deep treatment: the time of your facial massage will become a soothing, luxurious moment you spend only with yourself.
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