Everything You Need to Know About Gua Sha
Ever heard of a technique that uses scraping your body to stop chronic pain? That’s gua sha in a nutshell. But don’t worry, it is not as scary as it sounds. In fact, a few studies have shown it to be effective in relieving anything from mild headaches to Hepatitis B. So it’s safe to say that where Western medicinal practices fail, traditional Chinese medicine practices may help.
If you’re wondering what you might use gua sha for, the practice can be done on the face to relieve muscle tension, improve blood circulation, lift up the face, and reduce bloating. Curious to try it? Read on to find out everything you need to know about this ancient technique!
What is the purpose of Gua Sha?
So what is gua sha? Gua sha is the process that involves scraping a stone, usually a flat jade or rose quartz, over a painful area of the body to relieve tension and stimulate blood flow. “Gua” means “scrape” and “sha” means “sand.” You may have heard it called by a different name: coining. In the traditional world, it’s used to unblock pressure points where Qi (a.k.a. vital life energy) flows through. It’s one of the most common traditional practices.
The benefits of the gua sha treatment range far and wide. You may have it done to treat a sore neck, stiff back, and other chronic pain injuries. You can even use Gua Sha to massage away any tightness after a long day of work or relieve pain if you’ve injured yourself during a strenuous physical activity.
Because the process involves scraping the stone upwards on the skin, you can end up with redness or petechiae (tiny, red spots) due to burst capillaries. Don’t worry, it’s still completely safe. After the bruising goes away and the body heals completely, many report feeling better than ever.
Can you perform Gua Sha on yourself?
Tricky question. While many beauty brands sell a gua sha kit, we think it’s best to stay clear and instead consult with a professional practitioner or sign up for a treatment if you really want to do it. Besides, it’s kinda risky to try on your own body, what with the not-so-pretty results, and all.
However, a milder version of a gua sha facial can be done at home if you have the right experience. There are plenty of products available online that can help you with this. But more on that later on.
How often should you use Gua Sha?
Now, this begs the question, how often should you use the gua sha technique? Experts recommend anywhere from once a week to even 7 days a week. Just remember: consistency is key. The benefits of gua sha will be more apparent with regular use vs. say, a once-a-year procedure.
Can I do Gua Sha everyday?
Facial gua sha or even bodily gua sha can be done everyday, as long as you have the go signal from a licensed practitioner. If you’re using gua sha to give your skin a lift, plenty of experts recommend daily use as the standard to see visible results.
Want to try a gua sha facial for yourself? Gua sha is a generally safe practice, but it is best done by those with experience, or better yet, a licensed practitioner. If you’ve had experience with this treatment before, then here’s what you need to know about how to use a gua sha tool to keep your face looking plump and your body healthier than ever.
Pick the right stone
First things first, you’ll need gua sha tools to start this procedure. Usually, a flat, curved rose quartz or a jade gua sha stone will do. Other kinds include tiger’s eye, amethyst, and fire agate. Personally, I’m more drawn to anything rose quartz.
However, you should be able to use any kind of crystal that has the correct structure: curves, rounded knobs, and edges to help really get into those pressure points or meridian points. The structure of the scraping tool will also allow it to better mold into the shape of your face.
Start from the bottom
Once you have your gua sha tool with you, start by holding the curved side to your face. Focus on the neck and jaw area first, scraping the skin with a light up and out motion. Massage each area with the tool three to five times before moving on upward.
Next, do the same to the skin around your mouth, moving the tool up your cheeks, then to your under eyes, and lastly, forehead area.
Keep it light
There are plenty of benefits of the gua sha facial that your skin will thank you for. But to avoid any unwanted injuries, it’s important to keep a light touch when using the gua sha tool on your skin and especially sensitive areas such as the neck.
To be even safer, you may consult with a professional before doing the procedure at home. However, if you are confident and experienced enough to be able to do the procedure well, then there is no harm in it as long as you aren’t putting too much pressure in the affected areas.
As to how many times you should do it, gua sha is safe enough to be done a few times a week. It’s recommended to do it as regularly as thrice a week or even everyday, depending on how the skin reacts.
The health and beauty perks of gua sha don’t really seem to end, do they? Anything and everything from back pain to sagging jowls seem to vanish upon trying it out. Want to keep your skin plump? Go for gua sha. Feeling a little sore from leg day? Gua sha is a great after-workout massage. Need an energy boost? Restore your Qi balance with, you guessed it, gua sha.
Of course, in the interest of our audience, we highly recommend getting the treatment done professionally. This Chinese tradition is a common practice for a reason, despite the admittedly little scientific evidence supporting its benefits. Who knows, it just might be what your body desperately needs!
Want to amp up your skincare haul for the year? Read our blog on the 7 products you need in your 2021 skincare haul.
Joey is an AB Psychology graduate of the University of St. La Salle – Bacolod. Her life’s passions include writing, film, and spending hours on end binge-watching fashion vloggers on Youtube.