How To Use a Gua Sha: The Ultimate Guide 2023
How to Use Gua Sha Techniques
- Benefits of gua sha massage
- How to choose a gua sha tool
- Prepping the skin
- Gua sha techniques for beginners
- Targeted gua sha moves for common problems (puffy eyes, sagging jawline, TMJ)
- Best gua sha teaching accounts to follow on social media
Choose the Right Gua Sha Tool
Before diving into the Gua Sha techniques, it’s crucial to choose the right tool for your skin type and needs. With a variety of materials and shapes available on the market, it might be overwhelming to pick the perfect one. But fear not, we’re here to guide you through the process.
First, consider the material of the tool. Jade and rose quartz are popular choices because they are believed to have healing properties and emit soothing energy. Alternatively, if you’re looking for a firmer pressure, a stainless steel or metal tool might be a better option.
Second, think about the shape of the tool. Most Gua Sha tools have a flat side for massaging larger areas of the face and a curved side for sculpting and targeting specific areas. Some tools even have different shapes and edges like a tooth edge for more precision. There are even electric gua sha tools enhanced with the power of technology for vibrational massage and heat.
Ultimately, the right tool for you will depend on your individual preferences and skin concerns. Take the time to research and experiment with different options until you find the one that works best for you.
Best Gua Sha Tools
Here are some of my recommendations if you don’t know where to buy a gua sha tool from affordable to luxury options that fit every budget.
- Honeybelle (affordable & AAPI-owned)
- YINA (large & AAPI-owned)
- Lanshin (small & AAPI-owned)
- OSEA (small with deep curve)
- Ember Wellness
- Odacite (larger tool if you don’t like small ones)
- Anfisa (teeth edge)
Prep Your Skin Before Gua Sha
Now that you’ve chosen your Gua Sha tool, it’s time to prepare your skin for the massage. This step is crucial, as it ensures that your skin is clean, hydrated, and ready to receive the full benefits of the massage.
Start by cleansing your face with a gentle cleanser to remove any dirt, oil, and impurities.
You can prep your skin in one of the below ways:
- Face oil
- Face balm
- Do your nightly skincare routine of toner, serum, moisturizer and final step of face oil / balm
Gua Sha Technique #1: Forehead Massage
To enhance blood circulation and alleviate tension in your forehead muscles, incorporate the forehead massage technique into your Gua Sha routine. Begin by applying a facial oil or serum to your forehead in upward strokes, then use the Gua Sha tool to massage the area in upward and outward motions.
The pressure should be light and gentle to prevent any discomfort. Start at the center of your forehead and work your way outwards towards your temples, repeating the motion several times. Be sure to use the curved edge of the Gua Sha tool to follow the natural shape of your forehead.
This technique is particularly beneficial for those who experience regular headaches or tension in the forehead area. Incorporating this into your skincare regimen can provide relief and relaxation.
Now that you’ve mastered the forehead massage technique, you can move on to the cheekbone lift, a favorite area to focus on for many. This technique is perfect for lifting and firming the skin around your cheekbones and jawline.
Technique #2: Cheekbone Lift
The cheekbone lift is an effective method for reducing puffiness and promoting lymphatic drainage in the face. By using gentle upward strokes with your Gua Sha tool, you can enhance the natural contours of your face, giving it a more lifted and sculpted appearance.
To begin, start at the base of your cheekbone and move upwards towards your hairline.
Apply slight pressure with your Gua Sha tool and repeat this motion several times on each side of your face. This technique is particularly effective when used in combination with facial oils or serums, as it helps to promote better absorption of the products.
Incorporating the cheekbone lift into your daily routine can help to tone and firm the skin around your cheeks and jawline, giving you a more youthful and radiant appearance.
Gua Sha Technique #3: Neck
The neck and jawline are two areas that are often overlooked in our skincare routines, but they can be critical in achieving a youthful appearance. To begin the neck and jawline sculpting technique, start at the base of your neck and move upwards towards your chin.
Using your Gua Sha tool, apply gentle pressure and repeat this motion several times on each side of your neck and jawline.
For lymphatic drainage continue down the side of your neck.
This can help to reduce the appearance of sagging skin, fine lines, and wrinkles in these areas.By incorporating this technique into your daily routine, you can begin to see significant improvements in the appearance of your neck and jawline over time.
Plus, the added benefit of relaxation and stress relief can also help to promote an overall sense of wellbeing. Next up, we’ll discuss how you can easily incorporate these techniques into your daily routine.
Gua Sha Technique #4: Jawline
Gua Sha Technique #5: Eye Depuffing
Gua Sha Technique #6: Jaw Tension & TMJ
Gua Sha Technique #7: Brow Tension
Incorporate Gua Sha into Your Routine
To truly see the benefits of Gua Sha, it’s important to incorporate it into your daily skincare routine. This technique can easily be performed in the morning or evening, and can add just a few extra minutes to your routine.
For example, after cleansing your face, use your Gua Sha tool to perform the neck and jawline sculpting technique we discussed earlier. Then, move on to the forehead and cheeks, using gentle pressure and sweeping motions to promote lymphatic drainage and improve blood flow.
Incorporating Gua Sha into your routine can also be a great way to unwind and destress before bedtime. Take a few minutes to perform this technique while listening to calming music or practicing deep breathing exercises.
By making Gua Sha a regular part of your skincare routine, you can begin to see real results in the appearance of your skin. Not only will it help reduce the signs of aging, but it can also promote a sense of relaxation and overall wellbeing.
Best Gua Sha Teaching Accounts on Social Media
I am not a gua sha practitioner or TCM doctor, merely a beauty obsessed enthusiast sharing what I’ve picked up over the years. There are tons of people who make their entire social media accounts about gua sha (or selling gua sha) but have never been trained and never pay homage to the culture it originates from. It’s important to support the people who have a deep understanding of gua sha and Traditional Chinese Medicine and who are not profiting off a culture they don’t respect.
This account is run by Sandra Lanshin Chiu, L.Ac., M.S.T.C.M. – Founder, Acupuncturist, Herbalist, TCM Practitioner. The go-to gua sha teacher for all things TCM, Lanshin is specially trained in herbal dermatology and is the most knowledgeable gua sha guru on social media. She also runs a Brooklyn-based holistic healing studio where she incorporates TCM tools.
Run by Shelly Marshall, Beauty Shamans mission is to help you heal your skin, inside and out using ancient practices like massage, reflexology, and lymphatic drainage. Her account is full of gua sha and self massage tutorials that you’ll find helpful.
Benefits of Gua Sha: More Than Just a Facial Treatment
Gua Sha isn’t just a facial treatment though, it also has numerous benefits for the body as a whole. From reducing muscle tension to boosting the immune system, there’s a reason why everyone from athletes to chronic pain sufferers are turning to this ancient practice to enhance their physical health and well-being.
Gua Sha Reduces Muscle Tension
Another key benefit of Gua Sha is its ability to reduce muscle tension. This practice involves using a tool made of jade or another smooth stone to gently scrape the skin in short strokes. This motion helps to break up adhesions in the muscles, which can lead to tightness and discomfort. By releasing these adhesions, Gua Sha can help to relax the muscles and alleviate tension. This makes it a popular treatment among athletes and anyone who experiences chronic pain or discomfort in their muscles. In addition to its physical benefits, Gua Sha can also improve your mental state by promoting relaxation and reducing stress.
Gua Sha Promotes Lymphatic Drainage
Gua Sha has been found to have many benefits, including reducing muscle tension and promoting relaxation. However, another valuable benefit of Gua Sha is its ability to promote lymphatic drainage. Lymphatic drainage is the process by which the lymphatic system removes waste and toxins from the body. This system is responsible for filtering blood and removing excess fluid from tissues. When the lymphatic system is functioning properly, it helps to maintain a healthy balance of fluids in the body and prevents infection.
Gua Sha can help to promote lymphatic drainage by stimulating the lymphatic vessels and promoting the flow of lymphatic fluid. As the skin is gently scraped with the tool, it can help to break up any blockages in the lymphatic system and encourage the release of toxins. This can lead to improved circulation, reduced inflammation, and a stronger immune system.
In addition to its physical benefits, Gua Sha can also have mental benefits by promoting relaxation and reducing stress. When the lymphatic system is functioning properly, it can help to reduce stress hormones such as cortisol in the body. By promoting lymphatic drainage, Gua Sha can help to reduce stress and promote relaxation.
Gua Sha Boosts Immune System
Another surprising benefit of Gua Sha is its ability to boost the immune system. Gua Sha works by stimulating the lymphatic system, which plays a vital role in our body’s ability to fight off infections and diseases. By promoting lymphatic drainage, Gua Sha helps to remove toxins and waste from the body, allowing the immune system to function more efficiently.
Several studies have shown that Gua Sha can increase the production of white blood cells, which are responsible for fighting off infections and diseases. This means that regular Gua Sha sessions can help to strengthen the immune system and reduce the risk of illnesses.
Gua Sha can also help to reduce inflammation in the body, which is a common cause of many chronic diseases. By improving the immune system, Gua Sha can promote overall health and well-being.
Gua Sha Improves Circulation
Gua Sha is known to have numerous benefits for the body, one of which is improving circulation. Poor circulation can lead to a range of health issues, from low energy levels to more serious conditions such as heart disease. Gua Sha works by stimulating the capillaries and increasing blood flow, which can help to improve overall circulation.
As the Gua Sha tool is scraped along the skin, it creates microtrauma that encourages blood flow to the affected area. The increased blood flow helps to deliver vital oxygen and nutrients to the cells, which can aid in cell regeneration and repair. Additionally, the movement of the tool can help to break up adhesions and knots in the muscles, which can also improve circulation.
By improving circulation, Gua Sha can also help to reduce muscle tension and soreness. This can be particularly beneficial for athletes and individuals who lead an active lifestyle. Improved circulation can also have a positive impact on skin health, as it helps to deliver essential nutrients and oxygen to the skin cells.
Gua Sha Alleviates Chronic Pain
In addition to its ability to enhance circulation, Gua Sha is also an effective tool for alleviating chronic pain. This technique is commonly used to treat conditions such as back pain, headaches, and neck pain. Unlike traditional treatments that primarily focus on pain management, Gua Sha treats the root cause of the pain, making it a more effective and long-lasting solution.
By stimulating blood flow and breaking up adhesions, Gua Sha can help to reduce muscle stiffness and soreness, which are often the underlying causes of chronic pain. The technique works by scraping the skin with a smooth-edged tool, which creates controlled micro-traumas that stimulate the body’s natural healing response. This process helps to increase blood flow to the affected area, which can reduce inflammation and promote healing.
Gua Sha is particularly beneficial for individuals who suffer from chronic pain due to an injury or overuse. By breaking up scar tissue and adhesions, Gua Sha can improve physical mobility and range of motion. This can lead to a significant reduction in pain and stiffness, allowing individuals to lead a more active and fulfilling lifestyle.
In addition to its pain-relieving properties, Gua Sha has been shown to improve skin health. By increasing blood flow to the face, Gua Sha can help to deliver essential nutrients and oxygen to the skin cells. This can lead to a brighter, more youthful complexion and a reduction in fine lines and wrinkles.
Gua Sha has far-reaching benefits for both the face and body. By reducing muscle tension, promoting lymphatic drainage, boosting the immune system, improving circulation, alleviating chronic pain, and enhancing skin health, Gua Sha is a natural and effective way to improve overall health.