Gua Sha: What It Is, Benefits & How-To

hands holding a gua sha stone

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By now you’ve probably seen the jade or rose quartz gua sha beauty tools that are popping up literally everywhere – social media, your favorite places to shop online, and even in stores. With claims to contour the face and reduce wrinkles & puffiness, it’s no wonder everyone wants in on this simple beauty craze. In this article, we’ll break it down and fill you in on this self-care ritual.

What is gua sha?

A technique that originates in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) that uses a jade stone to scrape the skin with the goal of improving circulation and moving energy, or qi (pronounced chi, or ch-ee), to bring balance to the body. A similar technique called Graston Technique® was developed by David Graston in 1990, in which metal tools are used in a similar fashion to the gua sha tools. Graston Therapy is used by physical therapists, chiropractic physicians and other body workers to improve circulation, release soft tissue adhesions, and break up scar tissue. In a therapeutic setting, Graston Therapy and gua sha are more often applied to the body than the face, and they often leave behind a bruise where they are applied. 

Gua sha for the face is quite different. It uses a similar tool, however the technique is much more gentle and the goal is different. The goal with facial gua sha is to improve circulation and move lymph fluid, which requires much less pressure than when it is applied to the body.

different shapes and sizes of gua sha stones

Gua Sha tools

The tools used for body and face gua sha are the jade or rose quartz stones you’ve seen in beauty articles or online beauty stores. They come in a variety of shapes and sizes to fit the needs of where they’re being applied.

What are the benefits?

  • Improves circulation
  • Supports collagen production
  • Decreases inflammation
  • Promotes lymphatic drainage
  • Reduces puffiness, leaving you with a more sculpted appearance
  • Diminishes dark circles
  • Relieves Tension

How often?

With this self-care beauty practice, once per week is a great starting point. As your tissues become acclimated to the technique, it’s a great idea to work up to applying gua sha to the face 2-3 times per week, however, you’ll see the best results by practicing this ritual daily. 

Does it hurt?

As mentioned earlier, when applied to the face, the technique should be applied in a gentle manner… so facial gua sha should NOT hurt. If it’s painful, the pressure may be too firm. The goal with facial gua sha is to increase circulation and move lymphatic fluid, both of which are accomplished with a light touch. Think of it as a soothing face massage done with a jade or rose quartz gua sha stone.

How to use a gua sha stone?

  1. Clean your gua sha stone with soap and warm water.
  2. Beginning with clean skin, apply a facial oil to your face and neck. 
  3. Using the longest edge of your stone, begin at the base of the skull and glide down the back of the neck (on the neck downward strokes are best to encourage lymphatic movement away from the face and neck to reduce puffiness).
  4. Work your way around to the side of the neck and finally the front of the neck, using gentle downward strokes.
  5. Next, place the notch of the stone along the jawline and move your strokes from the front of the chin outwards along the jaw towards the ear.
  6. Use the long edge of the tool from the center of the mouth along the lower face, outwards towards the ear.
  7. Then move to the mid-face from the side of the nose outwards towards the hairline.
  8. Next, move to the delicate undereye area and move in very gentle strokes from the inner aspect of the undereye outwards towards the temple and hairline.
  9. Next, move to the frown line area, using gentle upwards and outwards strokes.
  10. Finally, begin at the middle of the forehead and direct long, broad strokes outwards towards the hairline.

Watch our video below for a step-by-step tutorial on how to perform this gua sha self-care ritual.

What facial oils to use?

Prior to performing this simple beauty ritual, it’s best to prep the skin with an oil to improve the glide of the tool and prevent pulling on the skin. Which specific oil you use just depends on preference, with an obvious emphasis on choosing a quality oil. We’ve included our range of favorites below, from a basic jojoba oil to a more luxurious Tata Harper Rejuvenating Serum. Enjoy your next gua sha facial!

Have you ever tried Gua Sha? We’d love to hear your experience!  #glowmode

Looking for more skin rejuvenation therapies? Check out our Red Light Therapy Benefits post!

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