There’s always a constant stream of new beauty techniques. Whether it’s simply moisturizing upwards or putting snails on your face, we’re never short of different things to try out – and honestly, we’d try pretty much anything. But, sometimes, it’s best to look back rather than forwards to find things that really get the job done. If people have been doing it for centuries, it’s probably working, right? That’s why ancient techniques like Gua Sha are still widely used today in spas all over the world and are becoming a popular tool in the homes of beauty addicts everywhere. And considering you can buy a Gua Sha tool for $6, which can help to improve your skin and contour your face, it’s a pretty good deal. In this case, old really is gold!
What is Gua Sha?
If the idea of scraping your skin gives you shivers, this possibly isn’t for you. Don’t look away just yet though, because it’s definitely not as gruesome as it sounds! Gua Sha is an ancient Chinese method where a blunt, smooth instrument is used in long strokes across your skin, which is designed to release stagnant energy, also known as chi, that builds up and causes inflammation under the surface of the skin.
First, the skin is lubricated with an oil to ensure that it’s supple and the tool doesn’t tug the skin. Then, the instrument is gently stroked along the skin towards the direction of your lymph nodes. Centuries ago, the tool was traditionally made from honed animal bones, jade, water buffalo horn, and rose quartz, while today ceramic, jade, and rose quartz are all popular materials.
For Your Face
Gua Sha facials are also known as the ‘Eastern facelift,’ due to its contouring effect. The facial is designed to drain the lymph glands in your face and neck, which is your body’s first line of defense against toxins. It also does wonders for getting rid of puffiness or under-eye discoloration, as it removes excess fluid and improves blood flow. Gua Sha can be used all over the body to improve circulation, which can also relieve muscle and joint pain as well as more severe conditions.
For Your Body
Essentially, Gua Sha increases your blood flow, which is vital for your general health. Good circulation means that oxygen can pass to your vital organs sufficiently as well as to your skin and extremities such as your hands and feet. It also boosts your immune system by moving bacteria and nasties away and out of your body (via the lymphatic system), and ridding you of harmful toxins. Be prepared that if you have this done professionally, you may experience some bruising.
It can also do wonders for your hair, nails, and skin, by making sure they get the blood flow they need. The practice draws away any puffiness in the skin and sends oxygen to your hair follicles so that they’re stimulated and healthy. The practice has also proven effective for migraine sufferers or people who experience tension headaches. Although Gua Sha primarily combats tension-related pain, it’s also got some slightly more unusual effects such as helping to improve breast engorgement (when breastfeeding women ‘overfill’), and it has even been known to help with symptoms of Tourette’s syndrome!
How to do Gua Sha at home
Think of this as stepping up your facial massage routine. To perform your very own Gua Sha facial at home, first, invest in a tool: rose quartz and jade are believed to have healing properties, but we’re obsessed with our $6 ceramic Gua Sha.
Start by applying a facial oil to your face and neck and gently massage it in to warm it up and stimulate blood flow. Then, start under your jaw below your ear and run the tool in long strokes towards your neck using light to medium pressure – this will open up your lymph nodes to prepare them to drain the toxins. Move up to your cheek and draw the strokes from the nose outwards towards your ears. The trick is to direct the strokes outwards to move congestion away from the center of your face and down towards your jaw. Repeat with your under-eyes, eyelids, and forehead. Finally, finish by moving the Gua Sha up from the bottom of your neck, up and out toward your ears. The results are instant, which makes this facial ideal for before an event or celebration.
Let us know if you’ve tried Gua Sha in the comments below.