Last year I put together some tips and tricks for using Gua Sha in your skincare routine for a workshop we hosted. I am happy to share this short guide with some of the workshop content on how to use Gua Sha together with a chart that hopefully helps you to develop your Gua Sha practice. Enjoy!
What is Facial Gua Sha
Gua Sha is a formal Chinese Medicine technique that works with the flow of blood, lymph, and “Qi”. It is a wonderful self care ritual with many benefits and works with the lymphatic system by stimulating channels of detoxification right below the skin’s surface to clear away debris. The technique uses light pressure and stretch at the same time and besides the benefits for the skin, it has been reported that it can reduce headaches and sinus congestions as well as tension (e.g. neck and jawline).
Regular Gua Sha practice increases blood flow and leaves your complexion looking bright and rosy. It reduces inflammation, impurities and hyper pigmentation. Due to the increase of blood flow, it speeds up cell turnover and firms skin tone. It releases muscular tension and irons out fascia which leads to a reduction of fine lines and therefore has a positive effect on ageing of the skin. Skin care products like serums and oils are penetrating the skin more deeply when using Gua Sha and it is excellent to decrease puffiness around the eyes.
What do you need to start?
Some tips for your Gua Sha practice
Make it a ritual
Making Gua Sha a ritual and taking time for it is essential. This can be your “me” time in the evening to unwind or it can be your early morning routine when the world is quiet and at peace. It also depends, if it is a practice that relaxes or energises you, everyone is different. For de-puffing the face, it’s best in the morning, try what works best for you.
Set the space
Practice Gua Sha in a space where you won’t be disturbed. Remember: where attention goes – energy flows!
After cleansing, prep your skin with a face mist or toner and apply a generous amount of your favourite face oil. Go for a face oil that supports your ritual with aromatherapy and matches the condition of your skin. The oil is needed to give the Gua Sha enough slip as pulling the skin should be avoided.
Follow the chart below for a first practice. The strokes are mostly upward and from inside to outside with a few exceptions. Always be gentle when using Gua Sha on your face and use the fingers of the other hand to support the skin and avoid pulling (e.g. lay one finger of your left hand on the spot between your eyes when working on your right eye brow). The pressure should always be light and be extra careful under your eyes to avoid bruising. Keep the angle of the stone rather flat and find out what feels good. Usually you would use the opposite hand of the side you are working on.
Start with the back of your neck moving with the flat side of the tool gently upward until you reach the point where the head and neck connect. Repeat each stroke 3-5 times. Continue on the side of your neck (from shoulder to jawline) following the chart below and continue on one side of the face before you move to the other shoulder and other side of the face. The strokes usually reach from the middle of the face outward to the hairline. Remember to be extra gentle on the throat, temples and under the eyes and do not apply pressure on the eyelid or eye.
Finish off with the final big sweep which you start with the flat side of the Gua Sha on the center of your forehead just under your hairline. Gently sweep the tool down over your temple along the side of the face and down the side of your neck to the collarbone. Do this on both sides of your face to support the lymphatic drainage.
Make sure to drink lots of water to further support the removal of toxins. It is recommended to practice 3-5x per week to achieve first results. To maintain results, 2-3x a week is sufficient.
A Gua Sha tool is also a great self care gift for anyone who loves to consciously spend time on relaxation and skincare.
Do not use Gua Sha on areas of the face where you had injections (Botox, fillers etc.) in the last 3 months. Do not use it over open wounds or active break outs, inflamed or irritated skin. When in doubt, please consult with a doctor before starting a Gua Sha practice.
Graph adapted from F&W