All you need to know about Gua Sha
Guash-what?! What is Gua Sha?
You probably won't have missed it: on social media, people are "scratching" themselves with flat stones, which, so to speak, makes the face more tense and bright. Ridiculous? Still not, the gua sha technique has been used for thousands of years and does indeed have a beneficial effect on your skin. You need to know this about this very popular beauty trend!
In short: the gua sha is a type of small stone-like or comb-like tool that you glide over your face in specific rhythms and motions to stimulate blood circulation and drain lymph. It is sometimes called a "face sculptor". However, it is known not only for facial treatment but also as a method of massaging the entire body with the tool that is small enough to hold in one hand, has a flat thickness, and is finished with a soft edge.
Gua Sha tools are often found in rose quartz, jade or obsidian rocks. However, the materials and shapes of Gua Sha tools are changing. You can find different materials like ceramic, wood or brass in various shapes. You can choose the materials and shapes according to your needs.
ORIGIN OF THE GUA SHA
This beauty trend has its origins in ancient Chinese medicine, where diseases are literally "scraped" from the body - "gua sha" literally means "scratch" and "sand" (so in the end, it literally means "scratch until you have bruises that come to the surface of the skin like grains of sand"). In the past, a buffalo horn was sometimes used, but today there are many materials for this tool. Through the massage movements, blood flow, water and blocked lymphatic fluid are released and drained, which should make a tangible difference in the short term. In alternative medicine, gua sha is used for many disorders such as muscle pain, fever, cough and shortness of breath, but also digestive problems. The alternative therapy is based on the principle of stimulating the body's microscopic blood flow and helping the circulation of stagnant energy. It is said that surface friction removes toxins that have stagnated under the skin, reducing inflammation and promoting healing.
BENEFITS OF GUA SHA - What is Gua Sha used for?
The massage uses this theory to give your face and body a firm appearance. The idea is both to stimulate your blood circulation - which in turn stimulates skin cell turnover - and to "pull" excess water and lymphatic fluid from just below your skin to the edge of your face and drain it through the neck and nape. If you scratch regularly, you should get firm and visibly fuller skin this way. Some benefits at a glance:
By speeding up the lymphatic system, it relieves swelling.
Better blood circulation prevents inflammation under the skin, so you'll be less likely to suffer from a rash or pimples.
- Once again, thanks to this blood circulation, you are acting against the skin's aging process. Don't expect immediate results, but a daily treatment with the right products can effectively counteract wrinkles and even visibly reduce them.
- The treatment also has a very relaxing effect - partly due to the massage movements and the draining effect. It relieves tension in the face, but also pain in the head and neck. The gua sha stone hits the subcutaneous muscle tissue, the fascia, and this has only beneficial effects on healing. Doing it before bed can also help improve insomnia.
- As your blood circulation is stimulated and toxins are actively eliminated, your skin also gets that healthy glow that no herb can give you.
HOW IS GUA SHA USED?
As with any other skin care regimen, there are of course dos and don'ts to gua sha.
- First of all, it is important to never work on dry skin: always prepare your skin with active serums, moisturizing creams or facial oils.
- Second, always open the neck area before you begin, otherwise the released toxins cannot be properly eliminated. To do this, scratch the stone on your neck about ten times with an upward motion, which opens the lymphatic channels along your throat.
- Then you can start: always start at the bottom of your face and work your way up. The exact movement you need to make depends on the specific area you want to tackle and the shape of the tool.
HOW STRONG IS THE GUA SHA MASSAGE?
It is never easy to find the right amount of power to press for Gua Sha massage. Here is a simple method we recommend to control your power! Let's assume we have a pressure force of 1 to 10. The value of 1 corresponds to gently putting the tool on your face and the value of 10 corresponds to a full power pressure.
- Face: 2-5
- Body : 5-6
- Scalp: 5-8
- Hands or feet: 9-10
HOW TO CHOOSE THE GUA SHA TOOL ?
There are different types of shapes and materials for Gua Sha tools on the market. Here are some tips to help you choose the right tool for your needs.
- Buffalo horn: original material of the Gua Sha tool. The great advantage of this material is that it is more durable than stones or jade. However, it is not easy to keep it clean because it is not water resistant. Besides, nowadays, many plastic tools are sold as buffalo horn products. You can know by testing on your hair if it produces static electricity.
- Wood: it is normally used for hot massages and does not produce. However, it is not easy to clean because it is not water resistant.
- Jade: it is water or fire resistant, so it is easy to clean and you can also choose according to your preference - cold or hot massage. Moreover, it emits far infrared to relax your body. However, it breaks easily.
- Quartz: it is the most beautiful in terms of color and shape. However, it breaks easily, and you must choose carefully if it is well treated so that it does not have cracks or rough surfaces to avoid skin irritation.
- Wax: normally a mixture of wax and plastic because the wax itself is not hard enough to hold its shape for Gua Sha massages.
- Ceramic: it absorbs the heat of the body temperature, which improves blood circulation. Because it is fired to finish, it is more durable than stone materials. In addition, its smooth surface reduces skin irritation.
- Shapes - The shape of the tool depends on your needs. Here is an easy guide to help you choose the right shape for you.
- Large curve: large area of your face (forehead, chin, jawline)
- U-shaped curve: small parts of your face (eyebrows, nose, cheek)
- Small points: acupressure area (scalp, temples, hands, feet)
- Long edge: body (back, neck, nape of the neck, collarbone, armpit, stomach, waist, leg)
WHAT DO I NEED TO KNOW BEFORE DOING THE GUA SHA?
What is a bit surprising is the appearance of the skin right after receiving the gua sha massage. You can see the blood flow in the skin become red like the traces of the massage. It's a little different from normal bruises. In fact, all massage marks are said to disappear within a few hours to two days at the latest, depending on the person. It's best to test with the pressure for the massage and check according to your skin's reaction. Your face may/should even look a little red afterwards, but you are not supposed to have bruises.
You should also avoid massaging the area of skin problems or if you have had Botox or a filler on your face. If you are pregnant, the Gua Sha massage promotes blood circulation but avoid the belly area.
Does Gua Sha really work?
In particular, gua sha therapy has an excellent effect on lifting. It's easy to find reviews stating that the lines on your neck and chin are refined in just one session. New York facialist Cecilia Wong, who is responsible for the skin of celebrities such as Jack Pozen and Uma Thurman, also acknowledged the effect of gua sha massage in an interview with Refinery 29. "I've been giving gua sha massages to my clients for years. What's especially nice is that you can visually check the effect as soon as you receive it. After I started the gua sha massage, the skin became more lifted and taut. Even the swelling is gone!"