This story was contributed by our wellness columnist, Michelle Calarco.
By now you’ve likely come across a Gua Sha video on social media where you’ve watched someone massage their face with a stone and wondered what was going on. We wanted to get to the bottom of why this traditional Chinese healing method has suddenly become so buzzy (with the hashtag #guasha accumulating more than 845 million views on TikTok!) and what its benefits actually are.
We talked to Mary Heaven M.S. L.Ac., a board-certified and licensed Acupuncturist and founder of Mary Heaven Acupuncture, to learn more and to get some tips on how to Gua Sha at home.
What is Gua Sha?
Gua Sha is a rejuvenating, facial therapy that is rooted in Traditional Chinese Medicine. It is an ancient modality that involves sweeping the skin with a smooth massage tool to increase circulation. Its application activates microcirculation of the soft tissues, causing an increase in blood flow. Healthy blood flow= healthy tissue, which will keep the skin looking youthful and radiant.
When used on the face it can decrease puffy appearance by stimulating lymphatic drainage and soften tight muscles to achieve a more sculpted look & strengthen the overall health of the lymphatic system.
What are the benefits?
- Softening of fine lines and wrinkles
- Loosening of tight muscles in the face, sinuses & jaw
- Glowing and radiant skin
- Reduction in dark circles / puffiness around eyes
- Assists with clearing congested skin that can lead to breakouts
- Increases circulation and lymphatic drainage for a more sculpted look
Can you share some tips on how to Gua Sha at home?
- For best results apply 2-5 drops of serum to cleansed skin. Serum will encourage a gentle glide that should make the strokes feel effortless.
- It is encouraged to use extra gentle movements around the eyes as the skin is thinner and more sensitive.
- Note: A slight pinkish tint to the skin is normal as you are increasing the circulation. However, if redness, irritation, bruising persists, please consult your Physician or Dermatologist immediately.
- This tool is intended for beauty purposes & is not a replacement for medical care.
HOT TIPS: we start with the neck, because ‘FLOW CREATES GLOW”. Releasing the neck will contribute to contouring the jaw, improving posture and helping with acne/skin breakouts. Can’t change the face if we don’t open the neck.
Basic face sculpting routine with added lymph drainage techniques:
- Upward with the H of the tool from c7 to t1 – 3x
- Upward back/ side of neck – 3x
- Upward on side of the neck to encourage the lift – 3x
- Drain downward to the sides
- Massage terminus with tip
- Lift up from throat to chin
- Along the jaw wiggle all the way out – 3x
- Upper jaw all the way out – 3x ( tug and wiggle out for lymph drainage at the end)
- Mouth all the way out – 3x
- Cheekbone all the way out – 3x
- Gentle under eye, anchored finger x3
- Below brow sweeping outward and lift x3
- Forehead strokes up like ironing x3
- Brows outward x3
- Forehead outward x3
Any product recommendations to help with the above?
Ytsara Rose Grass facial oil & Siam Rose Facial mist. I use these at home & in my private practice. Any (natural) products with Rose are a big yes. Rose is the highest vibrational flower on the planet. When you use it, you are working with the truest essence of love. Just be sure to rule out rose allergy prior to use; if not, go for it!