What is Gua Sha?
Gua Sha is quickly growing in popularity; hailing from the East and a long-standing part of Chinese medicine, it is known for leaving a glowing and radiant complexion in its wake.
So, what is Gua Sha and can it be performed at home? Here is everything you need to know to bring this ancient practice into your self-care and home-beauty routines.
While many years ago, things like metal spoons or knuckles were used for this practice, the western world has favoured using polished crystals, designed to draw out toxins in our skin and bodies. The process involves applying some oil or moisturiser, and massaging the effected areas with the stone or crystal, to increase blood flow, break down impurities, and to draw out bad energy within the body.
Bad Qi or Chi, (energy) within the body, is said to cause a multitude of health issues, as well as feelings of sluggishness and tiredness, making Gua Sha the perfect remedy to get things flowing again.
A folk tradition, dating as far back as the Paleolithic Age, and it was written about in detail during the early 1300s. This is a practice that dates further back than we can comprehend, and before spoons were available, never mind the fancy stones, polished rocks were used in their place. It was a practice used to treat a broad range of ailments, and has now been built into the world of self care.
On a scientific note, the long and short strokes across the skin, create microcirculation of the soft tissue, which increases blood flow. There are plenty of professionals that offer this service, but you can carry out this treatment at home too, with your favourite oil to hand.
You will need to apply light to moderate pressure to the skin throughout the treatment, and there may be some reddening of the skin initially as the blood starts to pump.
While there may be some elements of reddening to the skin, the pressure should be enough to feel the benefits but be careful not to overdo it. The addition of oil or moisturiser is also super important, so you get some lubrication on the skin.
Key areas to work through are the cheeks, under eyes, sides of the neck, eyebrows and forehead. You will typically start in the middle of the face and stroke outwards, towards the edges of the face or towards the hairline. As for the neck, start at the bottom and stroke up towards the chin, you should look to finish each of these strokes with a small side to side movement.
There are a few benefits to adding this to your routine, with the first one being the obvious flow of energy and blood, which creates a glowing complexion, who wouldn’t want that?
Another benefit is that the motion actually detoxifies the skin and so, it can help prevent breakouts, as well as clearing different channels within the body too.
It also makes for a good ritual, and a habit you can build into your routine. Whether you are doing it for the glow or you want to find some meditative movements, we recommend gua sha either way. Use the time you spend stroking and scraping to really tune into the activity and how you feel in that moment, and see what impact it has on your body and your mind. This could be your solace in your busy day, if you choose it to be. A ritual, a habit, something to build into your morning or evening routine each day.
A natural face lift without any nasties, gua sha has been known to tighten and tone the skin through regular use. By getting that stagnant energy moving, we are allowing blockages to lift and flow, which can also prevent signs of ageing in the face and the neck.
Lastly, it can relieve a tonne of tension in the face, neck and shoulders. These tiny movements allow us to soften and feel into the places we hold tension, working away at them like a mini massage for the face and neck.
The treatment was initially used to work through common ailments such as colds, as well as things like heatstroke, to prevent further side effects coming into play. The impact on the skin was a secondary feature that later became the main event and the main reason for the treatment to be carried out, not only in the East but across the world.
While you don’t need anything too fancy to get started, and you can even try with your knuckles if you wish, there are many different stones to buy and try depending on what you are looking for. Built to firm and lift the skin in the most natural way possible, we have seen some of the results and they are pretty amazing.
Gua, meaning to scrape, and sha being used to describe the rash that occurs from the blood coming to the surface of the skin, the treatment is decided to purposefully create that rash, in order for energy to flow more easily through the body, draining away the things we don’t need and moving stagnated energy.
By aiding lymphatic drainage, as well as allowing the muscles to relax, it is recommended that you use this routine on your face once or twice a week, or as needed. With modern stresses and pressures, we are always on the lookout for new and easy things to add into our wellness routine, and this is that quick and simple addition we have been looking for. Relaxing after a long day at work, or equally perfect to wake up the skin and the face before you head into your day, we would absolutely recommend giving this a go and seeing how your skin looks and feels after a month or so.
At Welcome to MADE, we are advocates of wellness and leading a lifestyle that leaves us enriched and fulfilled. To find out more about adding wellness into your daily routine, visit our hub of all things wellness, over at MADE on Demand.