Gua-sha is an ancient practice, that originated in China. Originally used as a technique to “scrape away illness in the body”, it has since been adapted for the face but with a much gentler adaptation.
There are many benefits to facial Gua-Sha. The most commonly used method is for lymphatic drainage however with the application of different pressure, you can also break down fascia (connective tissue), stimulate collagen production, and sculpt the facial muscles!
WHY PERFORM FACIAL GUA SHA?
So as mentioned above – there any varied reasons to pick up a stone and try out Gua Sha on yourself, or in a professional treatment.
We’ll start with lymphatic drainage. Consider your lymphatic system as our waste elimination system.
The fluids that collect beneath your skin need to be flushed regularly by the body’s natural detoxification system – the lymphatics. Gua sha works to move those fluids and flow them to where they get cleaned and mixed back into your bloodstream.
Unlike the circulatory system, there is no pump for the lymphatic system… and it can become sluggish or blocked up due to all sorts of reasons so by performing Gua Sha techniques, you are giving your lymphatic system the boost that it needs to rid yourself of the fluids that are stuck beneath the surface of your skin and causing your face to become puffy, dull and lacking in vibrancy. In some cases, pigmentation and breakouts can occur when fluid is trapped for too long as it causes toxins to build up and this can be seen on the surface of the skin.
Now, you may have also been wondering before, what is Fascia?
“Fascia is made up of thin sheets of connective tissue that surrounds and holds every organ, blood vessel, bone, nerve fibre and muscle in place. The tissue does more than provide internal structure; fascia has nerves that make it almost as sensitive as skin and when stressed, it tightens up.” – John Hopkins Medicine.
Gua Sha can help to break down and loosen fascia bonds so that blood flows more easily throughout these layers therefore resulting in a much healthier, more glowing complexion. It also helps the muscle fibres to relax in the neck, jaw and forehead which can decrease overall tension and headaches.
By working on the fascia, we are also promoting more suppleness which is of course softening fine lines and wrinkles. So Gua Sha can be a wonderful way to support the skin's natural ageing process.
Typically, Gua Sha is performed by incorporating a jade or rose quartz stone to enhance the benefits of this practice. Not only do the stones many angles and edges allow for better pressure control, these materials also remain cool to the touch and can feel incredibly soothing for inflamed skin and will help to decrease puffiness.
TIPS FOR THE BEST GUA SHA RESULTS:
- It’s important to use a good quality stone. Jade or Rose Quartz are most commonly used. Jade is often regarded as a stone that exudes calming and soothing qualities that balance the body, mind, and soul. Jade is especially useful for administering facial Gua Sha because it can enhance the flow of 'Qi' or energy, to achieve toning and defining effect.
- Start with the neck & dec (decolletage) and finish with the neck and dec. It’s important to begin the detoxification by clearing the lower pathways first, to allow for the flow of waste effectively to the lymph nodes.
- Use very gentle pressure to begin with and go SLOW. If you want to sculpt/lift, then a slightly firmer pressure on certain areas can be introduced after a minute or so.
- Always use something for ‘slip’ such as a facial oil. Try to prevent ‘dragging’ on the skin, you want to aim for a good gentle flow with your stone. You also want to use an ‘anchor’ hand to support the side of the face you are working on whilst holding the
- Hold the stone between 15 to a 45-degree angle – never 90 degrees or vertical. Imagine buttering a piece of toast.
- Sweep up and out. This motion is most effective for lymphatic drainage.
- Focus on your breath. This helps you ease into and connect with your practice and tells the muscles to relax 😊