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Everything you need to know about Gua Sha

Guash-what ?! What is Gua Sha?

You will probably not have missed it: on social media, people are “scraping” with flat stones, which, so to speak, makes the face tighter and brighter. Ridiculous? Still not, the gua sha technique has been used for thousands of years and does have a beneficial effect on your skin. You must know this about the wildly popular beauty trend!

In a nutshell: the gua sha is a type of small tool that looks like a stone or a comb that you slide over your face according to a specific rhythm and movements to stimulate blood circulation and drain lymph. It is sometimes called a "face sculptor". However, it is well-known not only for the face treatment but also for a method to massage the entire body with the tool which is small enough to be held in one hand, has a flat thickness, and is finished with a soft edge.

You can often find the Gua Sha tools in rose quartz, jade, or obsidian rocks. However, the materials and shapes for Gua Sha tools are evolving. You can find different materials like ceramic, wood, or brass in various shapes. You can choose the materials and shapes based on your needs.  

OVERVIEW

ORIGIN OF GUA SHA

The beauty trend has its origins in ancient Chinese medicine, where diseases are literally "scraped" from the body - "gua sha" literally means "scraping" and “sand” (so at the end, it literally means “scraping until you have bruises coming up on the skin surface like grains of sand”). In the past this was sometimes done using a buffalo horn, nowadays there are so many materials for the tool. Through the massaging movements, blood flows, water, and stuck lymph fluid are loosely massaged and drained, which should make a tangible difference in the short term. In alternative medicine, gua sha is used for numerous complaints such as muscle pain, fever, cough, and shortness of breath, but also digestive problems. Alternative therapy is based on the principle of stimulating the microscopic blood flow of the body and helping the circulation of stagnant energy. It is said that rubbing the surface breaks down toxins that have stagnated under the skin, reducing inflammation and promoting healing.

BENEFITS OF GUA SHA – What is Gua Sha good for?

The massage is based on that theory to give your face and body a firm look. The idea is at the same time to stimulate your blood circulation - which in turn stimulates the renewal of skin cells - and to “pull” the excess water and lymph fluid that is just under your skin to the edge of your face and to drain it through the neck and neck. If you regularly scrape, you should get a firm, visibly fuller skin in this way. Some advantages at a glance:

  • By accelerating the lymphatic system, relieves swelling. 
  • Better blood flow prevents inflammation under the skin so that you will be less likely to suffer from a rash or pimples.
  • Again through that blood circulation you work against the skin aging process. Do not expect immediate results, but a daily treatment in combination with the right products can indeed counteract wrinkles and even reduce them visibly.
  • It also has a very relaxing effect - partly due to the massaging movements and draining effect. Tensions in your face, but also head and neck pain are relieved by it. The gua sha stone hits your subcutaneous muscle tissue, the fascia, and that has nothing but healing benefits. Doing it before bed can also help improve insomnia.
  • Because your blood circulation gets a boost and toxins are actively removed, your skin also gets that healthy glow back that no pot can give you.

 

HOW DO YOU USE THE GUA SHA? 

Just like with other skincare routine, there are of course do's and don'ts associated with the gua sha.

  • First and foremost, it is important never to work on dry skin: always prepare your skin with active serums, moisturizing creams, or facial oils.
  • Second, always open the neck area before you start, otherwise the released toxins cannot be properly disposed of. You do this by scraping the stone over your neck about ten times with an upward movement, which opens the lymphatic channels along your throat.
  • Then you can get started: always start at the bottom of your face and work your way up. The exact movement you need to perform depends on the specific area you want to tackle and the shape of the tool. 

HOW STRONG DO YOU DO THE GUA SHA MASSAGE? 

It is always not easy to find the right strength to press for Gua Sha massage. Here is an easy way that we recommend to control your power! Let’s assume that we have pressure strength from 1 to 10. 1 is just gently putting the tool on your face and 10 is pressing with the full power. 

  • Face: 2-5
  • Body: 5-6
  • Scalp: 5-8
  • Hands or feet: 9-10

HOW DO YOU CHOOSE THE GUA SHA TOOL? 

There are various kind of shapes and materials in the market for the Gua Sha tools. Here are some tips to help you to choose the right tool for your needs. 

  1. Materials
  • Buffalo horn: original material of Gua Sha tool. The big advantage of this material is that it is more durable than stones or jade. However, it is not easy to keep it clean since it is not water-resistant. In addition, these days, many plastic tools are sold as buffalo horn products. You can find out by test on your hair if it produces static. 
  • Wood: it is normally used for warm massage and not produces. However, it is not easy to clean since it is not water-resistant.
  • Jade: it has water or fire resistance, so it is easy to clean and you can also choose according to your preference - cold or warm massage. Also, it emits far-infrared to relax your body. However, it breaks easily.
  • Quartz: it is most beautiful in terms of color and shape. However, it easily breaks, and you must choose carefully if it is processed nicely so that it does not have cracks or rough surfaces to avoid skin irritation. 
  • Wax: normally it is a mixture of wax and plastic since wax itself is not hard enough to keep the shape for Gua Sha massages. 
  • Ceramic: it absorbs the heat from body temperature which improves blood circulation. Since it is baked with fire to finish, it is more durable than stone materials. In addition, the smooth surface reduces skin irritation. 

 

  1. Shapes -The shape of the tool is depending on your needs. Here is an easy guide for you to choose the right shape for you.

 

  • Big curve: wide zone on your face (forehead, chin, jaw contour) 
  • U-shaped curve: small parts of your face (eye-brow, nose, cheek)
  • Small tips: acupressure zone (scalp, temple, hands, feet)
  • Long edge: body (back, neck, nape, clavicle, armpit, belly, waist, leg)

 

WHAT DO YOU HAVE TO KNOW BEFORE DOING THE GUA SHA?

What's a little surprising is the appearance of the skin right after receiving the gua sha massage. You can see the blood flow in the skin rising red as the traces of the massage. It's a little different from normal bruises In fact, it is said that all massage marks disappear within a few hours to two days, at the latest, depending on the person. You better test with the pressure for massage and control depending on your skin reaction. Your face may / should even look a little red afterward, but you are not supposed to bruises.

Also, you should avoid the massage on the skin trouble area or if you had Botox or filler done on your face. If you are pregnant, Gua Sha massage helps blood circulation but avoids the belly area. 

Does Gua Sha actually work?

In particular, gua sha therapy has an excellent effect on lifting. It's easy to find reviews that your neck and chin lines are sharpened 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 particularly good is that you can visually check the effect as soon as you receive it. After starting the gua sha massage, the skin became more lifted and tighter. Even the swelling is gone!”

 

 

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