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What is Gua Sha and how do you use it?

What is Gua Sha?

GUA : To scrape or rub
SHA : Reddish rash (petechiae) blood stagnation, or flow to surface of skin.

The above represents the toxic energy that is released when the technique causes blood to flush to the surface of the skin. It’s the blood rising to the surface as energy is released. The petechiae is a sign that toxic “wind” energy is present below the surface of the skin. The red marks will only appear if you have stuck energy.

Gua Sha is an ancient healing technique that involves the unidirectional press stroking of a gemstone to bring about a fundamental change in the skin by clearing stagnation and accumulation in the channel system that directly correlates and has a profound effect on the health of the skin. By venting the channel system and opening up the pathways that feed the skin, we are able to ignite the skin’s natural healing power and affect long term change.

Gua Sha is performed using gentle press stroking massage movements to manipulate and stimulate specific energy lines and points about the face and body, which help break up blood stagnation, free toxic accumulation, promote lymphatic drainage and increase the life force energy that runs throughout our body.

Gua Sha is an effective facial massage modality that directly affects the connective tissue and muscles to help untangle and iron out fascia that is bound with tension and traps accumulated wastes from stressors of daily life. It helps unwind the tissue, restores mobility and create space for the optimal flow of blood, oxygen, lymph and nutrients.

Gua Sha helps re-pattern the way our skin ages by softening deep seeded facial expressions and emotions that impede the flow of nutrition and ultimately, the production of collagen and elastin. By relaxing tension, we encourage the tissue to settle into their natural space and geography, which allows the skin to function more efficiently.

Gua Sha creates movement that helps tone muscles and stimulates connective tissue and flow of nutrients that feed the skin.

Gua Sha aids in the effectiveness of the active ingredients in topically applied skincare products. Gua Sha brings attention and healing to areas of concern ; puffiness, dark circles, deep lines and wrinkles, blemishes, redness, sensitivity and tight muscles and tension caused by stress that are deeply held in the tissue and memory of the muscles.

How to use a Gua Sha

You start by applying facial oil to the face and neck. Include the back of the neck. You don’t need too much as it is important to have some grip on the skin. Generally use light pressure especially around the eye area but for areas that have tension such as the jaw or the back of the neck then it is fine to use a firmer pressure. Remember always to start light and then build up to a deeper pressure. It must feel comfortable, never painful.

Use a gliding motion against your skin. Hold the stone at a 30 degree angle using the flat side. Many make the mistake of using the stone at a 90 degree angle and then they are missing out on all the surface of the stone.

Start with the back of the neck and then the sides always using an upwards motion. Go up towards the ear as this is where the lymph nodes are which help to reduce puffiness. Then move to the chin and cheeks sweeping out from the middle of the face. Move up to the forehead and imagine a wind screen wiper, wiping to the right from the middle outwards. 

There are many more specific moves on the face and around the eyes. If you are unsure or need guidance then please do get in touch. As well as Gua Sha’s there are facial rollers, facial mushrooms and spoons but all can be used in pretty much a similar way to the Gua Sha.

When you first start it is recommended to do a Gua Sha facial every day, even if it is for just 5 minutes then after a couple of weeks use it 2-3 times a week.

Your tool will last you a lifetime (as long as you don’t drop it) Wash in warm soapy water after use and dry with a clean tissue.

So to sum up here are some of the benefits:

Stimulate cell activity; production of collagen and elastin.
Reduce inflammation, puffiness and dark circles.
Minimise fine lines and soften deep wrinkles.
Relieve tension.
Brighten the complexion and create a healthy glow.
Renew facial contour; tone, firm and lift sagging skin.
Feeds the skin and increases the ability to absorb nutrients.