Gua Sha 101: Benefits of Gua Sha

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Gua sha is a health and wellness technique with traditional Chinese medicine origins. The process involves scraping the skin with a smooth massage tool, which stimulates the circulation of chi (vital energy) in a specific bodily area, providing many potential health benefits.

The term “gua sha” directly translates to "scratch sand" in Mandarin Chinese. However, the “sand” refers to itchy red areas on the body rather than physical sand, caused by bacteria or viral buildups under the skin. Scraping the affected skin areas results in the emergence of granules, which seem like grains of sand at first glance.

While some individuals may approach a certified practitioner for their gua sha sessions, you can perform them yourself in most cases.

What is Gua Sha?

As gua sha clears chi blockages, it eliminates inflammation and similar physical symptoms that affect the musculoskeletal system (i.e., tendons and joints). Gua sha practitioners have also reported other bodily benefits, such as:
  • Improving blood circulation
  • Reversing bloating
  • Relieving migraines and headaches
  • Alleviating muscle tension
  • Reducing wrinkles and smoothening out skin for a sculpted and firm appearance
  • Promoting lymphatic drainage
  • De-puffing the face
  • Detoxifying the body 
  • Refreshing the eyes/eye area
  • Easing facial tensions

Gua Sha Preparation

The first step to any gua sha session involves getting into a comfortable position and mood. You may consider setting up a conducive atmosphere with aromatherapy (we recommend lavender scents as they promote relaxation and remove anxiety) and playing some calming music.

Next, you should prepare your skin with a base/carrier oil that moisturizes the surface while relaxing the pores. The process makes extracting the “sand” easier while providing your skin with a refreshing sensation.

We recommend 100% jojoba oil, an antibacterial option suitable for individuals with eczema and similar sensitivities, which gives your skin a healthy glow.

Jade is the stone of choice for traditional Chinese beauty treatments and has a naturally cooling effect against the skin. Other less common stone options include rose quartz and amethyst. When selecting your gua sha tool, you can choose between a jade stone or jade roller. Ideally, you should keep your jade tools in a refrigerator to charge them before a session.

How Often Should You Gua Sha

As a rule of thumb, you should start by conducting gua sha sessions two to three times a week to familiarize yourself with the routine while letting your skin recover and recharge at a comfortable pace. Gradually, you may transition to daily gua sha sessions for maximum effectiveness.

How to use a Gua Sha

Step 1: Begin by washing your hands and gua sha tools under running water.

Step 2: Cleanse your face and keep it thoroughly moisturized.

Step 3: Apply a toner evenly across your face to eliminate the last traces of dirt and impurities on its surface.

Step 4: Gently add the carrier oil or any face oil (e.g., jojoba oil) to your skin. Ensure you cover every inch of the skin where you will be performing the gua sha technique. You might have to reapply the oil during the process.

Step 5: Perform the gua sha technique. Align the jade tool at a 30–45-degree angle to your skin and gently scrape in a gentle and upward motion.

Step 6: Wipe away the residual oil or rub it into your skin. You may follow up with your regular skincare regime if desired.

Gua Sha for Other Parts of the Body

The steps are generally similar to the approach for facial gua sha but require a more specialized understanding of body tissue and recovery goals. Essentially, you need to identify your muscle tensions, scrap perpendicular to the knot, and alternate movement in the opposite direction once the muscles ease.

It is normal to notice light bruising (appearing as red or purple patches) on skin areas that undergo gua sha treatment. These bruises are known as petechiae. However, these are signs of the body expelling the toxic buildups responsible for various health conditions, indicating recovery.

Start Your Gua Sha Journey

While there have been many health and beauty fads (as shared on social media), gua sha is a practice with generations of positive testimonies. Some of the earliest traces of gua sha go back thousands of years into the paleolithic age.

The rise of social media has led to a revival of gua sha techniques, and it’s an excellent opportunity for you to level up your beauty regime with the time-tested method. When starting with gua sha, the essential thing is to get yourself equipped with the proper tools for an enjoyable and effective experience.

Get the quality products you deserve from Miss A, and begin your gua sha journey today!