5 Things You Need to Know About Gua Sha

By Published On: September 28, 2021Categories: Blog, Facial Rejuvenation, Gua Sha, Massage

Dating back as far as the Paleolithic Age, Gua Sha was first used to reduce the side effects and symptoms of many illnesses by use of hands and stones to massage parts of the body.

Nowadays, Gua Sha is a treatment that involves using a flat jade or rose quartz stone to “scrape” the skin in upward strokes. The “scraping” is actually a smooth movement with gentle to moderate pressure that relaxes stiff muscles and promotes tissue drainage.

This treatment is traditionally used in East Asian and Chinese medicine but is becoming increasingly popular in other cultures to improve the look and feel of skin.

There are also claims that Gua Sha can help treat migraines and neck pain since our bodies experience a significant amount of stress in the shoulders, head, and face. Through Gua Sha massage, tension in the muscles of the face can be relieved, blood circulation boosted, and lymphatic drainage encouraged.

Gua Sha can also help with anxiety, fatigue, chronic pain, and insomnia – especially when done integratively with acupuncture.

If you’re interested in learning more, keep reading to see what you need to know about Gua Sha:

Here’s What You Need to Know About Gua Sha:

Young woman has a face gua sha treatment by professional

1. Gua Sha Works Best With Other Holistic Treatments

While Gua Sha works well on its own to promote healthy skin, it is most effective when paired with other holistic treatments such as acupuncture and massage

When combined with other treatments, it can be really effective in treating stiff or sore muscles as well as releasing the heat and stagnation in the body associated with the common cold.

Why does it work best with other treatments? Because holistic treatments manipulate a natural energy flow in the body known as Qi. When used congruently, they can help balance Qi and prevent energy blockages.

In the world of Traditional Chinese Medicine, balance means health.

2. You Can Do Gua Sha At Home

Although your first few Gua Sha treatments are best done by a professional, you can do Gua Sha at home with the proper tools such as a jade or rose quartz stone.

In order to perform Gua Sha properly at home, follow these steps:

  • Stay Hydrated. Hydration is an important part of skincare and is key in getting rid of toxins in your body. You should make sure you hydrate before and after Gua Sha.
  • Prepare Your Skin. Apply a base on your skin to ensure that your Gua Sha tool glides easily. You can use a light moisturizer followed by facial oil or serum.
  • Start At Your Neck. To optimize lymphatic drainage, start from the base of your neck, holding your tool at a 15-degree angle. Rub your skin in upward strokes three to five times.
  • Face. From the top of your neck, move to your chin and jawline until you reach your ears. Then work your way to your cheeks, the creases of your nose, and back toward your ears. Apply light pressure to the sensitive areas under your eyes.
  • Forehead and Hairline: Finish by moving to your forehead and tracing your hairline.
  • Moisturize. When you are done, apply some gentle moisturizer and keep your Gua Sha tools.

Gua Sha can also be used on the body, over sore muscles in long repetitive strokes to loosen the muscle.

*Avoid running your Gua Sha tool over any major arteries or veins. If you need assistance, contact your provider.

3. Gua Sha Doesn’t Hurt

A gentle pressure is used when doing facial Gua Sha, which bring blood flow to the surface, resulting in some temporary redness, but no pain. Gua Sha done on less sensitive areas of the body are done with heavier strokes. After this type of treatment, you’ll likely notice red, yellow-brown, or purple markings/spots on your skin. However, it will fade in a couple of days, and despite the appearance of the skin following a treatment, the actual procedure does not hurt.

These markings are signs that the body is getting rid of toxins.

If you do notice pain during your treatment, either the wrong tool is being used, your skin is not well prepared, or you’re using too much pressure.

This is why it’s beneficial to have your first treatments done by a professional so you can get a sense of the movements and the pressure. They also have the skills to pay particular attention to areas close to the bone and other areas with delicate tissue.

The bottom line: If it hurts, you may be doing it wrong!

4. Not All Gua Sha Tools Are Made Equally

Gua Sha tools made of jade and rose quartz are easy to find in North American markets but you need to be aware of the type of tool you are using.

For instance, tools made of jade can be porous and prone to bacteria growth. These tools should always be properly cleaned before and after each use. You can do this easily with warm water and a mild soap or wiping the tool down with alcohol.

No matter the material you choose for your Gua Sha tool, do not boil it in water to disinfect it! These materials may become damaged in boiling water.

5. You Don’t Need to Chill Gua Sha Tools

You may have been told at some point in your life that cold will help close the pores on your face as well as reduce puffiness and inflammation. In fact, there are Gua Sha “tools” out there that are meant to be kept in the fridge or freezer.

However, although it kind of makes sense to apply cool tools to your face to address inflammation, the use of cold Gua Sha tools will constrict circulation and defy the purpose of having the massage done in the first place.

If you do Gua Sha at home, keep your tools at room temperature.

Gua Sha – Part of a Whole Health and Alternative Medicine Strategy

Gua Sha is an amazing therapy to help rejuvenate your skin and rid your body of toxins.

When combined with the best of ancient Eastern healing and modern Western medicine, it becomes an integral part of whole health and alternative medicine strategies!

Red Leaf Wellness offers Gua Sha as one of our many specialized treatments in Edmonton, Alberta. We can address many conditions that affect both your physical and mental health.

If you’re interested in learning more about Gua Sha, get in touch with us today!