Gua Sha for Face & Body
Gua sha is a traditional Chinese medicine treatment that’s practiced by massaging the skin with a small, smooth tool designed to help to relieve tension, boost circulation and promote healing. Originally a wellness treatment used primarily on the body, facial gua sha has recently gained popularity, thanks to its ability to improve skin tone and texture.
When I started seeing pictures of the pretty jade roller and gua sha tools popping up all over Instagram, I was intrigued and ordered one of each. While I enjoy using the jade roller, gua sha quickly became my go-to skincare ritual, mainly for its ability to completely relax my face, head and neck!
I wanted to learn more about the right way to practice gua sha, so I turned to Dr. Peggy Regis Robinson, my acupuncturist of 20 years and The Sacred Beauty Collective Guest Expert, for guidance.
Dr. Peggy’s not only a traditional Chinese medicine practitioner, she’s also a holistic esthetician who blends ancient healing modalities with modern wisdom for inner and outer beauty. Here’s what I learned:
How gua sha works
“Gua sha helps to break up fascia, our muscles connective tissue, which relieves tension, boosts Qi, improves circulation and promotes lymphatic drainage.” Dr. Peggy says. “On an internal level, this can improve our immune system, alleviate pain, calm our Shen (spirit) and help heal specific physical ailments. On an external level, gua sha can change the appearance of the skin by diminishing inflammation and puffiness, leaving it more vibrant and sculpted.”
How to practice gua sha
1. Always start by applying a facial oil or moisturizer to your skin first. This helps the tool glide across the skin without pulling, tugging or irritating the skin. I like to prep my skin by spraying on a beauty mist such as Golden Hour Hydrosol and then applying on one of my favorite facial oils. This really helps the skin feel supple and ready for a nice massage.
I highly recommend Pink Moon Co’s Over the Moon Facial Oil and Gua Sha Duo to quickly start your facial gua sha ritual.
2. “When practicing gua sha for facial rejuvenation, you want to apply gentle, yet firm strokes to slowly sculpt around the contours of your face.” Regis Robinson says. “Starting at the chin, use upward strokes toward the hairline to lift the muscles, skin and Qi. Always move in one direction and not back and forth.”
3. As you get to the hairline and neck area, switch to downward strokes to help drain lymphatic fluid and support detoxification. "We hold a lot of tension in our face and jaw area, so this downward movement helps relax the muscles as well.” Dr. Peggy adds.
4. There are a few differences when practicing gua sha on the body versus on the face. “When working on the body, we may opt for a larger gua sha tool and generally use much longer and deeper strokes. Traditionally, more pressure is used on the body to break up stagnation and help heal issues.” Peggy says. While each body may have specific needs, it’s a good idea to use downward strokes from top to bottom, starting at the neck and moving down to the feet.
For a post-shower, full-body beauty ritual, I'm obsessed with the February Beauty Heroes Discovery featuring YINA Recovery Body Treatment and Gua Sha Bian Stone.
Do you have a gua sha ritual and if so, how has it helped you? Any favorite tips or tools to share?