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Gua Sha — pronounced gwahshah — comes from the Chinese word for scraping, and has been used for years as a form of healing to ‘scrape’ away ‘blocked energy’ that can build up in the body and cause pain. In Chinese tradition, the ‘qi’ or ‘chi’ is an energy that flows through the body, and it must be balanced and flowing freely to ensure health and wellbeing. The practice of gua sha on the body is a way to release when the qi might be imbalanced. Interestingly, the goal in body gua sha is to create bruises and red and purple marks in order to relieve symptoms.
In recent years, this form of skin scraping has become a popular method used for facial contouring, de-puffing and self-care. Now, it has become a viral TikTok trend, with users showing incredible before and after photos of their contoured faces after doing gua sha. “Gua sha enhances blood and lymph circulation for detox and repair on your face,” Ivy Chuang, founder of Bledily in Portland, Oregon told HollywoodLife.com. “Skin is also surprisingly suggestable. Smoothing your skin in gentle upwards motions can lead to an immediately lifting effect.” If you’ve seen the TikTok videos, many users swear that practicing gua sha can get rid of a double chin and replace the need of botox!
Using a bian stone, jade, or rose quartz tool with rounded edges, one will glide the piece from pressure point to pressure point and in other soft movements to promote lymphatic drainage, thus reducing puffiness. Ivy gave HollywoodLife a step-by-step tutorial to master the art of facial gua sha, and included her suggestions for the tools you need to do it at home.
How To Prepare For Gua Sha Facial
You will need a facial oil to add slip to the skin. You will also need a Gua Sha tool that is smooth and flat to do the scraping. Ivy recommends the Blendily Small Sickle Gua Sha tool and the Acupressure Polygon for this tutorial. If you’d like a jade gua sha, this Large Gua Sha Heart is the perfect option.
How Often Should You Practice Gua Sha
“You can do it as much as you feel called,” Ivy suggested. “I would recommend starting with once a week. As a busy entrepreneur, I have to schedule my self-care time. I have time blocked off in my calendar once a week to do my self care ritual. I get a cup of tea, light some copal and I even sound a little tuning fork at the beginning of and end of the session. This helps me dedicate the full time to self-care and not be distracted by other things that may come up.”
Gua Sha Step-by-Step
First, apply a bit of facial oil to help the tool glide over your skin, rather than pull on it. Remember to keep the tool almost completely flush with your face, at a ninety degree angle to prevent it from tugging the skin. You should stroke each section indicated on the diagram (above) three times.
1. Neck – Move vertically from top to bottom and from the outside in. Gently stroke over each of the three parts of your neck three times then repeat on the opposite side.
2. Chin + Cheek – Here, the strokes should start from the midline of your face and move out and upwards towards your jaw and ear. Begin the first stroke right on top of your chin and move successive strokes up towards your eye, but make sure not to catch the delicate skin directly underneath your eye.
3. Forehead – Start with the tool right at the center of your eyebrows and move horizontally, over your eyebrow, towards your temples. Bring each of the following strokes up a little higher until you reach your hairline.
Finish: Just like any other form of massage, it’s a great idea to finish your gua sha practice with a large glass of water.
Watch Ivy Chuang’s full tutorial on the HollywoodLife Instagram here!