It’s an ancient Chinese practice for directing energy, improving circulation and treating muscle pain, but gua sha also happens to have significant benefits for the skin. While the traditional form of the technique involves some pretty rigorous contact (the kind of which you wouldn’t want close to the more delicate skin of your face) and even the word ‘scraping’ (yikes), a lighter touch is plenty if you’re just looking to clear skin, fade lines and puffiness, and boost glow, entirely naturally.
So how does it work? Using a tool, often made of jade, rose quartz or mineral-rich stone and cut for the contours of your face, plus your favourite facial serum or oil for a good degree of slip, you can glide the tool over your face in sweeping motions.
The movement stimulates circulation, the pressure relieves tension and the action itself will aid lymphatic drainage. And that’s the important bit. Well-functioning lymphatic drainage is the key to great, clear, glowing skin. Unlike the circulatory system, which has a heart muscle to keep it moving, the lymphatic system can require a little manual nudging when it gets sluggish, so things like muscle tension and poor posture don’t restrict the system’s proper function. With more than 30% of your lymph nodes residing in your head and neck, improving the function of those lymph nodes on your face can have a big impact.
“It’s great for eliminating puffiness, flushing toxins and really contouring the face, so that you revive the angles of the jawline and cheekbones,” says skin therapist from Sydney’s Onda Beauty, Nicole Manning. As well as advocating it for at-home, Onda incorporates gua sha into their True Radiance Facial. Manning employs the technique during the massage or right before the treatment’s completion, because of the instant glow it delivers.
Lymphatic drainage is effective when the touch is gentle, so don’t feel like you have to beat your face into submission. The pressure should be tender, but firm. Slow, but with intention. It feels great all over the face, but if you’re not finishing your gua sha at the neck, you’re missing a big chunk of the benefits. It’s a major drainage spot for the lymphatic system, so should be where you start and finish, if you want your gua sha to have maximum efficacy. Start under the ear, and drag the tool downwards to the base of the neck.
There are plenty of different shapes available, each tailored to slightly different areas and techniques. Choose one that has a few options in the one stone, so you can target a multitude of regions of your face and expand your repertoire as you gain confidence. California-born beauty brand Wildling’s clever stone comes equipped on one side with tiny grooves (like a shallow comb) to stimulate a lift on the forehead and cheeks. Kora’s is in the shape of a heart, so it doubles as a meditation stone when you’re not using it for facial massage. You can also try ones from Hayo’u.
If you’re new to gua sha, Manning suggests focusing on the neck. “A lot of people hold their tension in their jaw. So target your attention on opening up the neck and jaw, and encouraging flushing in that area,” she explains. Manning recommends a repetition of each motion of at least five times, so you get a meditative benefit added to the improvement in skin health for your self-care investment.
Original article published by @VogueAustralia >