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Gua sha guide: 5 benefits and how to use it

  • 5 min read

What does TikTok and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) have in common? The gua sha of course! Now a staple tool in many skincare routines, the gua sha tool and practice of gua sha traces back through generations as a pivotal part of TCM. 

Whether you’ve never heard of gua sha or you’re a complete lover, find out all you need to know about gua sha in our guide. Discover the most basic principles of gua sha, how to use a gua sha and much more. 

What is gua sha?

Gua sha is a TCM practice that involves scraping the skin with a smooth flat stone in order to address skin or health concerns. A natural alternative therapy, gua sha addresses concerns such as inflammation, chronic pain and amongst other things, reduces puffiness. 

In TCM, gua sha is used to encourage the healthy flow of blood and qi (life force energy, sometimes known as chi) around the body. Qi is perhaps the central principle in TCM as well as Chinese martial arts, and practitioners of TCM believe that stagnant qi can be the cause of many ailments. 

Most of the gua sha stones you’ll find on the market are made from jade or rose quartz, so take on a green or pink hue. However, these aren’t sustainable. That’s why our Gua Sha Facial Massage Tool is made sustainably with stainless steel, allowing people to reap the benefits of gua sha without compromising their ethical values.

In this blog, we’re only going to focus on using gua sha as a form of facial massage, rather than as a healing practice in TCM. You’ll find out about how to use a gua sha stone, if gua sha works, some benefits you can expect from gua sha and a simple gua sha facial massage routine for beginners. 

How to use a gua sha stone

Now that you’re familiar with the roots of gua sha, it’s time to dive into how a gua sha stone can be used in your skincare routine.

Most gua sha stones will resemble the shape in the image below.

how to use gua sha

Each part of the gua sha stone is designed to be used on a different area of the face to best benefit the skin.

  • The notch at the top of the stone – to be used on the delicate skin under the eyes. 
  • The long edge – to be used on the neck and cheeks.
  • The short edge – to be used on the forehead. 
  • The double notched edge or ‘U’ shape – to be used on the throat, jawline and eyebrows. 

Use the gua sha stone to gently scrape across each area of the face, using upward strokes following the contours of the face. Take time to use the stone on each area of your face – this is a great time to find some mindful minutes! 

Top tip: use your Gua Sha Facial Massage Tool alongside a few drops of our Organic Face Serum with Coffee Oil to help the stone glide more easily across your face and neck.

Simple gua sha facial massage routine 

We’ve included a quick and easy gua sha facial massage routine for beginners to try out, before they work out what works best for them. Repeat each step three to five times.

  • The neck and throat – use the long edge in an upwards motion from your collar bone to your jaw on each side, then use the double notched edge from where your collar bones meet up your throat to your jaw with as flat an angle as possible. 
  •  The jaw – using as flat an angle as possible, start at your chin with the double notched edge and lightly scrape up to your ear, following the contour of your jaw. Repeat on the other side. 
  • The cheeks – starting in the centre of your face, use the long edge to scrape up towards your ear. Repeat on the other side.
  • The undereyes – use the notch at the top of the stone to very gently move from the inner corner of your eye to the outer corner, then to your hairline. Repeat on the other side. 
  • The eyebrows – place the double notched edge in between your brows as flat as possible, and use light pressure to follow your brow bone. Repeat on the other side.
  • The forehead – use the short edge to lightly scrape from your brows up to your hairline. 

Does gua sha work?

As with most things, the results that each person will experience differs from person to person. However, gua sha is a great way to take some mindful minutes and time to decompress during your skincare routine. 

TCM has used gua sha as an alternative healing therapy for thousands of years, so it’s definitely something that should be taken seriously. 

Gua sha benefits

The benefits of gua sha have been reaped in TCM for years and through generations. When using gua sha for facial massage, you could experience several benefits.

1. Promotes lymphatic drainage

The scraping motions used in a gua sha massage help to aid lymphatic drainage as you take time to work on the different areas of your face. You’re in complete control, so you can decide to use light or heavier pressure. 

2. Reduce tension and pain

TCM has used gua sha to help alleviate tension and pain for thousands of years. Adjusting the pressure you apply with your gua sha stone in different problem areas of the neck or face can help to reduce tension and pain. 

3. Improves circulation

As well as promoting lymphatic drainage, gua sha massages can help to improve circulation. With improved circulation comes a brighter complexion as toxins are shifted and cleared from the body. 

4. Relieves puffiness

The strokes under the eyes are especially helpful in reducing puffiness that some people experience when they wake up. Always take great care when using a gua sha on the delicate skin under your eyes. 

Top tip: pop your gua sha stone in the fridge 15 minutes before using it for a delightful cooling effect during your facial massage. 

5. Gives you some mindful minutes

Life moves at 100 miles per hour, and it can be hard to take the time to wind down and practice mindfulness or gratitude. During your gua sha facial massage is the perfect time to reflect on the day. 

Discover our range of sustainable and cruelty-free skincare at UpCircle to use after your wonderful gua sha facial massage.