The latest skincare obsession promotes movement of stagnant energy, called chi, and encourages lymphatic flow. Similar to a dishwasher, your lymphatic system collects interstitial fluids from beneath your skin, cleans them, and sends them back into your bloodstream.
So what is gua sha?! Gua sha (pronounced ‘gwa sha’) is an ancient Chinese technique that is used to stimulate your body’s natural healing process through the improvement of blood circulation and lymphatic flow. The term gua sha is derived from two separate words: gua, which means to ‘scrape’ or ‘rub’ and sha, which translates to ‘redness’. Gua sha is performed using a gua sha tool, often found in the form of a flat stone. Gua sha stones come in various shapes to help fit the curvature of your face, and have different healing or balancing properties.
You can perform gua sha every morning, every evening, or only once a week. The benefits can be visible after one massage, so you can imagine getting even better results if you are consistent with adding this massage to your regimen. The idea is to have fun learning how to use your tool and exploring the different techniques while practicing some selfcare.
Benefits of Gua Sha
- Helps with the cellular repair and regeneration process
- Improves blood circulation
- Helps with lymph drainage
- Brightens and tightens the skin
- Reduces inflammation
- Enhances healing time for the skin
- Improves overall skin condition
- Treats headaches, migraines, and muscle pain
*Bri’s Tip: Keep your stone in the fridge or run it under cold water before massaging for a soothing, cooling effect during the massage.
Gua Sha Cautions
- Do not perform gua sha massage on areas you have botox or fillers.
- Pregnant women should not do gua sha massage as it can stimulate certain acupressure points.
- Do not do on bare skin; your skin must be adequately lubricated.
- Use gentle pressure only. Using too much pressure can result in bruising or breaking of the fragile capillaries in your skin.
- Do not perform if you are on blood thinners or other medication that affects your blood.
There are many different types of gua sha tools in a range of formats, shapes, and materials. Bri’s favourite is the Loa Skin Antigravity Gua Sha tool made from obsidian. The unique addition of a curved comb edge allows for a deeper targeted treatment where desired. It pairs perfectly with Loa Skin Beauty Elixir. Find them in the personal care department at Nature’s Fare Markets.
How to do the Massage
Cleanse your face and gua sha tool.
Properly lubricate your skin with a facial oil. This will allow the tool to glide gently across your skin without any tugging or pulling.
*Bri’s favourite facial oil to use is Loa Skin Beauty Elixir. It’s infused with 15 powerful botanicals and omega-3 and -6. It’s available along with the coordinating gua sha stone in the personal care department at Nature’s Fare Markets.
3. Lymph Drainage
Start and end your massage with this lymphatic drainage technique. Perform 3 strokes from right below your ears down to the base of your neck and repeat on the opposite side of your neck. This is the only time you will do downward strokes.
Now that you have opened the lymph nodes, you can begin your gua sha massage.
Hold the stone at a 20° to 45° angle. Maintain a light pressure; do not tug or press hard. Repeat each single stroke five times before moving on to the next stroke. Strokes are upward and outward only, going toward the lymph nodes located near your ears and below your jawline. It is helpful to give a slight wiggle at the end of each stroke before lifting the tool to deposit the lymph fluids.
Begin at the base of your neck and move upward in a fluid motion toward your hairline. Do the sides of your neck up toward your ears; then do from your collar bone up toward your jawline.
Begin on the right side of your face, start from the centre of your jaw, and move up and outward along your jawline until you reach your ear.
Place it on your cheek beside your nose and gently glide out and upward until you reach the ear.
- Under eye
Place it against your upper cheek bone and lower eyelid area. Use very gentle strokes to glide outward from your inner eye and upward toward your temple. *Be extra careful with the delicate skin around your eyes.
Begin where your brow bone meets your nose and gently stroke along the brow bone and upward to the temple.
Stroke from the centre of your forehead up toward your hairline. Do the same motion above your brow to your hairline.
Once you have completed massaging one side of your face, repeat the process on the other side. Finish with downward strokes from the base of your ears down the neck on both sides. Hydrate with a glass of water and enjoy your glow!
Brianne Rempel is just as passionate about clean beauty and skin care as she is about self-growth and kindness. As our health and beauty specialist, Brianne helps us select plant-based personal care products that are eco-friendly yet effective, and she trains our team members so you can make the most of your skincare regime. Brianne brings 20 years of retail experience, where she enjoyed the chance to positively impact store culture and perfect the workplace hug.