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Wellness

Benefits of Gua Sha

4 Mins read

Celebrities, influencers and Youtubers have been spotted incorporating the Gua Sha beauty tool into their skincare routines. But what exactly does the tiny stone do? Here’s everything you need to know about the latest Gua Sha beauty trend:

What is Gua Sha? 

Gua Sha, or jade scraping is a natural, alternative therapy derived from Traditional Chinese Medicine. This unique healing technique involves scraping your skin with a massage tool made of smooth material such as wood, stone, plastic, stainless steel, or jade in order to produce light petechiae. 

In Chinese medicine, Chi is a vital life force that flows through you and everything. It is believed that stagnant Chi causes health issues such as inflammation. Rubbing the skin’s surface is thought to help break up energy, expel heat, reduce inflammation, and promote healing.

What Does a Gua Sha Session Look Like? 

A technician applies oil and scrapes your skin with short or long strokes in a downward motion to stimulate microcirculation of soft tissue, which increases blood flow. The stimulation of new oxygenated blood flow in certain areas can promote metabolic cell repair, and promote healing.  Strokes are made with a smooth-edged instrument called a gua sha massage tool. 

Gua sha is generally performed on a person’s:

  • Back
  • Buttocks
  • Neck
  • Arms
  • Legs
  • Face
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Benefits of Gua Sha

Whether you are receiving Gua Sha treatment from a professional or incorporating this art into your skincare routine, the movements can be grounding and relaxing. Besides that, there are also several health benefits of Gua Sha: 

Gua Sha Can Combat Bloating

The interstitial fluid trapped under skin is one of the prime reasons for bloating. Scraping movements from the Gua Sha session can help promote lymphatic drainage and release the fluid in the lymphatic system, hence eliminating bloating. 

You Could Get Glowing Skin 

The edges of gua sha stones work perfectly to lift and tighten the skin. The scraping from Gua Sha stimulates circulation, and the increased blood flow often results in a glowing, dewy complexion. Incorporate Gua Sha into your morning routine to reduce puffiness and do it at night to relax your facial muscles. 

Treat Migraine Headaches

If your migraine headaches don’t respond to over-the-counter medication, Gua Sha may help. According to Healthline, a 72 year old woman living with chronic headaches started Gua Sha treatment and reported significant improvements. This suggests that this ancient healing technique may be an effective remedy for headaches. 

Relieve Neck Pain

A study split those 48 participants with chronic neck pain into two groups. One was given Gua Sha and the other a thermal heating pad to treat neck pain. Those who received Gua Sha treatment reported less pain than the other group, suggesting that Gua Sha could help with pain relief. 

Relief from Perimenopausal Syndrome

Perimenopause is the period in time where women transition to menopause. Some of the symptoms of perimenopause include insomnia, irregular periods, anxiety, fatigue, hot flashes. A study found that gua sha may greatly reduce symptoms of perimenopausal symptoms, making it a potential natural remedy. 

How to Perform Gua Sha By Yourself at Home

Performing Gua Sha on yourself can be a little tricky. If there are some parts of your body such as your middle and lower back that you are struggling to reach, ask a friend for help. With religious practice, this natural healing therapy can be easy to master. 

  1. Purchase Gua Sha tool: Purchase your jade scraping tool online or at an alternative medicine store. The most important thing is to make sure the curvature and contours of the stone fits into the parts of your body you want to scrape. If you don’t want to purchase a Gua Sha tool, use the edge of a spoon instead! 
  2. Locate a stiff or sore part of your body: Rub your fingers over your body and locate the parts of your body where the muscles feel stiff or tense. You perform Gua Sha on all parts of your body except on joints or along the spine. 
  3. Apply oil to sore muscles: Apply oils such as coconut oil, massage oils, or pain relieving balm to the affected area. 
  4. Use Gua Sha Tool: Apply pressure and scrape the Gua Sha tool in one direction over stiff muscles. Use a mixture of short and long strokes about 6-8 times before moving to another part of sore muscles. Continue scraping for about 10 minutes until the area turns red. 
  5. Clean Gua Sha tools after use: Gua Sha tools need to be cleaned and disinfected properly as there is a risk of spreading blood borne pathogens. 
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How to Choose Your Gua Sha Tools: 

Below are some tips for choosing the right Gua Sha tool, and what to look out for:

Shape of Gua Sha tools: Gua Sha tools with varying contours give you more options to find the right curvature to fit the angles of the part of your body you want to scrape. 

Material stones: Some stones have antimicrobial qualities that make them perfect for facial jade scraping. For example, Gua Sha tools made of nephrite jade and amethyst are naturally cooling, while rose quartz is recommended for those with reactive skin due to its calming effects. 

Weight of Gua Sha tools: Weight of Gua Sha tool is a matter of personal preference. However, keep in mind that Gua Sha tools made of natural minerals are heavier than synthetic tools. A benefit of having a heavier scraping tool for some people is that it allows for deeper penetration due to its weight, and provides a greater tension relief. 

How Often Should You Gua Sha? 

The frequency of use depends on your skin type and your skin’s tolerance for jade scraping. Start by incorporating Gua Sha into your self care routine once a week, and then as you get familiar with the techniques, gradually increase it to two to three times a week and eventually daily, for optimal results. 

Gua Sha Side Effects

Gua Sha is a natural healing remedy and is generally considered safe. The procedure may change the appearance of your skin as the rubbing and scraping of skin with a Gua Sha tool may cause tiny blood vessels near the surface of your skin to burst, and create small red dots known as petechiae. However, bruising usually disappears within a couple of days. Redness from Gua Sha should go away within a few hours.

Gua Sha may feel uncomfortable, but it shouldn’t be painful. If you encounter any concerns, it is best to seek advice from your physician. Be sure to educate yourself on the proper method if you plan on trying to do it yourself, including how much pressure to use, as too much pressure could result in injury. If you’re not confident in your Gua Sha abilities, go to a spa where a Gua Sha expert can perform the treatment for you.

Heather Ng
30 posts

About author
Heather is a freelance writer with an interest in health tech. When not writing, you can find her wandering around Hong Kong trying to uncover the cities best kept hidden gems.
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