Incredible Gua Sha: Your Guide to Chinese Skincare

Woman receiving gua sha treatment on her back.

Gua Sha is a Chinese-origin body and face scraping method that can deliver numerous health benefits while augmenting your looks. (Image: Tashka2000 via Dreamstime)

Nowadays, people resort to so many types of skincare and grooming procedures, from buying branded and costly skincare products to visiting luxury salons and spas. Many also use herbal extracts and homemade solutions to enhance their looks. However, not many people are aware of an ancient skincare technique called Gua Sha. This Chinese-origin body and face scraping method can deliver numerous health benefits while augmenting your looks.

What is Gua Sha?

Gua Sha involves using specially designed tools to stroke the skin surface so that blood circulation gets a boost. This also helps in relaxing stiff muscles and bringing a glow to the skin. In ancient times, it was done using ceramic Chinese soup spoons. Nowadays, the salons and skin clinics offering Gua Sha make use of polished tools made of bone or gemstones like jade. It can cause light bruising on the skin surface but don’t worry. The bruising may last for less than a week and it may not be painful.

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The therapeutic benefits of Gua Sha

Gua Sha is not only good for relaxing sore muscles and giving a glow to the skin, but it also has other health benefits. The proponents of this method say using it properly can help bring relief from conditions like back pain, and carpal tunnel syndrome and can be effective in breaking down scar tissue.

Young woman holds her hands on her painful back.
Proponents of Gua Sha say it can help bring relief from conditions like back pain. (Image: Sebnem Ragiboglu via Dreamstime)

How to use it?

While Gua Sha is not that complicated and you should be able to try it out at home, it is better that you learn the technique from an expert. The Gua Sha tool has to be scraped over the skin fluidly so that stagnant blood can be dispersed. If the skin is lubricated prior to the application, the results tend to be better. Long strokes have to be applied. It is performed on body parts like the shoulders, back, neck, and also the legs.

It is also done on the face, but it requires more caution. A jade or quartz-based tool is typically used for facial Gua Sha. Facial Gua Sha enhances blood circulation and helps create anti-aging molecules and elastin. Collagen production helps reduce fine lines and wrinkles on facial skin. It also helps in detoxifying skin. The result is lymphatic drainage and a better complexion.

Facial Gua Sha can be performed twice a week or so. For other body parts, the application can be a little less frequent. Choosing the right oil to lubricate the skin before applying it is necessary. You may opt for almond oil, jojoba oil, or argan oil. The materials used for Gua Sha tools include rose quartz, jade, stainless steel, and amethyst.

Close up of a woman's hand holding a green jade Gua Sha body scraping tool.
Jade is a popular material for Gua Sha tools. (Image: Anna Gorbacheva via Dreamstime)

There is no fixed time for applying it on the skin as such. However, a good idea would be to apply it to the face and body before bed. Some people also use it in the morning to detox the body.

Why opt for it over other methods?

It is a fact that the science behind Gua Sha is not very clear. However, a number of studies have shown its efficacy. It not only makes your skin glow and enhances elasticity but also brings additional health benefits. Skin detoxification and blood flow circulation are two advantages that are hard to overlook. Besides, the application cost is not much. All you need is good quality plant oil and a tool for deploying the method. However, ensure you learn from someone well-versed in the technique before trying it at home.

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