Gua sha

The do's and don'ts of Gua Sha | Absolution

The do's and don'ts of Gua Sha | Absolution

Dubbed the "Botox of the Far East" due to its effectiveness on the signs of skin aging, the Gua Sha stone is a much gentler alternative to this aesthetic procedure! There are no needles involved, you won't get the side effects, it's completely natural, you can use it in the comfort of your own bathroom, and it's a lot less expensive! Having said that, it's important that you learn how to use this tool properly, so your Gua Sha ritual won't have any undesirable effects on your skin.

How to use the Gua Sha facial massage stone

Made from amethyst, rose quartz or jade, the Gua Sha stone has been used in China for over 2,000 years to promote the flow of energy (known as qi or chi) in the body. In traditional Chinese medicine, it's used on the back, arms, legs, buttocks and face to stimulate blood flow, break down scar tissue, relieve chronic pain, and improve the body's overall health. In the West, Gua Sha is mostly used for facial massage. It's based on the principle of using a Gua Sha stone (harder than the hands, and with rounded, polished edges), rather than the hands, to massage the face. Traditional Chinese medicine practitioners use it to vigorously scrape and rub the skin. This creates micro trauma and results in petechiae – tiny brown, red or purple spots caused by blood pooling under the skin, and which look unsightly on the face. There is some controversy surrounding the effectiveness and potential dangers of this practice, which is thought to increase energy flow.

The approach is quite different, however, in the West, where the Gua Sha stone tends to be used to massage the face and neck, applying light pressure. It's also used with oil to keep the stone from pulling on the skin. Simply apply an organic face oil that works with your skin type. If you're looking for inspiration to help you use your Gua Sha, take a look at the face yoga movements of our expert, Sylvie Lefranc, who has worked with us at Absolution many times!



The benefits of Gua Sha massage for the face

One of the big advantages of Gua Sha massage is that it can be performed on all skin types, and a few minutes each day are all you need to reap lots of benefits!

  • Pro-aging. The Gua Sha stone stimulates circulation, improving the appearance of the skin and radiance. With every massage, fine lines are softened, under-eye puffiness is reduced, skin feels firmer, and the complexion looks more glowing. Plus, if you use the Gua Sha regularly (at least two or three times a week, and ideally every day), you'll see results very quickly.
  • An effect on acne. First of all, it's important to point out that the Gua Sha stone is not recommended if you suffer from cystic acne or open lesions. If this is the case, we recommend using the Jade Roller instead, so you won't press so hard on the skin but still encourage lymphatic drainage. On the other hand, if your skin tends to be oily and is prone to blemishes, you can use the Gua Sha regularly and gently to help clear acne and reduce the frequency of breakouts. Gua Sha has a positive effect on microcirculation, which helps the skin to heal better.
  • Lymphatic drainage. Regular massage with a Gua Sha stone stimulates the circulation of lymph fluid (which carries away toxins) and helps to improve skin firmness.

How to use the Gua Sha stone safely

If you don't use your Gua Sha stone correctly, or if you press too hard when using it to massage your face, you're likely to see negative side effects – some more severe than others.

  • Bruising, caused by the bursting of tiny blood vessels (capillaries) just below the surface of the skin. The medical name for this is petechiae.
  • Swelling of the face, along with sensitivity, and possibly even painful sensations.   
  • Pressing very hard on the muscles of the face can result in tearing the membrane that covers them. If you feel increasing pain in the face, fever, dizziness, heat sensations, or if the area you massage with the Gua Sha becomes increasingly red, you are advised to consult a doctor immediately.
  • Infections may occur when the Gua Sha stone is used to massage too vigorously. You shouldn't be scraping so hard with the Gua Sha that it causes skin lesions, but if this should happen, there is of course a risk of bacterial infection – hence why it is so important to clean and disinfect your Gua Sha between uses.

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