The Complete Guide Through the Gua Sha Massage
The gua sha massage is one of the easiest ways you can give yourself a useful and relaxing massage at home. Read all about it here!
The gua sha massage is something you’ve probably seen by now. The ever-increasing popularity of this treatment can be attributed to 2 main factors – the simplicity and the effectiveness.
So, in this guide, we’ll walk you through what this treatment involves, what the benefits are, which effects it can help you achieve, and show you how you can do it at home!
So, let’s get right into it!
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What Does a Gua Sha Massage Do?
Gua sha started out as a practice in traditional Chinese medicine. The goal is to stimulate stagnant energy in order to improve the recipient’s health.
The specific tool that is used for this massage is dragged against the skin in a certain motion that stimulates microcirculation on the surface of the skin, which then boosts blood flow.
The tool doesn’t have a sharp edge, so this ‘scraping’ motion is not painful, as long as the right amount of pressure is applied.
The massage is available both at salons and at home.
In a salon, it’ll usually be offered as part of a more complex treatment. Like any other massage, it can’t be done on dry skin, so it’s a pretty popular offering to pair this massage with a professional-grade serum or nourishing oil.
At home, the entire treatment can be easily replicated. When it comes to the face, you can do it on your own.
Image source: Instagram @aglowellness
The Overall Benefits of Gua Sha Massage
In ancient China, it was believed that this practice could help get rid of stagnant chi which caused a number of health issues and even unconsciousness.
Today, we know that a massage can’t get rid of all your problems, but there’s still a lot it can do for you!
We’ll get into the specific cosmetic benefits of gua sha later on. Now, let’s take a look at some general health improvements it can bring:
- Improved blood flow
- Reduced inflammation
- Tension release
- Muscle pain relief
- Breast fullness relief while breastfeeding
- Eliminated fluid build-up
- Fresher skin tone.
How to Do a Gua Sha Facial at Home
Like we said – this is a super-simple massage you can easily replicate at home and, luckily, nothing you need to do it is too expensive. For the gua sha facial massage, you’ll need a small tool and some oil.
The tool comes in a few different shapes, so it’s up to you to decide which one works best for you. For the oil, you can use any face oil you have lying around.
Here’s how to do the massage itself:
- Before starting, make sure your face, hands, and tools are all clean.
- First, you have to open up your lymph nodes by gently pressing or pushing on the specific body parts like collar bones and behind your ears. This is crucial if you’re looking to actually drain your lymph by moving it through the working vessels.
- Apply your oil – quite generously. You want the surface to be slippery enough so you’re not tugging your skin.
- Glide the tool across your face as flat as you can, using pressure that feels comfortable (not too much so as not to cause a bruise). The pressure should be light to medium.
- Support the skin with your other hand by holding it with your fingers – holding, not stretching!
- Always start from the center part of your face and work towards the edges.
If you’re unsure about the direction you should be massaging in, you can find plenty of examples online. Just make sure it’s a reliable source. Here’s one of the examples:
How Often Should You Do a Gua Sha Massage?
For the best results, you can do this on your face 1-2 times a day, as a part of your morning and evening skincare routines. This doesn’t need to take more than 5 minutes per session, but you can keep going for as long as it feels good.
When it comes to the body, 2-3 times a week will be enough. You can do it more often if you start to get comfortable with it (and if you have the time).
Gua Sha Effects – What You Can Achieve
As promised, we’re going to take a look at some more specific benefits of gua sha facial massages. In this section, we’ll talk about the different effects this method can help you achieve, and share some tips and tricks on how to get results faster!
Gua Sha Lymphatic Drainage
As you can guess by the name, lymphatic drainage refers to specific ways that you can unclog your lymphatic system. Those clogs can occur due to either illness or medical procedures, but the drainage massage is okay to do even if you’re not suffering from congestion.
This type of massage can help reduce puffiness and bloating, make the skin glow, and even break down fat and cellulite cells. It’s also helpful with post-injury swelling, as well as a way to optimize the results of a recent liposuction.
Since this requires targeting very specific areas of the body, we recommend getting the gua sha professionally done.
Gua Sha for Face Slimming
Before we explain how it works, let us put up a little disclaimer first: there is no evidence that the results of gua sha slimming are permanent.
However, the gua sha tool can help make your face look more toned temporarily as it reduces swelling and puffiness. So, for example, if you’ve just woken up but need to be out the door immediately, the gua sha will help you look more awake.
On the other hand, if you’re looking for more permanent ways to slim down your face, you can try similar non-invasive massages, like the microcurrent facial.
Gua Sha for Jawline Contouring
Similarly, the jawline cannot be permanently altered just by using the gua sha massager, but it can give you a temporarily more contoured look.
On the bright side, the motion you’re making during the massage does promote the production of collagen, which can tighten up your skin. This means that although the excess fat that’s hiding your jawline cannot be broken down, this method can help with sagging skin.
Gua Sha for Wrinkles
While we’re on the topic of the collagen-boosting properties of gua sha, we need to talk about whether it’ll be enough to help you get rid of signs of aging, such as fine lines and wrinkles.
The answer is sort of complex – it can help with shallower wrinkles and with prevention. This means that if you already have deep, visible lines on your face, the gua sha cannot be a replacement for fillers or Botox.
On the other hand, regularly doing the gua sha face massage can help prevent the formation of new wrinkles and the deepening of existing ones. So, if you’re just starting to notice signs of aging on your face, it’s not too late to turn to gua sha!
Gua Sha for Puffy Eyes
If your eyes are feeling puffy after a night out, a nap, or even crying, the gua sha massage can help you ease that sensation pretty quickly. As we said, this is one of the most common and most popular uses of the gua sha tool, so you know it’s pretty effective.
To get the best results, we advise using a chilled gua sha stone – you can leave it in the fridge for about 30 minutes or run it under cold water before each stroke.
Gua Sha Body Massage
As you’ve probably gathered by now, gua sha can be done on the body as well as on the face. The main principle is exactly the same – as is the origin. The main difference is in the tool itself, which is significantly bigger than the one you’d use on your face.
Other than the size, the facial and body tools also slightly differ in shape. The bigger ones usually have handy grips for you to put your hand through a larger side (or edge) you can use down your back, and a slightly smaller one that’s better suited for the neck region.
Just like with the smaller, facial gua sha massager, it’s up to you to choose the one that will work the best.
How to Give Yourself a Gua Sha Body Massage
When it comes to giving yourself a gua sha massage, you’ll only be able to reach certain areas. So, to get the full effect, you can find a massage parlor that offers this service – it shouldn’t be too hard to find, given its popularity.
But, if you’re set on doing it yourself, here’s how you should go about it:
- Clean the tool, your body, and hands.
- Start by opening up the lymph nodes in the area you’re massaging.
- Apply oil – this can either be a specialized massage oil or any other body oil you already have.
- Glide the tool across your skin – keep it as flat as you can and don’t be afraid to apply pressure. It should feel like a deep-tissue massage. Stroke inwards.
If you’re doing the massage to alleviate any pain, you can go up to 30 strokes on that area. However, the more strokes you do, the more likely you are to leave a mark or bruise.
Gua Sha Body Massage Benefits
When it comes to the benefits of applying this method to the entire body, they don’t differ much from those we talked about regarding facial massage.
Gua sha can be used to alleviate swelling and puffiness that stems from minor injuries. Remember that the massage shouldn’t be painful. So, for example, if your ankle is swollen due to a sprain, the gua sha will only make you feel worse.
It can also help to relieve muscle pains, which is one of the most popular applications. You can use the gua sha to massage your body after a particularly strenuous workout or after you’ve spent a lot of time in the same position (e.g., after a long flight).
Gua Sha Side Effects & Contraindications
Finally, before finishing up our guide, we wanted to draw your attention to some potential negative side effects of using a gua sha massager.
For starters, applying too much pressure can lead to bruising, so go easy on yourself. Other than that, some mild tenderness and soreness are to be expected just after the massage, but that shouldn’t last for more than an hour or so.
Regarding the contraindications, there aren’t many to mention. The only people who should stay away from gua sha are those who take medicine for blood clots since you are messing around with your circulation here.
If you think that you’re in any way risking your health by using a gua sha massager, consult with your doctor before doing so.
The Gua Sha Massage – Main Takeaways
In summary, the gua sha massage is a simple and effective way to reduce muscle pain, swelling, and puffiness in your face. When it comes to making some more permanent changes to your appearance, the gua sha unfortunately won’t be enough.
But if you’re looking for an affordable massager that will make you feel better and is backed by years of tradition – gua sha is definitely worth a try!