A cousin to the jade roller, this tool is taking over and has become a favorite for self-care. It can be intimidating to use, but once you know the basics, all you need are a few minutes of it every day. If you’re looking to keep your skin taught and improve its tone and clarity, this is a tool for you!

What is gua sha? Well, gua means scrape and sha means sand, and the technique is a traditional East Asian technique used for better circulation and to remove built-up toxins in the body. It’s used gently on the skin of the face, and more aggressively on the body. The tools used in gua sha vary from a Chinese soup spoon, to an animal bone, but the most common is a rose quartz gemstone. The strokes used awaken the body’s meridian lines to activate natural healing abilities. Gua sha strengthens cells, which promotes the production of collagen, sculpts and tones, and inflammation is reduced and muscles release the tension. Not only that, but it returns the skin to its most radiant state as circulation increases, sending nutrients to areas that may haven’t been receiving them.

Gua sha isn’t just for outer beauty. When meridian lines are stimulated, many of the body’s organs also receive great benefits. Using the gua sha over the part of the face connected to the stomach, sends a message down the meridian line of the stomach for it to let go of toxins, relax, and accept nourishment.

Benefits of gua sha:

  1. Nutrients and oxygen are carried to the skin and tissue
  2. Lymph fluid is washed out of the cells to be cleansed
  3. Fine lines and wrinkles eliminated or greatly reduced
  4. Treats and prevents sagging skin (lifts and tightens the skin)
  5. Helps eliminate dark circles under the eyes
  6. Helps with dark spots and hyper-pigmentation
  7. Speeds up healing time of breakouts and pimples
  8. Heals and/or relieves rosacea
  9. Brightens the complexion
  10. Product penetrates the skin better
  11. Aids with TMJ disorder and migraine headaches
  12. Alternative to injections and face lifts (when practiced regularly or from a licensed practitioner)

Selecting your gua sha stone is similar to choosing a crystal or gemstone. Pick it up and observe how it feels. If one is sparkling a little more to you than the others, choose it! Rose quartz and jade are ‘it’ right now. Jade is known for purity and for aiding the body’s filtration and elimination by removing toxins. Rose quartz is known for restoring harmony; it is the stone of it also stays cool so is better for fighting wrinkles.

Now for the fun part…time to gua sha!

  1. Clean face and hands
  2. Apply facial oil – cover the face and neck. Apply oil starting on the forehead and moving down in the direction of draining lymph fluid. This activates movement in skin and tissues, and it’s a nice prep
  3. Warm the gua sha tool by rubbing it between your hands with leftover oil. This coats the tool so it doesn’t pull on your skin
  4. Sweep up your neck on both sides. This sweep is to activate your REN line. (The REN channel in Chinese medicine collects the body’s yin energy, treats the problems of the abdomen, chest, neck, head and face)
  5. Sweep under your chin from the middle of your face out to your earlobe with your tool flat
  6. Sweep from the middle of your chin over your jawline and back toward your earlobe
  7. Sweep below your cheekbone and move toward your hairline
  8. Sweep above you cheekbones, finishing at the hairline
  9. Very softly, sweep under your eyes
  10. Sweep over the eyebrow toward and above the brow bone (up the forehead) finishing at the hairline. Move in tiny sections along the eyebrow in three to five sections
  11. Sweep from between the eyebrows over the third eye and up to the hairline
  12. Sweep from the middle of the forehead out to the hairline
  13. Caress the side of your face, starting again with your neck and working through the steps. Slide down the other side after, then finish the treatment by sweeping down the neck to assist with lasting drainage. Keep your tool very flat and hug underneath your jawbone.
  14. Observe your work: Does the one side look or feel different than the other?

When it comes to practicing gua sha, incorporate it into your self-care routine as often as you can. You could even do it daily. If it begins to feel like a chore, take a break. Showing love to yourself is sacred — it shouldn’t become another check on your never-ending to-do list.

Happy gua sha-ing!