Gua Sha for beginners and what it can do for your skin – SheKnows

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Gua Sha quickly became one of the hottest beauty trends, including its appearance – where else? – TIC Tac. The social media platform has become one of the go-to places for the latest trends in wellness, makeup and skincare, especially for Gen Z, and if the multiple “how-to videos” Are an indication, gua sha is now the last obsession.


Gua sha, pronounced gwa sha, is a facial treatment based on Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). Although it is generally touted as a facial aid tool, gua sha can also be used on other parts of the body including the neck, shoulders, back, and décolleté.

If you’re curious about the practice (or if the TikTok trend has brought you here), here’s what you need to know.

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What is Gua Sha?

“Gua sha is one of the oldest recorded forms of ancient Chinese medicine treatments,” says Tsao-Lin E. Moy, L.Ac., founder / director of MSOM at Integrative Healing Arts Acupuncture, PC “Gua literally means ‘to scrape’ while Sha translates to ‘toxins and pathogens.’ Gua sha literally means “to eliminate disease”.

Processing consists of using tools with a smooth, rounded surface such as a coin, spoon, jade or ox horn specially designed for gua sha; However, the majority of TikTok profiles use a flat jade or rose quartz stone. A gentle effleurage called a pressure effleurage is applied to an area of ​​the skin and has a scratching effect on the surface of the skin. This is done repeatedly in one direction.

According to Tsao-Lin E. Moy, the beatings bring up red marks, called “sha”, to the surface. “In Chinese medicine, it is ‘sha’, stuck, qi and blood that easily moves from tissues (muscles and lymph).” While the marks can look pretty dramatic, Moy says they’re not painful. What they experience is the effect known as transient therapeutic petechiae, the extravasation of blood below the surface of the skin.

Typically, “patients feel warmth and freedom of movement and it is similar to the suction cup.”

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Gua Sha Benefits

While TikTok users love to use the treatment for its facial beauty benefits, Dr Jenelle Kim, doctor of Chinese medicine, points out that gua sha can benefit the whole body. “It can reduce signs of aging such as dull, sagging or wrinkled skin, while relieving tension, encouraging lymphatic drainage to deflate and eliminate bloating, and stimulating circulation for increased oxygenation and nutrients transported to them. skin cells. “

And gua sha isn’t just for beauty followers or women either. Dr Joy Moy, DAc, LAc, says she often uses treatment, followed by acupuncture, for her athlete patients. “[The athletes] especially my professional hockey patients, will often ask for gua sha to relieve muscle tension in the shoulders and scapula, as well as in the upper and mid back.

Beware of what you see on TikTok

While there are gua sha-trained beauty experts on TikTok, including Dr Joy Moy, our expert panel points out that it’s important to note that beauty experts can be beauty experts, not necessarily in Gua Sha and everything people need to know about it.

“Gua Sha is a technique that requires sufficient training,” says Dr. Kim. “It’s not just about sweeping the tool across your body and across your face. You need to stimulate key meridians and specific acupuncture points, so I recommend everyone to start with watch a tutorialMe, like this one I created, to get acquainted with the techniques.

Additionally, Tsao-Lin E. Moy notes that it is essential to respect and recognize the cultural context of gua sha. “The beauty industry has launched a beauty frenzy without giving credit to the cultural origins and welfare practice of East Asian and Chinese medicine. Chinese medicine practitioners are trained in the use of gua sha as part of basic knowledge and clinical practice.

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How to start your own daily Gua Sha routine

If you’ve watched Dr. Kim’s video tutorial and are ready to try gua sha as part of your beauty regimen, here are some tips she has for you to get started.

A simple protocol for facial gua sha is:

  1. Start with a clean, dry face
  2. Apply face oil or moisturizer
  3. Always start by moving down the sides of the neck along the sternocleidomastoid (SCM) muscle. This opens up the lymph before the massage.
  4. Starting at the center of your forehead, move the gua sha from the brow line to the edge of the hairline. Repeat your path outward to your temples.
  5. Continue to work the gua sha from the center of your face towards the eyes, nose, mouth and chin
  6. Use very gentle pressure as you move around your eyes.
  7. Gradually apply a little more pressure as you get closer to the outer edges of your face, paying special attention to the cheekbones and jawline.

And, while, yes, everyone wants a clear and luminous complexion, as Tsao-Lin E. Moy points out, beauty isn’t just about the skin, and the way you treat your skin and your body will go a long way. to get that shine. “Diet, sleep, exercise, mindfulness and stress will influence the outcome of all anti-aging techniques. “

Before you go, check out some of our favorite workout recovery essentials:

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