Rose Quartz Gua Sha Facial Massager
Gua sha may be the hottest self-care and skin-boosting technique – and a veritable Instagram star – but why (and how, and how often) should we be doing it? And what is a gua sha anyway? NEWBY HANDS talks though the benefits of this ancient natural therapy, and explains why just a few minutes of TLC a day could be the secret to everything from glowing skin to a good night’s sleep
What is gua sha?
Used in traditional Chinese medicine, gua sha involves scraping a flat, rounded tool, usually made of jade, over the skin. Translated, gua means press or stroke, and sha refers to a rash or redness, but while traditional Chinese therapists work hard and deep – skin can be left bright red – for its beauty benefits, you need a lighter touch on the face. “Even if you have a facial once a week, you still need to do something every day,” says Katie Brindle, who has been working with Chinese medicine for more than 15 years and who created the Hayo’u Method, which makes use of gua sha tools. “Gua sha treatment relaxes the muscles, gets the energy and blood moving and shifts any puffiness. It boosts the circulation – studies show by up to 400 percent – which takes away toxins and brings in oxygen and nutrients.” Best described as a hands-on mix of massage and workout, it helps release tension (I find it amazing for headaches and tight jaws) and leaves skin instantly more supple, glowing and healthy-looking. “You are also creating a controlled trauma [that short-term flush of redness], which the skin then starts to repair by making new collagen.”
Gua sha directions of use
“You can do gua sha on the face, body and scalp, and it’s best to use water – I do it first thing, in the shower – or an oil, but never on bare skin,” says Brindle. “Hold the tool flat to the skin, under the eyes or over any redness, to soothe and de-puff. Then use the curved side and work it over the skin, always taking short strokes in just one direction, not back and forth,” she says. “Stroke it down the neck to drain [not upwards], working it in small horizontal strokes over the brow bone to lift, or hold and press upwards between the brows to release tension. If you want to drain puffiness, work lightly, then more firmly to relax muscles.” Your skin may look flushed after, but, like post-workout redness, this just shows a boost in circulation.
Working from the forehead back through the hair is said to help hair growth and, according to Brindle, is key to a great night’s sleep – doing it before bed is incredibly soothing, like having your hair brushed as a child. You can also work on the body, stroking about six times in one direction to help release tight connective tissue (making it good for cellulite and spongey flesh) and to make skin healthier – this almost freestyle approach ensures that it’s easier than skin brushing.
Although gua sha is done relatively gently (you’re in control of the pressure and the shape of tool you use), it’s not for you if you are prone to broken capillaries. It should also be avoided over broken skin or acne breakouts.