Everything to Know About Gua Sha Facials

Gua sha is a budding buzzword in the beauty industry, but this effective skin-rejuvenation treatment has been a prominent skin therapy for centuries. 

This skin treatment is an example of beauty in its simplest form – all a practitioner will use is a scraping tool, oil, and a little bit of muscle. Consistent gua sha facials can create a lifted, tightened, brightened complexion with no chemicals or needles.

The ultimate gua sha guide

Seems too good to be true? Here is everything you need to know about gua sha facials. 

What is a gua sha? Where does gua sha come from?

Gua sha is a fully-natural, invigorating treatment that involves scraping different areas of the body or face with a specialized tool to promote circulation. This tool, called the gua massage tool, is designed with specific angles to maximize the benefits of the treatment.

Traditional Chinese medicine practitioners have used Gua sha for centuries. Gua sha loosely translates to “scrape petechiae,” which refers to the red, lightly bruised skin after the treatment.

People believe that inflammation and chi (energy) blockage causes chronic pain and ailments throughout the body. Traditional practitioners developed Gua sha therapy to target this stagnant chi and reduce inflammation to help reduce or prevent medical conditions. Specialists use gua sha in tandem with herbal medicine, acupuncture and massage.

Young and beautiful woman during Chinese traditional massage – Gua Sha with stone. Close-up photo. Beauty treatment in SPA salon. Anti-aging skin care

What are the benefits of doing gua sha?

There are many benefits to doing gua sha regularly, but the primary ones include improved circulation, reduced inflammation, promoted healing and pain relief.

Improves circulation

Gua sha therapy can improve circulation by stimulating deep tissue. The scraping action with the gua massage tool pressure stimulates the deep tissue, which can move stagnant blood around your body.

Reduces inflammation

The original belief from traditional Chinese practices is that inflammation or stagnant chi causes chronic pain. Gua sha works to target and break down that inflammation, which can have both physical and aesthetic benefits. 

Promotes healing

Moderate to intense gua sha scraping can stimulate the healing process within your body. This process can increase the production of helpful chemicals and increase blood flow to the treated area.

It is natural and non-invasive

Gua sha is an entirely natural and non-invasive option for tightening and rejuvenating the skin. There are no chemicals, needles or machinery involved – the practitioner will only leverage oils, the gua massage tool and their strength to create these benefits. 

People have experienced relief for specific maladies

Many people swear by gua sha for helping with ailments like Hepatitis C, Migraines, Tourettes, neck pain or even breastfeeding issues. There isn’t enough current data to confirm these benefits, but specific people have experienced significant relief. 

What is a gua sha facial?

A gua sha facial takes this ancient practice and adapts the original treatment for the face and decolletage. 

The gua sha facialist uses the gua massage tool to create these short or long sweeping movements in a direction that lifts the skin while stimulating these healing and inflammatory benefits. The actions are similar to how the therapy treats the rest of the body, but the pressure will be much lighter to account for thinner and more sensitive skin. 

You can notice subtly lifted, tightened, glowing skin once the treatment is complete. This result is temporary, but there can be long-term skin benefits from consistently targeting stagnant inflammation within your skin. 

Many facialists, acupuncturists and spas will offer gua sha facials. Although the term “gua sha” may be new to you, there is a great chance you can easily find a gua sha treatment in your area. 

How to prepare for a gua sha facial

The process of preparing for a gua sha facial is minimal and straightforward. As with any facial, being well-hydrated before your appointment will maximize the benefits of the treatment and help the oil penetrate deeper. Taking a small break from harsher skin treatments such as retinol can also help in minimizing skin sensitivity. 

Once the treatment is complete, you may experience redness, sensitivity or very light bruising. Don’t worry about putting a massive dent in your schedule – you will be able to go back to your daily activities right after the treatment. 

What facial oil is used with gua sha?

Once you’re in the facial room, your gua sha practitioner will ensure your skin is properly cleaned and oiled to create a pleasant and productive treatment. 

Using oil is crucial to the treatment – if you skip it, the gua tool will be pulling and stretching the skin instead of gliding over the skin. Many gua sha specialists may use argan, rosehip or grapeseed oil thanks to the lightweight, non-comedogenic and nourishing properties they provide. 

Gua sha facials are a low-risk-high-reward treatment safe for all skin types. If you want to explore the different natural healing treatments in your area, we can connect you with the best practitioners in the city.

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Amanda Rouse is a freelance writer and content strategist living in San Clemente, California. When she’s not actively dodging writer’s block, she’s probably trail running, doing a crossword puzzle, or falling off of waves (She soon hopes to call this “surfing.”). Follow her and send her funny reels on Instagram.
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