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Notes on Gua Sha

Pronounced qwah-sah, this ancient Chinese practice involves ‘scraping’ the skin using a gua sha tool made out of a smooth stone, typically jade or quartz. Many of my clients say they experience a puffy complexion first thing in the morning. This simple tool and practice has many benefits, it promotes blood flow, and lymphatic drainage and improves circulation, to naturally plump and brighten the skin.

The lymphatic system is an important immune function that flushes toxins from the body. Our lymph nodes are located on our neck and behind our ears. When they become clogged with excess fluid, the face can appear swollen, bloated and dull. Along with factors like hormonal changes, diet and alcohol consumption and laying down for long periods of time can cause fluid retention in the soft tissues of the face, hence why some people experience puffiness when they wake up.

The gua sha works by stimulating the surface of the skin to encourage excess fluid to flow through the lymphatic system. This results in not only a smoother and more sculpted face, but the sweeping movement can also boost circulation. Using a gua sha is an effective, simple and quick way to give yourself a lymphatic drainage facial massage, which can instantly depuff, uplift and brighten the complexion. Performing a facial massage using a gua sha requires a certain technique, so I recommend researching and watching a few how-tos before using the tool for the first time. Below are my gua sha massage steps.

Step 1
First, cleanse your face as usual and then apply a few drops of facial oil or cream ensuring there is plenty of slip (we don’t want to cause any harsh pulling).

Step 2
Starting at the centre of your forehead and working upwards and outwards towards the temples, apply a gentle but firm pressure, sweeping the tool across the skin ensuring the curvature of the gua sha hugs the contours of the skin. (Always work upwards and outwards to ensure we are massaging fluid away from the face and towards the lymph nodes). 

Step 3
Next, moving to the mid-face and cheekbones, glide the stone across this section sweeping outwards towards the hairline.

Step 4
Moving the gua sha to the chin, starting at the centre and working downwards along the jaw line towards the ear, gliding the tool past the ear and down the next finishing at the collarbone. Repeating on the other side.

Step 5
The next step is the neck, working upwards from the collarbone to the jaw line in a gentle but firm motion.

Step 6
Finishing with the shoulders and back of the neck to promote blood flow and alleviate tension, glide the gua sha upwards from the shoulders to the base of the skull with a slightly firmer pressure of that applied to the face.