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Gua sha is trending: Have you tried it?

If you’re from “back in the day,” you might recall having (or seeing one in your mother’s collection of items) a pumice stone. Most people use pumice to exfoliate the skin on the heels of their feet. You might not naturally think of using it on your face. There’s a trending natural skin treatment gaining popularity throughout the country. Many people use it on their face. It’s called “gua sha.” This technique finds its origins in China. Gua sha is actually the name of the small tool you use to gently scrape the skin on your face.

The gua sha tool that you use to practice this alternative skin therapy looks like jade. That’s why many people in the beauty industry refer to the practice as “jade scraping.” This type of skin scraping isn’t limited to the facial area. You can undergo gua sha therapy at a spa where there are technicians who are trained in the technique. You can also learn to do it at home. It’s different from exfoliation in that the goal is to use the stone on the surface of the skin to spark a reaction under the skin. Exfoliation, on the other hand, simply removes dead skin cells to reveal softer, smoother, brighter skin underneath.

Gua sha is safe to use on many parts of the body

gua sha, jade stone and roller on small brown tray, greenery nearby

Besides your face, many people use the gua sha technique on the part of the body included in the following list:

  • Neck
  • Arms
  • Legs
  • Buttocks
  • Back

There are two main motions to employ when performing gua sha. The first is a long scraping motion while the other is to use short strokes.

Apply oil to skin before doing gua sha

gua sha, woman lying down, towel on head, hands of masseuse shown using stone on face

The proper motion (whether short or long strokes) is to move the tool down and outward on the skin. To reduce friction and enable easier, smoother movements, it’s common to apply oil to the flesh before scraping. When you begin the gua sha technique, you use only a small amount of pressure. As you get into the scraping rhythm, however, you increase pressure on the skin. As you increase pressure and continue a down and out scraping motion, you may notice redness or a purplish rash-like appearance just under the surface of your skin.

The reason for a downward and outward movement on the skin is that this is the direction in which the lymphatic system drains. If working on the facial area, it is also common to use upward strokes, however. This allows you to lift the skin rather than pull it down.

The medical term for the discoloration is “petechiae,” which are spots caused by bleeding under the skin. Have you ever burst a capillary? This is often a cause of petechiae. Other things that cause it include infections or reaction to medication. However, achieving petechiae is a goal in gua sha skin therapy.

Chinese healers say that Petechiae serves a purpose

gua sha, bruise on skin

Those who began the practice of gua sha believe that achieving petechiae promotes healing. The claim is that the tiny, broken blood vessels help drain excess fluid from the lymphatic system. Depending on which specific part of your body you’re working on, you would adjust pressure accordingly. The skin on your face would not be able to withstand the same amount of pressure that the skin on the back of your legs might.

What are the benefits of this skin therapy from Asia?

Although petechiae occurs when you practice gua sha on your skin, it is temporary. In fact, one of the benefits of this beauty routine is supposedly that it reduces inflammation in the body. It may also help tighten the skin. On the face, you can use it to reduce puffiness and prevent dark circles from forming under the eyes. Also on the face, Chinese healers believe that it can help relieve symptoms of cold and flu, as well as help to improve breathing.

Caution recommended if you have a skin condition

woman, eyes closed, sunburned face

If you have sunburn, a rash or eczema, you’ll want to exercise caution if you plan to attempt gua sha. Also, there are certain blood-clotting issues that may cause severe bruising. If you have such a condition, you might want to discuss the implications of gua sha on your skin with a qualified professional before determining whether you want to try it.

Is gua sha the new Botox?

female face from nose down, syringe touching lips

If you often hang out on social media platforms like Instagram or various popular beauty blogs, you might have noticed the hashtag #GuaSha in circulation. A lot of celebrities and influencers have promoted gua sha as a safer, less expensive alternative to Botox.

I’m not sure how I feel about starting a new beauty routine that’s going to burst my capillaries and cause temporary bruising. I mean, perhaps, I’d consider it worth it if I achieved stunning results! LOL

Have you tried gua sha? If so, we want to hear about it! Do you love it or hate it? Would you do it again, or do you wish you’d never tried it? Leave a comment under this post on our Facebook page!

 

 

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