Gua sha (pronounced gwah-shah) is a traditional East Asian medicine pressure-point based technique that helps to improve circulation, tone, and texture of the skin. The word gua sha comes from the Chinese word for scraping. The technique is based on acupuncture and can visibly reduce puffiness on the face and under the eyes through lymphatic drainage. Through pressure and sliding movements with the gua sha excess water is “drained” from the skin, leaving a more toned, tightened appearance. If you find yourself waking up puffy, a gua sha massage should definitely be part of your morning beauty routine.
Gua sha is not only about beauty, either. It’s also used for other health benefits including relieving headaches, muscle tension, insomnia, and back pain. Not only does it help to improve circulation and relieve tension, but it’s also a very calming technique that feels like a mini massage. Using a gua sha is very simple once you get the hang of it. You’ll need a gua sha tool and a non-greasy oil or moisturizer to get started. (We love our Opalite Gua Sha and Calming Skin Booster oil for this.)
It’s best to do the full routine for maximum results, but if you’re in a time crunch, you can just focus on the areas that need the most lymphatic drainage, such as under the eyes. Below you’ll find a chart and a video courtesy of Tina Engeo. To start, it’s best to do 5 strokes for each area that you want to treat. Feel free to do more, but be mindful of how much pressure you’re using. You should be bruised or excessively red after using a gua sha.