Suddenly they were everywhere: Gua Sha stones for a firm, rejuvenating facial massage. These smooth stones of rose quartz, amethyst or jade are used to give your face, décolleté and neck a boost - a massage technique that came from Asia, where Gua Sha has been used for centuries. In this article we explain the origins of Gua Sha, the different techniques and the benefits for your skin.
Gua Sha = scraping Gua Sha (or guasha, as it is often written in the Western world) originates from traditional Chinese medicine which was already practiced in Asia about 2000 years ago. Gua Sha is a massage technique which uses a scraping method. Not for nothing does Gua mean 'scraping'. The Chinese believed thousands of years ago that the scraping massage technique could remove complaints and diseases from the body. In the original technique the massage was so firm that a Gua Sha treatment turns the body red and can even cause bruises. But don't be alarmed: Gua Sha as we know it in skincare is must more gentle and is mainly aimed at stimulating blood flow, loosening facial muscles and giving the face a healthy glow.
Gua Sha for your face While traditional Chinese Gua Sha is mainly used on the body, the Gua Sha stones you see on Instagram and in magazines are mainly meant to give yourself a nice facial massage. The stone you use for this is a flat Gua Sha stone of natural rose quartz, jade or amethyst. In combination with a facial oil, the Gua Sha stone does its job best; without oil your face is too stiff to massage.
The benefits of Gua Sha It is not for nothing that Asians have been running away with Gua Sha for 2000 years. The benefits for your body and face are enormous. Gua Sha stimulates the blood circulation, causing blockages to be relinquished and your skin to take on a beautiful rosy complexion. Gua Sha can also tighten the contours of your face, wrinkles and fine lines can be softened and your skin texture improves. A massage with Gua Sha helps your facial muscles relax, making Gua Sha not only wonders for your skin but also a relaxing moment for yourself. When you use Gua Sha in the right way, it also loosens up the connective tissue which lies deeper in the skin, allowing your skin to better produce collagen. This makes for smooth, glowy and youthful skin. Do not use Gua Sha if you have (open) acne or eczema.
Which stone do I choose? Gua Sha is made of rose quartz, jade, amethyst, bian stone or metal, among others. The benefits of gemstones have never been scientifically proven, so the material of the Gua Sha stone is not the most important for the result that a massage with Gua Sha can deliver. What is important is the shape of the stone. There are wing shaped Gua Sha stones, but you can also choose from the dolphin shape, S-shape and square shape. The most common shape is the wing shape, a shape you can use for your chin, jaw line and forehead. Do you want a soft massage under your eyes? Then the dolphin shape is for you. If you are going for a body massage the S-shape is pleasant, while the square shape is perfect for the jaw line, cheekbones, forehead and under the eyes.
How does a Gua Sha massage work? Getting started with a Gua Sha stone? Follow this step-by-step plan and you're good to go:
Cleanse your skin thoroughly - preferably by double cleansing.
Apply a few drops of facial oil and massage in lightly.
Scrape with the Gua Sha stone in one direction, while holding the stone at an angle of 30-45 degrees. Scrape upwards from your chin and jaw line. On the forehead, scrape towards the hairline.
Include the décolletage and neck, working upwards from the neck. You can apply light pressure, but don't push the stone too hard into the skin. Redness and bruises we do not want, so take it easy.
A massage with Gua Sha should never be painful, but it can make the skin pinkish. This is part of the process and is a sign that the blood circulation is put to work. After a massage with Gua Sha, drink a lot of water. This ensures that all the body waste can be discharged.
Cleaning Gua Sha stone After each massage, clean the Gua Sha stone with warm water and a little baby shampoo or detergent. Clean the stone thoroughly and then let it air dry. Clean the stone again before another massage. Bacteria may have collected on the Gua Sha stone and that will make your skin less happy.
Are you familiar with Gua Sha? Let us know your experience!
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