Gua Sha is a traditional Chinese skin treatment that uses a scraping technique on the skin using a tool known as a gua sha.
This alternative and natural therapy improves the skin circulation caused by the scraping motion. The healing behind gua sha works by lymphatic drainage, which reduces the bloating caused by interstitial fluid often sitting under your skin. The motion of rubbing the skin surface helps drain the fluid, reducing inflammation and pain, and promotes healing in the areas used. It is also referred to as jade scraping because the tool used to perform the scraping is a jade-like stone tool.
Where It Is Used
This natural therapy treats inflammation and chronic pain in the:
The Best Gua Sha Technique
The motion of scraping the skin is made by long and short strokes alternately. The technician will generously apply massage oil or any other oil on the skin, then use the gua sha tool to rub the oil downwards and outwards. This direction is often the direction that the lymphatic system drains. The technician begins by using little pressure on the skin but increases the scraping motions' pressure. This motion raises small, red rashes just under the surface of the skin. These dots are known as petechiae. The Chinese traditional healers found that the redness created on the skin is self-healing as it indicates the draining of the excess fluid and helps the lymphatic system work better. On the face, use less pressure because the facial muscles are thinner than other areas in the body; therefore, do not need as much pressure. Once you master these techniques, you can practice the gua sha on reachable areas of your body such as the face, décolleté, and neck.
The Benefits of Gua Sha
Some beauty and health benefits of gua sha include
- Better circulation
- Reduce skin puffiness and the appearance of dark circles
- Reduce inflammation
- Increase collagen production
- Decrease the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and brighten the complexion
- Temporarily tightens skin
- Provides a better definition of the facial muscles
- Releases muscle tightness
- Relieve muscle and joint pain
- Used to relieve symptoms of colds and flu and help with breathing problems
How Often Should You Gua Sha?
You can get gua sha at least once a week, but this may vary based on your skin type and tolerance. In the beginning, you will find that you may bruise easily, but as you continue to use the technique, your skin will get used to it. After you are used to it, you can increase the frequency to three times a week which you can then increase daily.
Potential Side Effects
As a natural treatment, gua sha does not have side effects, but it is advisable for people with certain skin conditions to get professional advice before using it. This includes people who have sunburn, rashes, severe eczema breakouts, or have blood clotting issues. If you bruise easily, you may need to advise the technician to use gentle pressure or use very gentle pressure. When you start having gua sha, you may experience some bruising and slight pain, but it will not last for more than a day. As your skin gets used to the treatment, the bruising and soreness will occur less and eventually disappear.
How To Choose A Gua Sha Tool
A gua sha tool is made from various stones, with jade and quartz being the most popular. Other materials are amethyst tools. When looking for a gua sha tool, look for one that will fit well in your hand for ease of use. The shape should be smooth and rounded as this will help fit the curves of your face and other areas of your body. The best tool will have different angles and shapes, for example, a butterfly shape, as this will help reach curved areas like the jawline and neckline. Ensure that the kind of tool that you buy is genuine. Cheaper tools made of other materials such as plastic can cause damage to the surface of your skin. Gua sha tool should be heavy because of the weight of the various stones used. The tool should be smooth and cool to the touch.
How Does It Compare to Botox?
Beauty treatments come at a cost. Whoever said money can’t buy happiness has probably never bought happiness in the form of Botox. This is one of the reasons why the beauty world has gone far and wide to find anything that could give the same level of magic as Botox, but in a much more affordable price range. This is where Gua Sha comes in. Again, Instagram and beauty blogs went abuzz with the hashtag #GuaSha as celebrities and influencers bought their own for home use. What exactly are they buying? What is Gua Sha and what does it really do for our faces? Is it just as effective in reducing all those wrinkles like Botox? Our curiosity has led us to do our own research. If you’re curious as well, read on to know everything about Gua Sha, its benefits, and how it compares to Botox.
Explaining Gua Sha and Its Benefits
Gua Sha is a Chinese word that literally translates to “scraping”. It’s the name of the technique and the tool that practitioners use to gently scrape their skin with. The tools are often made of divine-looking stones, such as jade and rose quartz, that exudes elegance and class. On this tool, there’s a soft-ended edge that will be rubbed on the surface of the skin.
Gua Sha Massage
Before it became Hollywood’s newest facial treatment, it was primarily used on one’s neck, back, legs, butt, and arms. The tool is scraped downwards using long, firm strokes to address the “chi” energy in one’s body that causes inflammation. To reduce inflammation and promote healing, the tool is scraped repeatedly on the skin’s surface.This massage was nowhere near gentle as those who go through it sometimes end up with bruises and redness, despite it being soothing and beneficial.
Gua Sha Facial
In the beauty world, Gua Sha is often done on the face which obviously requires a much more gentle approach. Still, rose quartz or jade tools are used, but the tools are scraped in an upward motion to also pull up the skin on the face and reduce wrinkles, puffiness and facial inflammation. This is where people started considering Gua Sha as an alternative to Botox. The simple, yet repeated, upward motion of scraping the tool on your face has been shown to effectively reduce wrinkles while calming down the sluggish look on your face until you are looking youthful and bright again.
How Does Gua Sha Compare to Botox?
Obviously, Gua Sha is way different than Botox. First of all, Gua Sha is not invasive like Botox—although Botox is arguably minimally invasive, you don’t need to endure a few moments with a needle in your face. You simply only need a tool to be scrapped in an upward motion; some people may even find this soothing enough to fall asleep during the facial. Another difference is that Botox is a neurotoxin that paralyzes muscles as a way to fix wrinkles. While it does have its short-term effects on the skin, reports have shown that those who have been injected with Botox may have also had adverse effects such as fatigue, drooping eyelids, and uneven eyebrows.
However, there are countless amounts of dermatologists guaranteeing that Botox is still quite safe. It’s just that you need to be mindful about your doses and how frequently you get them to make sure you’re not overdoing it. Gua Sha, on the other hand, virtually has no significant side effects apart from redness and bruising, if you apply too much pressure. However, it could take you some time before you actually see the effects. Gua Sha is not instant like Botox; patience is key to ultimately seeing the results you are striving for. Lastly, Gua Sha is nowhere near the price point of Botox. If you opt to purchase your own tool, it’s practically a one-time purchase. Unless you break it or drop it forcefully, it’s going to sit on your beauty counter for as long as you like. For Botox, on average you will spend around $10 to $20 per unit. And we all know one unit is not enough; you will have to have a few units each time you visit your dermatologist or esthetician.
So, among these two wrinkle-reducing beauty methods, which one would be the best option? That depends on how patient you are! If you don’t mind waiting for results, then Gua Sha should be the obvious choice! It’s not only more affordable, it’s also beneficial and relaxing, too. However, if time is of the essence and you want quick and fast results, Botox should do the trick.