Guasha: what is it, how is it used, and does it really work?

We’ve seen it become popular in recent months, featured in every skincare routine showcased on social media, especially among millennials and Generation Z. It comes in various colors, materials, and even different shapes now.

We’re talking about the guasha stone, the traditional Chinese stone that has circled the globe and entered the homes of many in the past year. But how is it used, and is it as effective as they say? Let’s take a closer look at what it’s all about.

The origins of guasha

“Guasha” is a traditional skin massage and scraping technique that originates from traditional Chinese medicine. The term “guasha” (pronounced “gwah-shah”) means “scraping away illness” in Chinese. This practice has been used for centuries in Asia to improve health and well-being.

In guasha, a therapist or an individual uses a specially designed tool, often made from materials like jade, obsidian, or metal, to perform scraping motions on the skin, typically along the body’s meridians or energy lines. During the scraping, gentle pressure is applied to the skin, and the surface is scraped in a controlled manner. This action causes mild and temporary skin irritation, which can result in a temporary red rash or spots known as “sha.” The goal of guasha is to improve blood circulation, release blocked energy, and relieve pain or muscle tension.

People use guasha for various purposes, including pain relief, muscle relaxation, stress reduction, and improving energy flow in the body.

In recent years, guasha has also become popular in some Western communities as part of wellness and beauty practices. People use guasha tools made of natural materials to massage the face and body to promote healthier skin and better circulation.

How it came to the West

Guasha came to the West primarily through the growing interest in alternative medicine, wellness, and beauty practices from Asia in recent decades. There are several reasons why guasha has gained popularity in the West:

1. Globalization and Cultural Exchange: With increased international travel and global communications, the traditional practices of other cultures have become more accessible and known in the West. This has paved the way for the importation of practices like guasha.

2. Growing Interest in Wellness: Many people in the West are seeking alternative approaches to improve their physical and mental well-being. Guasha is seen as a natural and non-invasive technique that can help with stress relief, reducing muscle tension, and improving circulation.

3. Popularity of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM): Traditional Chinese medicine, which includes practices like acupuncture and guasha, has gained popularity in the West as a complementary therapeutic option. Many people are interested in exploring the various methodologies of TCM to address health issues.

4. Promotion by Celebrities and Influencers: Interest in guasha has also grown thanks to promotion by celebrities and influencers on social media and other platforms. Many celebrities have spoken about the skin and wellness benefits of guasha, capturing the public’s attention.

5. Availability of Guasha Tools: Guasha tools made of materials like jade or rose quartz have become readily available in beauty and wellness stores online and offline, making the practice accessible to a wider audience.

Are there differences between various materials?

Yes, there are differences between the various materials used for guasha tools, and these differences can impact the sensation, effectiveness, and overall experience of guasha treatment. The most common materials used for guasha tools include jade, rose quartz, obsidian, metal, and plastic. Here are some of the main differences between these materials:

1. Jade: Jade is one of the traditional materials used for guasha tools. It is appreciated for its coolness and its ability to retain coldness. During guasha treatment, a jade stone can feel cool on the skin and may help reduce swelling and soothe irritated skin.

2. Rose Quartz: Rose quartz is known for its calming properties and is often used in beauty and wellness practices. Guasha tools made of rose quartz are considered gentle on the skin and can be used to massage the face and body.

3. Obsidian: Obsidian is a black volcanic stone. Guasha tools made of obsidian may feel rougher compared to those made of jade or rose quartz, but they are appreciated for their ability to penetrate deeper into muscle tissues.

4. Metal: Some guasha tools are made of metal, such as stainless steel or copper. These tools can be harder on the skin but are durable and resistant. They can be used to apply controlled pressure to specific points on the body.

5. Plastic: Some guasha tools are made of plastic. They are often lighter and more affordable compared to natural stones or metals. They can be a good option for beginners or those looking for an economical choice.

The choice of material largely depends on personal preferences and treatment goals. Some people prefer the cool sensation of jade, while others may appreciate the gentleness of rose quartz or the deeper penetration of obsidian. It’s important to note that the pressure and technique used during guasha are just as important as the material of the tool in achieving desired results.

What are the steps and movements for using guasha?

Using guasha involves a series of specific steps and movements to massage and scrape the skin effectively. Here’s a step-by-step guide to the movements and key points to follow during guasha treatment:

Materials Needed:

– Guasha tool (made of jade, rose quartz, obsidian, or another material)
– Facial oil or serum (optional, but helps reduce friction)
– Towel or washcloth

Step 1: Preparation

1. Begin with clean and dry skin. Remove makeup and wash your face with your usual cleanser.
2. If desired, apply some facial oil or hydrating serum to your skin to facilitate the guasha tool’s glide.

Step 2: Positioning the Tool

1. Hold the guasha tool so that the flat edge is parallel to the skin’s surface.
2. Start from the neck and gradually move upward and outward.

Step 3: Guasha Movements

1. Perform long and slow movements with the tool. Apply light and steady pressure, avoiding excessive force on the skin.
2. Follow these general directions for movements:

– From the center of the chin, move the tool towards the ear along the jawline.
– From the center of the nose, move the tool towards the ear along the cheekbones.
– From the base of the neck, move the tool upward along the neck and jawline.
– On the forehead, move the tool upward from the center towards the hairline.

3. Cover each area of the face multiple times, following the above-described path. You can also make shorter and repetitive movements on specific areas you want to target, such as forehead wrinkles or under-eye bags.

Step 4: Pressure Points

1. You can use the thinner edge of the guasha tool to apply gentle pressure on specific points on your face, such as temple pressure points or eyebrows.
2. Ensure that you are gentle and do not cause pain or irritation.

Step 5: Conclusion

1. After completing the guasha treatment, clean the tool with water and mild soap or a gentle cleanser and dry it thoroughly before storing.
2. Apply your regular skincare product, such as moisturizer or a mask.

It’s important to perform the guasha treatment gently and consistently. Pressure should never be too intense, and movements should be fluid and relaxing. Consistency is key to achieving visible results on the skin over time. If you have doubts about the technique or use of guasha, consider consulting a beauty professional or esthetician for personalized guidance.

A quick and simple guide to start using guasha stone

Does it work?

The effectiveness of guasha can vary from person to person and depends on various factors, including the treatment’s goal, frequency of use, and the technique employed. Some people claim to experience benefits from guasha, while others may not notice significant differences in their skin or well-being.

Here are some of the potential reported benefits of guasha:

1. Improved Circulation: The scraping motion of guasha can help improve local blood circulation, which may contribute to healthier-looking skin.

2. Reduced Swelling: Guasha can be effective in reducing swelling and water retention in the treated area, especially around the eyes and face.

3. Muscle Relaxation: Guasha massage can help relax tense facial and neck muscles, providing relief from muscle pain and tension.

4. Stimulation of the Lymphatic System: Some people believe that guasha can promote lymphatic system stimulation, aiding in the removal of toxins from the body.

5. Enhanced Absorption of Skincare Products: Using guasha before applying skincare products may help improve the absorption of these products.

It’s important to note that the effects of guasha may be subtle and gradual, and results can vary from person to person. Additionally, guasha is often considered as a complement to skincare routines and should not be seen as a substitute for medical procedures or dermatological treatments.

If you’re interested in trying guasha, it’s advisable to do so cautiously and with proper technique. You can also consult a beauty professional or esthetician for guided treatment and personalized advice on your skincare routine. As with any beauty or wellness practice, it’s important to listen to your body and monitor your skin to ensure that the treatment is suitable for you.

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