Gua sha is an ancient East/Southeast Asian treatment technique. Traditionally performed on the body, it consists of taking a small stone or crystal gua sha board across the skin and pushing into fascia and muscle tissue. To give you an idea of the intensity of the treatment— gua means scrape and sha means sand however, facial gua sha is more a massage than anything. The technique on the face involves gentle gliding the gua sha board over the tissue.
You’ve likely seen gua sha boards on beauty sites and Insta feeds the past few years. They often come in multiple colors, various sizes, shapes, and materials, reminiscent of a very large flattened jelly beans. These simple boards may not look like a powerful tool but it’s what these little boards do for your face that is impressive. Gua sha boards massage the face and help relieve muscle tension, lymphatic drainage, break up fascia, and promote blood circulation and flow. It’s a bit like a natural Botox (though not to be used in conjunction with Botox.)
Gua sha is performed on clean skin and thoroughly moisturized with an oil or serum to easily glide the board across your skin. Choose a gua sha board with one long straight or slightly curved side for the forehead and cheeks, one small curve for under eyes, or one with a notch or V cutout that can fit the jaw bone. (Or find one that can do both/all three.) Some people swear by a particular crystal or stone but ultimately you’ll want one that fits comfortably in your hand.
The basic steps are hold the board in one hand keep it almost parallel to your skin with a slight angle at the edge, while your other hand holds the skin by the edge of the board, and gently glide the board from the center of your face out to the edge of your hairline or jaw. Give a little wiggle at the end of each stroke out to release tension. Repeat the stroke three times.
The results are aesthetic and functional. Your skin is buoyant and brightened as well as relief from jaw tension and headaches. Paired with a treatment mask, it’s like a spa treatment and a real life soft filter for your face.