How to use a Gua Sha properly – The 6 benefits of the Chinese tool

The Gua Sha tool you’ve seen all over the internet in recent years isn’t anything new or groundbreaking, it has its roots in traditional Chinese medicine and was invented to scrape the skin and produce a number of benefits. In short, the tool is supposed to cause light bruising in order to get rid of unhealthy bodily matter and encourage newly oxygenated blood to flow to problem areas in the skin and body. More often than not, the tools sold in the Western world aren’t made from jade and don’t come with the correct instructions on how to use them, rendering them useless. Express.co.uk chatted to Doctor of Traditional Chinese Medicine, John Tsagaris, to find out how to use a Gua Sha properly.

The Gua Sha isn’t a new tool created to tone up your double chin and sculpt higher cheekbones like TikTok would have you believe.

In fact, if you’ve bought a Gua Sha with the sole purpose of achieving a slimmer face… you’ve wasted your money.

Dr Tsagaris said: “Unfortunately, nowadays Gua Shas have become a trend for the wrong reasons as its practice would be potentially dangerous on the wrong hands.

“It has even become a beauty trend with influencers stroking the face gently to reshape it or improve its appearance, which is utter nonsense.”

It’s time to totally re-evaluate your ideas about the Gua Sha and what it is capable of.

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Gua Sha originates from the ancient traditional Chinese medicine insights on restoring health by moving stagnant energy, the practice wasn’t created by Instagram beauty gurus.

Dr Tsagaris explained: “It is a physical therapy scraping device made of different materials such as stones, metal, wood, sonic Hitec technology or crystals.

“Their primary purpose is to improve the energy and blood circulation in the area treated.”

“Gua Sha is basically an instrument-assisted soft tissue mobilisation (IASTM) that allows the practitioner to effectively break down the fascial restrictions to promote healing.”

What are the benefits of Gua Sha?

Gua Sha has some health-related therapeutic value, but they won’t do anything that social media stars say they do.

According to Dr Tsagaris, Gua Shas will not redefine the face, improve collagen, plump up the cheeks, create a natural facelift, treat lines and wrinkles or treat skin conditions.

However, Gua Shas can be helpful to alleviate muscle and joint pains and aches that include back pain, strains, carpal tendon syndrome, and sports training recovery and performance.

If you’ve bought a Gua Sha specifically to use on your face, you can still use it to improve blood and energy circulation, oxygenation and puffiness there.

The expert added: “It can be a part of a facial ritual and soften fascia to relax facial muscles that cause wrinkles and provide a sense of a lift and overall well being.

“Apparently, the method can improve skin microcirculation and skin oxygenation.

“In addition, it works on the tight facial fascia to alleviate tight facial muscles and rigid jaws and it also helps with facial lymphatic drainage by moving superficial fluids from the face.

“The method also helps with skin tone irregularities and provides a feeling of a facial lift – but not an actual facelift.”

Gua Sha is a simple direct forcefully stroke along an area, mainly the acupuncture meridian channels and points, to treat pain and muscle soreness.

If you use it properly, the scraping method will help to achieve the following benefits:

Blood circulation: It stimulates the blood supply to the affected area. As a result, the blood and oxygen flow increases significantly, enhancing microcirculation.

Pain reduction: facilitates muscle detoxification from byproduct excess after training, resulting in painful muscles.

Energy release – It also unblocks all stagnant flow of QI (life energy) from an acupuncture perspective and facilitates energy renewal.

Anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects: The method releases antioxidants like HO-, nitric oxide and natural pain-relieving hormones of the body.

Stress: it promotes natural endorphins such as serotonin and opioids to facilitate relaxation and wellbeing.

Fascia release: It softens tight fascia tissue and facilitates inflammatory residues to break down.

How to use a Gua Sha properly

Unless you visit a professional, you should not be using a Gua Sha by yourself at home because you won’t be able to do it properly.

Dr Tsagaris said: “The method is designed to be a forceful skin or muscle stroking that must cause intense topical redness to be effective.

“Sometimes the localised redness leads to bruising or even bleeding and it is therefore essential to be performed by a qualified professional.”

The gentle facial strokes you see on social media are not effective and the doctor said they can devalue the actual benefits of the method, which has a practical health input used for a suitable reason and purpose.

Pure Sport co-founder Grayson Hart said you can use Gua Sha for the body along with a CBD balm or an oil or balm of your choice.

He said: “Apply the product and rub it into the skin where you are wanting to use the Jade Gua Sha Stone to relieve pain or tension or to destress, relax and improve circulation.

“You may start to see redness during your session, but don’t be alarmed, as this is actually said to be a sign of healing and the Gua Sha doing its job.

“You can use the points of the Gua Sha stone and move in small circular motions while applying pressure – you can do this on muscles or around joints.

“You can also move in firm, even strokes across muscles, for example around the neck (trapezius), arms, chest, legs or back.”

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