Gua Sha - A Natural Botox Alternative
Gua sha is all over Instagram and Pinterest these days. It has even been called the botox of the Far East!
A few months ago, I ordered a jade roller online (another blog for another day) and a rose quartz gua sha was included in the packaging. Honestly I hadn’t paid it much attention, but I slowly started researching what it was and what in the world am I supposed to do with it. Finally about a week ago I started trying it in the evening after applying my night cream.
HOLY CLEAN BEAUTY!
I am obsessed!
Let’s start with what it is – it is a small device typically made of rose quartz or jade (but you can find them in various different stones each of which has its own properties and benefits) that you stroke over the contours of your face.
It’s actually a technique that has its roots in Paleolithic era. Our earliest ancestors instinctively understood that when you had muscle tension or pain, massaging and rubbing the affected area helped. There is evidence that they even used stones to massage their muscle pain.
Facial gua sha is different from therapeutic gua sha practiced today. Traditional gua sha is a treatment in which such great pressure is applied that it can – and usually does – leave painful bruises. Facial gua sha however, requires a light pressure and is quite relaxing and enjoyable.
Lymphatic face massage
A lymphatic massage helps to increase circulation and to release water retention – particularly noticeable in our faces. Another important benefit from lymphatic massages is that they effectively help your body and your skin to detoxify.
The purpose of a lymphatic massage is to encourage blood flow to increase going towards the lymph nodes. This increased circulation helps clean your face from within and gives you an incredible healthy glow.
By using this gua sha stone after using my face cream, my circulation increased dramatically. I could feel the warmth of my skin and by the time I finished the massage my skin was red.
Increased circulation is fundamental to maintaining youthful skin. It brings oxygen rich blood full of regenerating nutrients to the skin’s surface. Skin regenerates itself more frequently and important factors like collagen are stimulated.
In addition, this circulation boost helps your creams and serums to penetrate your skin better. It’s a total win-win, in just a few minutes your skin absorbs even cream better and is more receptive the principal ingredients!
Relaxation of facial muscles
I hold all of my tension in my forehead – and have the wrinkles to prove it. It is so hard for me to relax the muscles of my face but using the gua sha stone, it’s possible.
I love using my stone before going to bed, it literally just irons out the tension I have accumulated during the day. My forehead is much more relaxed and I am starting to notice a difference in how deep my wrinkles are. While it is not a miracle, for someone like me afraid of using botox or other injectables to fight wrinkles, this is a fantastic strategy!
The gentle massage guides blood flow towards your lymph nodes – in this case the large group of nodes in your neck. Those lymph nodes filter your blood and remove toxins and waste.
The effect of this massage is two-fold – by helping increase circulation towards your lymph nodes you are clearing toxins out of your skin, literally. The lymph nodes filter out toxins and clean out your blood, this alone results in a clearer complexion.
Add to that the rosy glow that gua sha gives you after just a few minutes, the combination gives you the rosy, glowy complexion that should never be covered with makeup!
Creating more toned skin
The basic effect of gua sha is that it helps to break down the fascia of connective tissue in your face. This fascia typically blocks optimum blood circulation. By breaking down this barrier to your circulation, the nutrient rich blood flow stimulates collagen production.
The end result is firmer, glowing skin.
So, how do you use it?
It is critical to use on freshly cleaned skin, first you must use a rich moisturizer or a facial oil (my personal go to is just regular coconut oil – it’s perfect to hydrate deep down) to help the stone glide without too much friction. Start from the top of your neck and massage in a downward direction to clear the path to the lymph nodes. Then, working one side of your face at a time, start with the stone against your jaw line from the middle of your face and slide it to the outer part of your face – pause and wiggle the edge of the stone at your hairline. Continue the same movement 5-10 times, then do your cheek, starting from the side of your nose, the eye socket both below and above the eye, and then your forehead. Take time to stroke up from the bridge of your nose to your hairline massaging the space between your eyes. Check out my video below to see how I use my gua sha!
The beauty of this stone is that it feels SO GOOD to use and while there are a million guides that will tell you how to use, there really isn’t a wrong way. Follow your facial contours and find what feels good – even on the back of your neck, shoulders and décolleté! I typically go in the proper order – from lower jaw line and upwards, but then I usually pop around to where it felt amazing or if I noticed a lot of tension.
Clean beauty is all about taking small steps each day to keep our skin healthy and in great shape. This ancient technique is such a wonderful addition to any skincare routine.
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