What Is Gua Sha and How Do You Use It? How to Do a Facial Massage at Home

Board-certified dermatologist Neda Mehr, MD, notes that the stimulation of circulation helps decrease inflammation and boosts detoxification, “which can lead to a clearer complexion and promote lymphatic drainage.”

Lymphatic drainage also benefits the skin by eliminating toxins, fluid buildup, and puffiness. “Gua Sha helps drive movement and circulation in the body to release stagnation,” Gray explains. “Depending on the amount of pressure used with the gua aha tool, you can target different regions of the body. This is where the proper technique matters. We recommend a gentle gua sha scraping motion to help activate lymphatic drainage and movement of lymphatic fluids.”

Mehr explains that a gua sha tool can help drain the lymphatic system by “stimulating the lymph nodes to help move extra fluid from swollen areas to excretion.” This results in an overall more refreshed, toned and healthy complexion. 

How Do You Use Gua Sha Tools?

Though you can book a professional gua sha treatment at acupuncture clinics or select spas, it has become a very popular at-home practice. So if you’re looking to DIY, Chiu shared a step-by-step guide on how to use a gua sha at home for guaranteed results. For each and every step, you’ll want to repeat all strokes five times, slowly, with gentle pressure.

  1. Place the flat side of the board flush against the base of the back of your neck, and stroke it upward along your spine to your hairline. Then stroke upward on either side of your spine, from the top of each shoulder to the hairline.
  2. Position the flat side of the board on the top of the shoulder, and stroke it upward to where your jaw meets your ear. Repeat on the other side.
  3. Place the curved notch of the board where your collar bones meet, and drag it up the midline of the throat up to (but not over) your chin. Repeat on each side of the throat.
  4. Position the notch of the board so it hugs the center point of your chin, and glide it along the edge of your jaw toward each ear.
  5. Run the flat side of the board under one cheekbone, from the corner of your mouth toward your ear. Repeat on the other side.

The Best Gua Sha Tools 

If you’re going to start incorporating gua sha into your regular skin-care routine, you’ll need to find the right gua sha stone. “There are many types of stones, sizes and types of gua sha tools on the market,” Wong says. Two of our favorites: the Yina Bian Stone Gua Sha and for beginners, the Lanshin Intro Gua Sha tool

Intro Gua Sha Tool in Jade

Though these two are one the more luxury side (gua sha tools are made from different materials which can effect cost), there are affordable options like the Mount Lai  Jade Gua Sha Facial Lifting Tool. For only $28, it has the same weight and smoothness as the pricier picks. Plus, you can choose between the teardrop shape or heart shape depending on the contours of your face.  

Does the Gua Sha Actually Work?

While gua sha’s benefits haven’t been clinically studied, practitioners say patients often notice skin looks more lifted after just one session. And it’s safe to practice, says Melissa Kanchanapoomi Levin, MD, a board-certified dermatologist in New York City, “as long as you don’t have blood coagulation or platelet issues, or current skin rashes.” 

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