Thrive in 3: Benefits of Gua Sha

Gua Sha - The Sleepy Mind

We’ve recently been exploring the benefits of gua sha, a traditional practice that is a staple in many wellness & skincare routines. We’ve recently been incorporating it into our evening thrive in 3 routines and finding it an amazing way to wind down in the evening. Let’s explore the benefits of gua sha…

What is Gua Sha?

Gua Sha, pronounced “gwah-shah,” is a traditional Chinese healing technique that involves gently scraping the skin with a smooth-edged tool to stimulate circulation and promote lymphatic drainage. While it may sound intense, gua sha is actually a gentle and soothing practice that can be performed on various parts of the body, including the face, neck, and shoulders.

Benefits of Gua Sha

We spoke to Chandra at Soma Rituals to get the lowdown on this ancient technique. Soma Rituals specialises in holistic facial treatments for whole being radiance.

(Image courtesy of Soma Rituals.)

What are some benefits of Gua Sha?

Facial gua sha is a combination of traditional gua sha based in Chinese Medicine, connective tissue manipulation and lymphatic drainage massage. The main function is to move stagnation and restore the flow of blood, Qi and lymph to the tissues. Through regular use, gua sha gives you a significantly more lifted, clear and glowing complexion.

Gua sha has many benefits such as releasing muscle tension, smoothing fine lines and wrinkles, tightening and brightening the skin, and reducing facial puffiness. It improves the circulation, stimulates collagen production and creates a more sculpted appearance, especially around the jaw and cheekbones.

Beyond looking more radiant, gua sha helps us to engage the parasympathetic nervous system, allowing us to feel more present, calm and grounded. It’s a deeply relaxing self care ritual you can do at home to support your health and emotional well-being.

Does it matter what type of stone and oil you use?

It’s important to use a good quality gua sha tool, as well as your favourite facial mist and oil to create the right amount of slip for this massage.

I personally think it’s nice to find a stone that you resonate with. Genuine crystal has added vibrational properties and energetic powers that can support your practice – and they also retain heat and cold which can add more versatility. Be wary of dyed glass as this can potentially cause irritation. Stainless steel and copper gua sha tools are also great options.

Gua sha increases the absorption of skincare products so make sure you use a good quality, cold-pressed, organic oil that will nourish your skin. Using a hydrating facial mist or toner before you apply oil to the skin will also help the product to penetrate, instead of just sitting on top of the skin. You want to make sure you find the balance between “slip and grip” – so you can create a gentle stretch to the facial tissue with your stone, without tugging harshly at the skin or sliding over the surface

Can you share any tips or techniques for beginners looking to incorporate Gua Sha into their wellness routine?

In order to see results, ideally you would use gua sha three times a week for around 15 minutes. There is no right or wrong as to when to practice. I personally like to use gua sha in the evening, with a cleansing balm as the slip, as a way to wind down at the end of the day and relax all those expression lines and tense muscles. But it’s also great to start your day with some facial massage, so choose a time that works for you.

If you want to focus on releasing tight muscles, the pressure can be quite slow and deep to target these deeper layers. You can also heat your tool up in warm water to get things moving. If you are focusing more on lymphatic drainage and depuffing, you want to use light pressure. Keeping your stone in the fridge can be a great way to wake your skin up in the morning too.

Finally, always start at the neck if you want to see optimal results. If you have a lot of blockages in your neck it will inhibit circulation and nutrients moving up to the face, and it will be more difficult for lymph to drain down from the face.

Your gua sha ritual can be a beautiful and intentional moment for mindful self care – so feel free to light a candle, take some deep breaths with aromatherapy, and really honour this time to connect back to yourself.

(Image courtesy of Soma Rituals.)

Thrive in 3 Routine: Evening Gua Sha with Herbal Tea

Now that we understand the benefits of Gua Sha, it’s time to incorporate this ancient practice into your evening Thrive in 3 wellness routine. Here’s how:

Prepare Your Herbal Tea: As your herbal tea steeps, take a moment to unwind and prepare your mind for relaxation. Choose a calming blend, such as Chillaxin’ Chamomile, The Sleepy Mind, or Rooibos, to enhance the soothing effects of your gua sha routine.

Perform Gua Sha: Once your tea is ready, take your Gua Sha tool—a smooth stone or specialised Gua Sha tool—and apply gentle pressure to the skin, using upward and outward strokes. Start at the neck and work your way up to the forehead, focusing on areas of tension and tightness.

Step 1: Preparing the Skin

Start by cleansing your face with a gentle cleanser to remove any dirt, makeup, or impurities. Pat your skin dry with a clean towel.

Step 2: Apply Facial Oil or Serum

Apply a few drops of your favourite facial oil or serum to your skin. This will provide lubrication and allow the Gua Sha tool to glide smoothly across the skin.

Step 3: Begin with Neck and Jawline

Hold the Gua Sha tool flat against your skin, starting at the base of your neck. Use gentle upward strokes, moving along the jawline towards the ears. Repeat this motion 5-10 times on each side.

Step 4: Move to Cheeks and Under Eyes

Next, move the Gua Sha tool to the cheeks, using upward and outward strokes towards the temples. Be gentle around the delicate under-eye area, using the curved edge of the tool to gently massage from the inner corners of the eyes outwards. Repeat this motion 5-10 times on each side.

Step 5: Focus on the Brow Area

Using the curved edge of the Gua Sha tool, gently massage the brow area in upward strokes towards the hairline. This helps relieve tension and promote circulation in the forehead and brow region. Repeat this motion 5-10 times.

Step 6: Target the Nasolabial Folds

To address nasolabial folds (smile lines), use the long, flat edge of the Gua Sha tool to gently massage along the creases, moving from the sides of the nose towards the corners of the mouth. Repeat this motion 5-10 times.

Step 7: Finish with Forehead and Temple

Lastly, focus on the forehead and temple area. Use upward strokes with the Gua Sha tool, starting at the centre of the forehead and moving outwards towards the hairline. Pay special attention to any areas of tension or tightness. Repeat this motion 5-10 times.

Step 8: Cleanse the Gua Sha Tool

After completing the routine, clean the Gua Sha tool with warm, soapy water and a soft cloth to remove any oil or residue. Allow it to air dry before storing it in a clean, dry place.

Sip and Soothe: As you perform your Gua Sha routine, take slow, deep breaths and allow yourself to fully relax into the moment. Sip on your herbal tea, savouring the comforting flavours and aromas as they envelop you in a blanket of tranquillity.