Gua sha is your new ancient Chinese medicine-inspired best friend

By now you probably know the benefits of facial rolling, but facial rollers aren’t the only Chinese medicine facial tools that can smooth out lines and help with lymphatic drainage. Enter gua sha. I reached out to Dr. Lamees Hamdan, CEO and founder of Shiffa, to get the full lowdown on the latest must have facial gadget.

What are the origins of gua sha?

Gua Sha is an ancient traditional Chinese medicine treatment, where the skin is scraped to intentionally create transitory therapeutic petechiae (looks like bruising). This has positive anti-inflammatory and immune protective effects for the body and the area being treated. To scrape the skin, tools are used, and the type and shape of the tool depends on the area being treated. Chinese medical practitioners usually have an array of differently shaped tools at their disposal. Traditionally buffalo horn, piece of jade or even a coin was used as a Gua Sha tool. The tool needs to be both blunt and smooth.

What should people know about buying one – is there a quality difference? Size? Material? 

My own FaSha Clear Crystal Quartz Tool is specially designed with different edges to properly release tightness because fascia is multidirectional. The pointed edge is better suited to help break up lines that have already formed, while the serrated edge helps stimulate acupuncture points. For me, I used Clear Crystal Quartz for my FaSha tool, because Clear Quartz, known as the master healer, amplifies all energies and is suitable for all people; it also draws out negative energies of all kind.

I also want to add that my FaSha Tool is made specifically for faces that have had Botox done. While Botox is an important tool in the antiaging arsenal, years of Botox use tends to make the underlying muscle waste (due to disuse), which gives a flattish, un-contoured appearance. Using my FaSha Tool daily, especially for those with Botox, reenergizes the frozen muscle, helps get more blood flowing and therefore will keep your youthful contours of the face.

How do you go about using it?

Make sure your face is well oiled and you’re scraping upwards and outwards with long strokes. There are instances where you can scrape downwards. It’s also important that the technique is learned properly. While body Gua Sha produces petechiae and bruising that lasts for a few days, facial Gua Sha done by yourself, shouldn’t. I posted a video of the proper Gua Sha technique for the face on my Instagram.

How often and for how long?

At least 3 times a week to see results, every day is even better. You can perform Gua Sha anytime – morning or night. Just make sure the face is well oiled.

What benefits should people expect and after how much time?

It contours and refines the face, releases muscular tension (which tends to give you a pinched, aged, angry look), helps circulation and lifts the skin. With use, your skin looks visibly plumped and it glows. Another thing to mention, that while some may think that this is just folk medicine, Harvard University has done studies and shown that Gua Sha has been shown to be effective in significantly decreasing pain and increasing microcirculation.  I am seeing that more and more medical programs incorporating teaching Gua Sha to physicians and nurses.

My own FaSha Clear Crystal Quartz Tool is specially designed with different edges to properly release tightness because fascia is multidirectional. The pointed edge is better suited to help break up lines that have already formed, while the serrated edge helps stimulate acupuncture points.

Any complimentary practices or products you suggest? 

Traditionally, Red Oil is recommended (which is St. John’s Wort Oil), but I find it might be a little too much for the skin on the face. Anti-inflammatory oils like calendula and chamomile are other options.

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