We love Gua Sha to de-puff, lift, and increase skin radiance.
The power of Gua Sha, however, goes much deeper than giving our faces a glow. In fact, this Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) technique was developed as a healing ritual, to move stagnant energy, eliminate toxins and help our bodies heal from illness.
PS Richmond Aesthetician Alex Lai was introduced to traditional Gua Sha as a young child. We reached out to learn more about his experience with Gua Sha as both a healing and beauty technique, and to share his best tips and tricks with you!
How were you introduced to Gua Sha and what does it mean to you?
My family has been doing Gua Sha for as long as I can remember. My grandmother has always used Gua Sha as a way to keep the body healthy. Whenever I had a cold or any type of ailment, Gua Sha was used on my body in specific areas to help alleviate symptoms and increase recovery speed. One of my most memorable experiences of how effective Gua Sha can be was when I had a high fever – immediately after my grandmother did Gua Sha on my back and neck I felt that I could breathe better and that my muscle fatigue, aches and pains and headache disappeared. Gua Sha to me is a way of maintaining a healthy body and boosting the immune system and I am very glad I was taught how to do it and how to share this knowledge with everyone.
Compiling your knowledge of Gua Sha as a TCM technique and your expertise as a Medical Aesthetician, how does facial Gua Sha elevate skin outcomes?
Traditionally, Gua Sha is used on the meridians of the body to help increase blood circulation and move toxins to the lymphatic system so they can be expelled naturally. When Gua Sha is used in this way, the Gua Sha tool is scraped over the meridians multiple times until you see the “black blood” (red markings) come to the surface. This “black blood” is understood as the toxins being extracted out of these areas on the body so that they can be expelled as the bruises dissipate. The meridians of the body are known to carry our “chi” (our bodies energy) and when they are blocked and the flow of energy is stuck, aches and pains and poor health/immunity occurs. Gua Sha helps break those blockages and move the energy so it can once flow again, and once that harmony is achieved our bodies return into balance.
When incorporating Gua Sha into facials, we use a much lighter pressure, not to bring the “black blood” to the surface, but to gently increase blood circulation to the face. By increasing blood circulation, nutrients and fresh oxygenated blood can reach the surface of our skin. This results in our skin looking livelier and glowing from the inside out. Regular maintenance with Gua Sha has an amazing anti-aging and lifting effect for our facial skin.
What is your best advice for patients looking to incorporate Gua Sha into their beauty routine?
I find that Gua Sha is best done in the morning as soon as you wake up, after your morning skincare routine. We tend to have some facial swelling and puffiness in the morning as a result of the stagnant blood and water that builds throughout the night as we are sleeping. A morning Gua Sha ritual allows us to best detoxify the face, giving the face a slimmer appearance and a glow built from the inside out.
You can watch Alex’s Gua Sha how-to tutorial here.
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