Beauty trends seem to go as quickly as they come. With each changing season sprouts an overwhelming amount of new products, fancy techniques and strict regimens that boast better results than the last crop—so keeping up with the latest skincare craze can feel like a daunting task. If you’re like most, the very thought of of poking and prodding our faces with needles and smothering unfamiliar chemicals all over our bodies feels equally as intimidating.
Enter Gua Sha.
Called “the botox of the Far East,” Gua Sha is a 4000-year-old Chinese traditional medicine practice that promises anti-aging benefits, the appearance of tighter pores and body detoxification.
I will try almost any beauty technique, especially if it requires little expense and produces natural-looking results. After learning about Gua Sha’s many skin-soothing perks from a yoga instructor in Venice, Calif., I purchased a rose quartz crystal Gua Sha tool and attempted this ancient massage art for two weeks. Here’s what I learned:
My skin was glowing like Beyonce’s after just one use
I know comparing one’s skin to Beyonce’s is a bold move, but no other analogy seemed to suffice when describing the new glow of my skin.
How’d I get it? Well after researching the proper Gua Sha technique (gently “scraping” the tool upward along the face and up and down the neck), I instantly noticed a brighter hue. It is said that through the simple yet strategic massage movements invite productive blood flow while flushing toxins from the muscles and lymphatic system. My whole face and neck appeared refreshingly plump, shiny and rejuvenated after just one use.
I had read that Gua Sha massages were intended to increase blood circulation, but I had no idea that it would become so apparent after just one session. (If you are looking to add a quick, fresh look to your face, I suggest placing the massage tool in the refrigerator for a few minutes before gliding the cool crystal over your face and neck in an upward motion.)
Within a week, I became very aware of the lines on my face and neck
We look at our faces in the mirror every single day. We see the same eyes, nose, ears and skin looking back at us day in and day out.
After a week of using the Gua Sha massage tool, I noticed a softness to my face that I hadn’t seen before. The lines on my forehead and around my smile didn’t appear as deep. Creeping crow’s feet that have slowly pushed their way into my facial surface appeared lighter, if not almost non-existent. I was in such shock that I actually sought out photos of myself from before my Gua Sha experience—what a difference!
I felt how much tension I carry in my jaw
Nothing reveals hidden stress like a massage. While many unknowingly carry tension in their shoulders and back, I discovered that I carry a large amount of stress in my jaw.
By using the Gua Sha utensil, I was not only sculpting my jawline, but also massaging out the tension and encouraging relaxation. Now I am more aware of even a slight stress-related clench of the jaw, and with my trusty tool, can help to ease that tension immediately. (Tip: I added a dab of BLOOM FARMS CBD Tincture to my Gua Sha massage to help further relax the facial muscles.)
Beauty isn’t only skin deep
While the Gua Sha technique yields almost instant results, the long-lasting power of this Chinese beauty regimen may go deeper than the surface, like other massage techniques.
Circulation is not only beneficial to the complexion, but also a preventative measure for all of the body’s cells, which rely on healthy blood and oxygen flow to perform optimally. (Increasing your water intake can help flush toxins from the body. It’s important to consume a heaping amount of water before and after a Gua Sha massage to keep waste moving out of your system while the massage tool encourages new blood flow to the area.)
And, we all know that reducing stress is associated with a lower risk of heart disease, depression and other conditions that can negatively impact quality of life.
What does science say?
While I felt that gains were immediately clear on the face, the real treasure of Gua Sha may be its benefits on areas we can’t see. Some researchers believe benefits attributed to Gua Sha are only due to a placebo effect, but I can tell you that in my non-scientific experience, I definitely experienced “The Beyonce Effect!”
If you have interest in Gua Sha, be sure to do your own research and talk to a qualified practitioner before determining that it’s right for you!