Reviewed by: Britta Plug
Here at Wildling, we’re of the belief that gua sha truly offers it all. From stress relief, improving the health and appearance of skin, offering a nourishing, natural, and restorative form of self-care – to say nothing of the lifting, toning, and smoothing benefits this TCM practice provides.
If you’re not experiencing the benefits listed above, or if you’re new to the gua sha game, it’s worth taking a look at the technique you’re using when you grab your Empress Stone. The right technique takes everything to the next level.
In this article, we explore the most common technique mistakes we see and precisely how to fix them to ensure your gua sha experience is safe, relaxing, and most of all - effective.
Read on for the skinny!
Use Enough Oil and Use the Right Kind
Gua sha requires a slip-and-slide that only facial oils can provide. Using a serum or a tacky oil, or moisturizer may cause pilling, potential redness, and interfere with the calming effects of the ritual. Not cool! Investing in a facial oil that’s made especially for use with a gua sha tool is a good way to get the most out of your stone, your time, your energy, and your dollar. We recommend our Lumin Oil or Empress Oil for best results.
Remember the Neck
We can’t stress this enough: don’t neglect the neck! The neck is a super highway to the face and what you do to the neck will show in the face. You need to work the neck to open up meridian channels. In other words, facial gua sha doesn’t really work unless the neck is treated, too.
Slow it Down
Slow and steady is best when it comes to your Empress Ritual. Fast movements have their moment, but the basic routine is so much more effective when you slow it all down. Going slowly gives you a chance to connect to your breath and fully feel the happy, releasing sensations that gua sha provides. Permission to move as slow as like, granted! Your skin (and your nervous system) will thank you.
Pressure: Less is More
Harder isn’t always better, especially when it comes to facial gua sha. In order to move the lymph efficiently, a gentle pressure is ideal for the stroke. Pull rather than push—if you go too hard, you risk bruising, the kind you see in gua sha bodywork, which isn't cute on your face. For a complete guide to gua sha & pressure, check out this accompanying blog on the topic.
Hold your Empress Stone correctly
This is a big one! One of the most common mistakes we observe is people holding a gua sha stone at the wrong angle. For basic gua sha moves, hold the stone so it creates an acute angle with the surface of the skin, somewhere between 15 to 45 degrees. Doing so maximizes the contact between the tool and your skin, and is also the most efficient for moving lymph. Do not hold the stone at a 90 degree angle to your skin unless you’re working with a specialty technique that requires it. For a visual demo, check out the video below this article.
With these mistakes corrected, consider yourself a bit of a pro at perfect gua sha technique!