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Let’s be honest: while most of us know that good things take time, we’re still thrilled when we discover a health or beauty hack that delivers results immediately. We can’t promise perfection (plus, perfect is boring anyway), but one of the reasons we looooove facial gua sha is because it has both immediate and long-term benefits. After performing gua sha on your face, you might notice a youthful plumpness and a reduction in puffiness. Shout out to lymphatic drainage! When we help it along, lymphatic drainage promotes an increase in circulation, helping to sweep excess fluids away. But the best part of gua sha isn’t just that it provides some instant gratification — it’s the gift that keeps on giving. Gua sha therapy can soften long-held patterns of facial tension, a.k.a deep grooves and wrinkles, when done long-term. Slowly, you may notice your brow looking less furrowed, softer nasolabial folds (the “parenthesis” around your mouth), and faded crow’s feet. In this article, we’re breaking down the results of facial gua sha and body gua sha, both immediate and over time.
Gua sha is a healing method that originated within the purview of Traditional Chinese Medicine, an ancient modality that started in China and is practiced by many acupuncturists and practitioners today. While it all started with body gua sha (more on that below), facial gua sha was not well documented for its healing or beauty benefits, but in practice we noticed what a powerful practice it is. You’ll notice results immediately as well as over time. Below is a breakdown of what you can expect after trying facial gua sha, both immediately and over time, followed by the same breakdown for body gua sha.
Immediately after a gua sha ritual, you can expect to see a youthful glow, and a less puffy face. That swollen, congested feeling around your eyes and in your cheeks can drastically subside, leaving your skin feeling fresh and clear. When trying any beauty and health ritual, it’s good to begin with realistic expectations for the results. And we may be biased, but you wouldn’t be wrong to have high hopes when it comes to the power of facial gua sha — it’s a popular practice for a reason.
You know those mornings when you wake up and your eyes feel a bit swollen (anyone else a crier? hi, hello, we’re with you), and when you look in the mirror, your face doesn’t quite look like you? Lymphatic drainage can help, and that’s exactly what facial gua sha does — it helps to sweep away excess fluids that can get stored in the face and neck. When fluid accumulates over time, skin can become heavy and even sag a little bit. Doing a gua sha ritual to kickstart lymphatic drainage in your face works to immediately help reduce a puffy appearance, and often becomes more effective over time.
When your lymphatic system is properly activated and flowing, your skin will start revealing a more glowy quality. This is because gua sha restores and encourages circulation. Good lymphatic flow and circulation result in rosy cheeks, clearer skin, and a general glowy, relaxed brightness. Plus, using products to complement your gua sha ritual doesn’t hurt.
When it comes to doing gua sha over time: more is more. That is, the longer you stick to a consistent gua sha ritual, the more release of habitual facial expressions, wrinkles, and overall smoothing of the skin can occur.
What they say is true: the truth of your future is hidden in your daily routine. In other words, any actions we do daily or regularly become habitual. That also goes for the way our faces appear over time, thanks to our natural patterns of emoting, like smiling or expressing confusion. Some emotions (hello, concern, worry, and anxiety) cause more facial tension than we realize, which can build up over time and actually alter how our face looks. If this sounds wild, wait until you try gua sha — a lot of our first-time clients say that they cannot believe how much tension they were holding in their faces! With a regular gua sha practice, you can soften the tension that can cause a squared jaw, relax and soften fine lines around your eyes, and smooth out deep “elevens” caused by furrowing your brow.
The practice of gua sha loosens bunched facial fascia, carefully sculpting it over time. Draining the face of fluid in your face allows your bone structure to shine. With this reshaping comes a more elastic and toned quality to your face and skin. Hello, youthful, supple skin!
While it may not be the top-of-mind solution for treating acne and discoloration, facial gua sha can really make a difference. Gua sha stirs up stagnant lymph in your facial tissues. This increased movement causes your skin to detoxify. Keep in mind, with any kind of purge, the “gunk” must come to the surface. If you experience some minor breakouts, fear not. Your skin is simply clearing out old congestion. Hold tight — the good stuff is coming. Once your skin has gotten rid of its old baggage, you’ll be glowing in no time. You may also notice a correction in hyperpigmentation, improved scar healing, and a general reduction in the severity and frequency of future breakouts. If your initial breakout seems excessive, use downward strokes on your neck until the acne clears before resuming the complete ritual.
Read more: The number one area people forget about with gua sha.
Body gua sha is a practice of scraping the skin of the body with a stone, like a jade tool or our Aura Stone, made from Bian stone. There are many differences between facial gua sha and body gua sha, but most notably it is the pressure. We use featherlight pressure on the face while body gua sha requires a bit more rigor. Of course, always make sure you apply oil to the skin before using your tool. For free video tutorials on how to perform body gua sha, check our website and follow us on Instagram.
Immediately after starting body gua sha, you may notice relief from pain or muscle tension (it’s the best for headaches and sore muscles!), an even-toned look, and firmer skin thanks to a boost in circulation. Over time, using gua sha to manipulate the skin as well as the connective tissues underneath can help release bound fascia, smoothing the look of cellulite. Our faces aren’t the only thing that can receive the benefits of this ritual – the rest of your body deserves some love too, though the tools and rituals are quite different!
There’s no doubt about it, body gua sha helps ease muscle tension. Whether your shoulders are tense, your lower back hurts, or your plantar fascia is acting up, gua sha can help bring circulation to the area, and using the tool adds an element of depth that hands alone cannot accomplish. Next time you feel a tension headache or sore shoulders coming on, you try reaching for your gua sha tool for relief.
When you boost circulation in fascia through body gua sha, you increase the flow of blood and “qi” to the area. This can lead to a feeling of firmness and a generally smoother landscape on the skin of your body.
Read more: Bruising during body gua sha, and why it’s not a bad thing.
When you commit to a consistent gua sha ritual for your body, you can expect to see an overall smoothing of the skin, a reduction in cellulite, and a more toned appearance overall. We need to point out that cellulite is a perfectly normal aspect of having an adult body (we ALL have it!), but can be an indicator of bound fascia… we expand more on that below.
Many people note that body gua sha can reduce the look of cellulite. From an appearance standpoint, we see the beauty in all bodies, including those with more cellulite than others. From a purely holistic standpoint, cellulite can, however, be a by-product of dysfunctional fascia. When the fascia becomes stagnant — caused by anything from overwork to prolonged periods of sitting — it can actually cause these dimples in our skin. Working through the fascia on a regular basis helps restore it to its optimal state and leaves your body feeling energized.
When you activate the lymphatic system through body gua sha, you’re essentially sweeping away excess fluids that have built up over time. This movement can result in a more sculpted and smooth appearance of the body’s skin.
Repeat after us: method matters, method matters, method matters! When using gua sha on your face or body, your technique is important and makes all the difference. We’ve designed two separate collections for face and body gua sha rituals to attend to each area specifically. Our Empress Ritual is designed to support your facial gua sha practice, whereas the Aura Ritual is intended for the body. In terms of techniques, we share tips and tricks frequently over on our Insta and website. We’ve crafted specific rituals that can help plump lips, erase crows feet, carve cheekbones and jaw, relax the neck, and more.
If you’re committed, your gua sha ritual is the gift that keeps on giving. Results — mind and body — will be immediate and continue over time. If you’re feeling overwhelmed and need somewhere to start, try our 21-day challenge! It’s perfect for beginners or for an overall reset whenever you need it.