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If you’re like me, your for you page has been filled with videos about gua sha, an ancient technique used in Chinese medicine. With promises of less puffiness in my face and glowy skin, I couldn’t help but be intrigued. Before I do anything to my skin I like to learn all the facts and make sure what I am doing is safe for my skin. 

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The technique of gua sha is aimed to improve circulation, release tension, and encourage lymphatic drainage. Our lymphatic system is responsible for helping our bodies get rid of toxins and waste. When we have a build up of fluid from our lymphatic system not working properly we may experience things such as puffy skin and inflammation. Applying pressure to certain areas in our face can aid in lymphatic drainage which helps to achieve the desired sculpted look. Gua sha is not limited to the face, it can be applied to the whole body. The facial version of gua sha is more gentle and pressure is far lighter. Using long and short strokes to stimulate greater circulation in our face and neck is believed to promote healing while increasing blood flow. By increasing circulation and lymphatic drainage through gua many have claimed to see brighter complexions, decreased inflammation, softening fine lines and wrinkles, and sculpting facial muscles.

So what are the right methods and materials to use? Right now many are using aesthetically pleasing stone tools, but the original practice of gua sha was performed with almost any tool on hand like spoons or coins so it can be tried out by anyone no matter your budget. The shape of the tool is more important than the material of the tool. You want your tool to fit the curvature of the area you want to treat. After choosing your tool you need to make sure to prep your skin. Using an oil or moisturizer is essential to provide that “glide” between your skin and the tool. This is important because we don’t want to pull and tug on our skin leading to unwanted irritation. Once your skin is prepped you are ready to begin! I would recommend watching a tutorial on the proper techniques, and luckily there are a bunch on Youtube.


After doing my research it was finally time to try it out for myself. I purchased a jade stone gua sha from Mount Lai and rosehip oil from The Ordinary to start my journey. I began with a fresh face post-shower and watched a step-by-step tutorial by Poosh. The whole process was like getting a facial, and I was left feeling so relaxed after. In order to really see if I achieved the results everyone was raving about I performed the motions on one side of my face before beginning the other side. I definitely saw that the side gua sha was performed on looked more lifted and awake. More than anything it is a great self-care procedure, and for that alone, I am a fan. I will definitely keep trying out this procedure to see if I can achieve even better results over time. It is recommended to perform gua sha a few times a week depending on your skin tolerance for the method to see noticeable improvement.

If you plan to give gua sha a try make sure to support Asian-owned businesses when buying your gua sha tools!

Julia Brown

U Mass Amherst '23

Julia Brown is currently a sophomore at UMass Amherst studying nutrition and public health. She loves hanging with friends and finding cute coffee shops in her free time. Feel free to follow her on instagram @juliabrown15
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