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I Tried Gua Sha and It Benefitted More Than Just My Skin

By now you’ve likely heard of jade rolling, but what about gua sha? The technique and tools are similar, but there’s one major benefit that surprised and delighted one writer. She explains below.

There’s no doubt that we’re living in a time where it seems like nearly everyone is stressed. Where that stress comes from is certainly unique, but it’s there, and there’s no denying it. The signs of stress differ in all of us, but one of the most common signs is jaw tension. I’ve been dealing with jaw tension and teeth grinding for a little over a year now, and while I’ve yet to be diagnosed with TMJ (temporomandibular joint syndrome) officially, it’s still a point of discomfort for me, and I’ve been on the lookout for remedies left and right.

I recently got a facial at LA’s new hotspot, Skin Camp, and was introduced to a buzzy skin care technique: gua sha. While the traditional East Asian method isn’t anything new, it took a while for us Western folks to pick it up.

During the treatment, my facialist whipped out a curved-like crystal tool. As she glided it across my face, she moved towards my jaw and focused on it for quite a while. She explained how gua sha can be used to relieve jaw pain and that if I tried it at home a few times a week, it would make a difference in easing my muscle tension.

Low and behold, two months later, I’m still stressed (because you know, that’s how life works) but my jaw isn’t suffering the consequences as much. I’m sure you’ve seen the gua sha craze all over social media by now, but if you’re not sure how it works or how it can benefit your skin, allow us to break it down for you.

Ahead, here’s everything you need to know about the gua sha method and why you should consider trying it in your own skin care regime.

What is gua sha?

In its simplest terms, gua sha (pronounced gwahshah) is a massaging and scraping method and tool used in traditional Chinese medicine. Today you’ll find gua sha used in spas and skin care centers all over and massage tools available for purchase at your local beauty supply store. Gua sha typically involves the use of jade stone, but in the past, people resorted to using anything from antlers or horns.

The technique

After cleansing your face and neck area, apply your preferred facial oil before using your crystal. Once you begin, it’s all about using sweeping motions. You don’t want to apply too much pressure because this can lead to bruising afterward. Starting at the neck, take the curved side of the tool and slide it upward and out. Then move onto your jawline, under-eye area, cheeks, brow bone, and forehead. Repeat this two to three times in each area, except for the forehead—you can repeat up to five times on your forehead. You can perform this technique several times a week for the best results.

Skin benefits

While it’s certainly not botox, the gua sha method will help firm and lift your face. The massaging and scraping motions will help loosen muscle tension which can prevent wrinkles and fine lines from forming later on. As I mentioned, one of the biggest takeaways for myself was the relief of my jaw pain and tension which had been a real struggle for me. Overall it does help with blood circulation and lymphatic drainage so you’ll be left with a healthy, radiant glow.

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