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Article: How to Give Yourself a Gua Sha Facial

How to Give Yourself a Gua Sha Facial

How to Give Yourself a Gua Sha Facial

I am a big fan of the beautifying effects of the gua sha facial massage. The stimulation of blood flow, as well as the gentle lymphatic drainage, makes my face look vital and, honestly, more vibrant than without doing it. It plumps my cheeks, evens out my skin tone, and helps with dark circles. Okay, you may ask, what am I talking about? I get it. So, without further ado, I will introduce the concept of gua sha, the gua sha tool, how it’s used, and why it’s a lovely, low-tech solution to address puffiness under the eyes, lifting of the cheeks, and contouring of the face. Here's the story, or history….

Gua Sha's Origins and Significance in Chinese Medicine

Gua Sha massage is ancient, literally. It is a massage technique that dates back at least to the Ming Dynasty (1368) to address various health concerns. Gua Sha restores balance to the body's energy through the gentle scraping of a blunt tool over the skin's surface to stimulate blood circulation. This practice holds immense significance within Traditional Chinese Medicine, as it promotes overall well-being and supports the body's natural healing processes. In addition, recently, The Journal of Traditional Chinese Medicine found that gua sha was effective in reducing symptoms of perimenopausal syndrome, including hot flashes, insomnia, and mood changes.

Exploring Gua Sha's Benefits for the Face

Gua Sha offers numerous benefits to the entire body, and it’s great for your complexion, too! After doing a gua sha facial massage, you’ll see that your skin is more luminous and even-toned. Dark under-eye circles may look fainter, and a sagging jawline may be a bit more chiseled. This is because doing gua sha drains lymph fluids that cause puffiness. It also aids in blood circulation, a must for collagen production, and improves skin elasticity. These findings are also supported by research in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology.

The Step-by-Step Process of Giving Yourself a Gua Sha Facial Massage

To give yourself a Gua Sha facial, start by applying a serum to create a smooth, gliding surface. Use gentle pressure and long, sweeping motions with the gua sha tool on each area of the face in an upward motion, especially along the jawline and checks. Move up the face starting on the side of the nose and sweeping upward towards the temples. Remember to glide the Gua Sha tool along the skin with even pressure. Here’s some photos to give you an idea of how it’s done:)

9 images of Dr Catherine giving herself a gua sha facial

Considerations for Choosing a Gua Sha Tool

Let’s be honest; almost anything can be a good gua sha tool as long as it fits firmly in the hand and is NOT sharp. (!) Right now, I am using several tools with good results. My most economical tool is a circular lid from a jam jar. Yup, free. A simple metal cap with a rounded lip. You might have five in your recycling right now. I am also using a very smooth shell found on the beach a decade ago. It’s triangular, like a scapula bone, and about that size too. From there, I have two fancier ones from Wilding and Odacite. I like these, but if you are a bit clumsy like me and your tool is covered with oil, the Wilding one shatters when dropped. It is $68. I like the Odacite one. According to the site, “It was created by Japanese scientists with Terahertz crystal with the unique ability to conduct and maintain cold temperatures - becoming instantly ice cold when dipped in iced water”. The idea here is a cold tool will cause your capillaries to constrict a bit and as your skin warms those same capillaries dilate allowing a rush of fresh blood to the skin’s surface.

Do's and Dont’s When Using the Gua Sha Tool

When using the Gua Sha tool, there are certain do's and don'ts to keep in mind. It is important to maintain hygiene by cleaning the tool before and after each use to prevent the spread of bacteria. Apply gentle pressure to avoid bruising and ensure a comfortable experience, and try to avoid dragging the tool on the skin, as this can cause redness and irritation. Additionally, it is crucial to refrain from using the Gua Sha tool on broken or irritated skin to prevent further damage and irritation.

How Often Should You Indulge in a Gua Sha Facial?

Daily is fine; just go easy and very, very light.


To conclude, Gua Sha facial is a wonderful technique that combines the ancient wisdom of Chinese medicine. It offers numerous benefits for your skin, such as improved circulation, reduced puffiness, and a natural glow. There is no real downside here. Just go easy, and please, nothing sharp:))


Stephanie Hartselle, MD

★ ★ ★ ★ ★

There are few professionals I feel are brilliant enough for patient and family member referrals. Dr. Catherine is the first name I discuss when sending anyone for acupuncture.

Laura Whiteley, MD

★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Dr. Catherine is a true professional. She makes all her clients feel comfortable and her ability to heal is exceptional.

Kristine Mortel, MD

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The most visceral compliment I can give though is this; I am a doctor and I'm truly grateful and at ease to be a patient under her care.

James Rayner, MD

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I was lucky enough to discover Dr. Catherine’s beautiful space at a very stressful time. Her warmth and skill were outstanding. So relaxing and definitely the best acupuncture I’ve ever experienced.

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