Vampire facials and dermaplaning are just a couple of the things we’ve tried in the seemingly never-ending quest for good skin. Not to mention tamer pursuits like jade rolling, lymphatic drainage massage and LED light therapy. Safe to say, we’re pretty game for anything skincare-based.
Turns out however, it doesn’t have to be performed at a high-end aesthetician’s or cost hundreds of dollars to work. All you need is a bit of ancient Chinese wisdom and one simple tool. Enter, a credit-card sized ‘board’—typically made from yak bone, crystal or jade—that is pressed along the skin to release fascial tension and move sluggish lymph nodes.
It’s called gua sha, and it’s pretty damn good for your skin. Here’s why you should be doing it, and how to started:
No but seriously, this stuff is rumoured to be the natural answer to botox. Ageing occurs when blood circulation slows down, which inherently means that lymph detoxification slows with it; leading to sluggish skin-cell turnover. Because gua sha works to rejuvenate the skin and increase circulation, its the perfect antidote to Mother Nature’s wily ways.
Moving the lymph tones muscles, firms the skin, carries toxins away and stimulates chi energy. This is one of the biggest advantages of gua sha—not only does it visibly improve skin quality, it also puts you in deeply relaxing state; meaning they get all of the benefits of tapping into their parasympathetic nervous system to boot.
Gua sha goes deeper than jade rolling; it’s less about de-puffing (though it does that, too!) and more about applying medium to heavy pressure with a gentle glide and pull motion across the face. Directionality is key, as the practice is intended to work with the meridians of the body, which are a cornerstone of Chinese medicine.
Oh, and just a friendly warning: do NOT google image search gua sha. It’s not as scary as it looks, we promise.