The following article is written by Holistic Beauty + Gua Sha expert Tara Cavanagh, owner of Health Resonates. Follow her at @taraevelync.

Before we dive in, let’s start by defining what “Gua Sha” means: ​​Gua Sha is a Chinese word that is pronounced as gwah-shah and can be defined in two parts — “Gua” means “scrape” while “Sha” means “sand” by some and “redness of skin” to others. So, we could say it is a method of scraping away disease, fever or some type of sickness from the body generally. However, other words for the term “Gua Sha” are skin scraping, spooning, coining. Basically, it’s an ancient practice to help rejuvenate your skin and improve your health overall. 

In the ancient days they used a bull horn as their scraping tool, but in modern day there’s numerous tools out there to help you achieve that chiseled look. It’s important to have the right gua sha tools so you don’t damage  your skin – I’m obsessed with the new citrine gua sha tool and like to pair it with an oil or serum, such as pumpkin seed serum, for an easy glide, while using the tool.

Now that we have had our history lessons and know a little about gua sha tools, the next step is learning how to use them properly. My first lesson is this: be wary of influencers online you see using the gua sha tools, we often see they’re holding their tools incorrectly or not applying the correct pressure. I always recommend to turn to seasoned professionals to teach you so you can get the most out of this amazing ancient practice, that goes beyond simply improving your skin, but also works to support your health in general.

How-To: Gua Sha Techniques for better skin:

  1.  Once you’ve cleansed your face and washed your hands, it’s important to have a lubricated face for your gua sha tool to gently glide on instead of pulling your skin like your favorite serum or oil (such as the pumpkin seed serum mentioned above).
  2. Hold two fingers on your chin to minimize the pulling of your skin. With your other hand, take your gua sha tool  flat against your jawline and gently slide from your chin upwards to your ear. With slight pressure wiggle the tool under your ear and then slide down your neck to your collarbone. Do this 5-10 times each time, for optimal results.
  3. For the second gua sha technique, hold just under your temple and find the sweet spot between your actual bone and your jawline. Use your gua sha tool to wiggle and massage with moderate pressure. Do this 5-10 times as well for best results. 

And if you’re more of a visual person, watch this quick but detailed how-to video here.

Gua Sha Tutorial

And finally, I’ll leave with with a list of some of the positive effects gua sha can have on your skin – to name a few:

  • Lymphatic drainage –  Gua Sha stone and facial cupping massages are a great way to promote lymphatic drainage and keep your nodes healthy!
  • Tighter skin – you will likely notice (within weeks of beginning use!) that you have tighter, younger-looking skin. This is because Gua Sha promotes rapid cell turnover, and helps blood flow to every skin cell.
  • Tension relief – When we are stressed, we can hold tension anywhere and everywhere—including in our necks and faces.
  • Anxiety relief – The grounding nature of using a Gua Sha combined with the natural calming effects of a routine makes Gua Sha a useful practice for anyone with anxiety, especially around bedtime.
  • Reduces acne scarring – The great thing about Gua Sha stones is, as aforementioned, they promote cell turnover and rejuvenation, helping get rid of acne scars.

Read more about the benefits of gua sha here

About Tara Cavanagh

Tara is a Holistic Beauty + Gua Sha expert and owner of Health Resonates. If you’re a Healer looking to dive deeper into the practice of gua sha and how to implement it into your own business, she’s created an intensive gua sha training course here. If you want to learn more about facial massage routines , follow Tara on Instagram @taraevelync.