Self-care is the mantra of the season and we are all seeking comfort in at-home skincare rituals to rejuvenate our skin and minds. If I ask you to close your eyes and imagine a soothing self-care setup, chances are that it will involve candles, facial oils, mud masks, and a Gua Sha stone! Rose Quartz, Jade, or Amethyst, no matter what your crystal of choice may be, you must have been intrigued by the Gua Sha stones that are reigning the skincare space at the moment. A massaging technique that is touted as the singular cure to dullness, sagging skin and acne, is Gua Sha truly the key to flawless skin or just another marketing gimmick? Was the secret to radiant, healthy skin cracked centuries ago by traditional Chinese medicine? Let us investigate!
The Origin Story of Gua Sha
The origin of Gua Sha lies in traditional Chinese medicine, wherein the term refers to scraping the skin with a blunt object to release toxins from the body. Believe it or not, traditionally Gua Sha had nothing to do with skincare at all. It was, in fact, a technique used to resuscitate peasants that fell prey to heat strokes, and to relieve muscle pain and fatigue in general. The skin was first lubricated with an oily substance and was then scraped with a blunt object, such as a spoon or even an animal bone, until reddish-purple bruises appeared on the skin. Practitioners believe that this technique encourages the release of toxins from the blood, which allows the body to heal faster.
Animal bones and bruised skin – doesn’t sound like a skincare ritual that you would sign up for, right? So how did Gua Sha make its way from a medical practitioner’s clinic in China to our skincare table? To answer this question, we will have to explore the evolution of Gua Sha!
The Evolution of Gua Sha into its Modern Form
The connection between Gua Sha and skincare was discovered over time, which led to the popularization of Gua Sha stones. In its traditional form, Gua Sha was used to heal the body, an indirect effect of which could be better-looking skin. As we all know, our skin is a reflection of our physical and mental well-being. So, if Gua Sha releases toxins from the body then it would certainly make the skin look healthy too. A noticeable improvement in the state of the skin of their clients revealed the skincare benefits of the technique to practitioners. This concept was then adapted into the modern Gua Sha stones that we are all familiar with.
The skincare version of Gua Sha refers to gently massaging the face with a crystal stone or roller. These massages are believed to sculpt the face, reduce puffiness, and improve the overall health of the skin. Animal bones and Chinese spoons have been replaced with aesthetically pleasing crystals that are shaped to fit our faces. Each crystal is supposed to provide a different set of benefits and needs to be chosen accordingly. Special facial oils are recommended to be applied on the skin before the massage. The internet is flooded with tutorials on how to massage your skin correctly to reap maximum benefits. You are promised healthy, soothed skin at the end of the skincare ritual.
A Miracle Massaging Tool or A Marketing Gimmick?
The smart consumer in you must be wondering at this point whether Gua Sha in its modern form is just another marketing gimmick crafted by skincare giants. Here are the facts for you. A Gua Sha massage can, in fact, be beneficial for your skin in certain ways! The concept involves applying an oil or cream on your face and then massaging your skin in upward and outward motions. The benefits of this Gua Sha facial are three-fold.
Firstly, spending the few extra minutes massaging the oil into the skin allows the product to be absorbed by the pores to a greater extent. Secondly, the massage stimulates greater blood flow which will make your skin glow. Lastly, if you massage the right spots using the right strokes, it will lead to lymphatic drainage. Lymphatic drainage will help to depuff your face and will make it look more sculpted. Additionally, the coolness of the stone helps to soothe the skin. Overall, this facial will increase the efficacy of your oil, and will make your face look radiant and chiseled!
So does this facial truly help your skin?
Yes, it does! But do you need to invest in expensive crystals for maximum skincare benefits? Not necessarily. In essence, Gua Sha is not just a skincare technique, it is a holistic experience for the mind and body. This ritual is aimed at calming your mind and draining toxins from your body. Of course, you are not going to scrape your skin – that is best left to skilled practitioners. However, the whole ritual, spending a few minutes pampering your skin in a peaceful environment, will certainly be a soothing one.
The idea is to steal some moments from your busy schedule, get into a comfortable robe and pamper your skin. No one can deny that a nice facial massage feels good. Also, the lymphatic drainage and the increased blood circulation will make you feel lighter and more awake at the same time. Those who have been practicing this technique for a long time say that they feel like it lifts a weight from their shoulders. While there is little evidence pointing at the therapeutic benefits of the crystal itself, the perks of the experience as a whole are vouched for by many.
To Gua Sha or Not?
As long as you are gentle to your skin, I see no possible ill-effects of a Gua Sha facial. If you are curious about the technique then I will encourage you to go for it! Take your time and look at tutorials online to master the massaging technique. Also, do not invest in a very expensive Gua Sha stone, to begin with. Indulge in the experience first-hand and then decide whether you feel the need for an expensive and exquisite crystal.
To summarize, Gua Sha at its core is all about being one with your skin and healing it from within. It does seem to make sense given our modern lifestyles. Even if it was simply going to calm my skin and mind, I would have been sold. It comes with additional skincare benefits too, which makes it even more appealing! This is one skincare trend that is more than a fad, and is certainly worth a try in my opinion!