Do You Gua Sha?

by Rona Berg

Gua Sha is everywhere. Those lovely slices of rose quartz and jade, the tools for Gua Sha facials and massage, are not only beautiful, they are also highly therapeutic.

Aside from the many benefits of the Gua Sha technique, the crystals themselves are said to impart energy and help open up the heart chakra, which may explain why Gua Sha-goers feel so peaceful and cosseted after a treatment.

Gua Sha is an ancient Chinese healing technique that relies on a crystal or gemstone tool to release stagnant energy (“chi”) on the face or body when it is drawn along the skin, in short and long strokes. Stagnant chi is considered responsible for what Westerners call inflammation, said to be the underlying cause of many skin conditions, as well as a range of others from perimenopause to chronic pain. Gua Sha also stimulates the circulation, which increases blood flow around the body.

Valerie Grandury, founder of Odacité, discovered Gua Sha when she launched her natural skincare line in Hong Kong two years ago. After experiencing Gua Sha face and body treatments, “I had to adopt it,” she says. “It was incredible.

“What you’re doing with Gua Sha is stimulating the fascia of the muscle, which is rich in collagen, and the Gua Sha stimulates the collagen,” she says. “You’re also pushing the lymph, and stimulating the skin, bringing oxygen to the surface for a glow.” Odacité features a range of Gua Sha stones that can be used for a facial massage at home. Grandury suggests blue sodalite to harmonize the skin, green aventurine for good luck, rose quartz for love and jade for tranquility. Odacité has plans to open a Gua Sha bar at Le Bon Marche, in Grandury’s native Paris.

At the new Miraval Life in Balance Spa in Austin, the Jade Meridien body treatment offers a gentle twist on traditional Gua Sha. According to Simon Marxer, director of spa and well-being at Miraval, “The Jade Meridien treatment incorporates techniques taken from traditional Gua Sha and Eastern medicine to restore flow to the chi. Jade stones are moved over the meridians to flush the lymph system and stimulate blood flow for a healthier, more radiant, appearance.”

And the Gua Sha Contouring Stone Facial at the Great Jones Spa in NYC has been a huge hit, according to General Manager Karen Terranova. “When we start using the tools on the client it immediately calms down the most stressed-out New Yorker,” she says. “We use a very slow rhythmic movement which puts the client in a deep state of relaxation. Besides being relaxing, the Gua Sha facial clears stagnant lymph fluid, which helps to reduce puffiness and inflammation on the skin. It also improves skin tone, fine lines and wrinkles and hyperpigmentation. We use rose quartz, jade and basalt stones in this treatment.”

And if you can’t make it to the spa for a treatment? It’s easy to pick up a Gua Sha tool and enjoy the benefits at home.

How to Gua Sha 

According to Grandury, a self-guided Gua Sha treatment is super intuitive. “The key is to have a good oil or serum,” she says, “because you want to glide and not pull.” (The Odacité All-Embracing Serum features watermelon seed oil, organic apricot oil, calendula, hibiscus, oats, immortelle and amethyst.) Here’s how.

1. Use the wide V edge, starting from the center of the chin, and gently stroke upward, against gravity. Follow along the jaw and go down on the neck to move the lymphatic system.

2. Use the straight edge against each cheek, stroking upward, a minimum of five times.

3. Use the pointed side under the eye, from the center to the outer hairline.

4. Finish with the straight edge from the brows up the forehead to the hairline.

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