Facial acupuncture was a fringe practice not so long ago. Eastern medicine-based skin treatment, including cupping on face, is gaining acceptance and acceptance as an all natural approach. It also has the benefit of thousands of years worth of experience, i.e., it really works. And facial gua sha is on the verge to becoming a mainstream practice in the U.S. The treatment, also known as “gwa sha”, involves scraping or pulling a rose quartz or flat jade along the skin to reduce stiffness and pain. Gua sha, another body treatment, is used to treat dryness, skin breakouts, and aging. Before you Google Image Search, be aware that body gua shas can leave bruising-like marks on the skin, but facial gua shas are done with a light hand using therapeutic oils and leaves no marks.
Why is 2021 the year of gua sha? Likely because it combines the current beauty trends of all-natural remedies, Eastern medicine, at-home, DIY treatments, and the crystal and precious stone craze. Sandra Lanshin Chiu, acupuncturist, is the owner of Treatment By Lanshin in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, says: “The net effect is a significant boost of blood and qi to the skin, and an increase in the circulatory flow of blood and fluids.” Studies have shown an increase in circulation from the technique and, says Chiu, better flow improves natural hydration, gives a glowy skin tone, and aids skin’s ability to purge the dirt, sebum, and general buildup in the pores that leads to acne. The secret to this technique is to start at the neck and work your way up to the forehead. Chiu explains that it’s similar to letting the funnel open at its lowest point so that what’s higher can drain down. “When you open circulation and loosen the tissues in the neck and jaw, then you can see the place where the excess fluids are going to drain to.” This results in less puffiness and prominent cheekbones. Many people have also noticed significant improvements in their chronic acne after receiving gua sha every week for 8-10 weeks. Relaxing the facial muscles can reduce headaches, neck pain and even prevent wrinkles. She suggests that you think of a rug pad as a thick, clumpy pile. Smoothening it will make the rug lay flatter, which improves circulation and skin function.
Gua sha gurus from other countries are also very faithful to the technique. “Gua sha quickly became my favorite facial tool,” says Laurel Shaffer founder of cult skin-care brand Laurel Whole Plant Organics based in Sausalito. “Muscle tension, inflexible fascia, and stagnant lymph are three primary causes for aging which clinical skin care products do not address.” Manhattan celebrity facialist Cecilia Wong, whose clients include Uma Thurman and Zac Posen, has used facial gua sha on her clients for years. “I love the best thing about gua sha, and that you get results immediately, and that’s something I can’t say about everything,” Wong says. She started using gua shia ten years ago.
After gua sha, my skin feels lifted and tightened. Gua sha has been something I have done for the past three months. It is so relaxing. It makes my cheeks and puffiness instantly go down, my jaw is less tight and my acne clears up much quicker. Gua sha has helped me to have less severe acne breakouts since I started it. Chiu suggests that daily home practice is the best way to get results. However, Chiu also says that it can be helpful to do this twice or three times per week. Clearly, I’m not the only one catching on: Gua sha tools are popping up on the Instagrams of holistic facialists from New York to L.A. and Shaffer has begun to train estheticians on the practice. She might even sell the tools herself. My jade tool was included in one of Chiu’s tutorial workshops. But, she recommends the one from Amazon with the most reviews for those who live outside New York City. Cecilia Wong also offers her rose quartz gua sha tools. Although a cheaper one may be less expensive than $5, experts suggest that those starting at $15 will usually have better quality.