Updated: Mar 22
From acupuncture to cupping, traditional Chinese medicine has brought us many alternative therapies we still love today. One of our absolute favorites? Gua Sha, or “scraping.” It brings fresh blood to the surface with an easy-to-follow technique that utilizes semi-precious stones, such as Bian stone, jade or rose-quartz.
Gua Sha in Facialist Emilie Celine's hands – Photo courtesy of Maison Ito Zürich
While traditional Gua Sha performed on the body can cause minor bruising (which encourages the skin to heal itself), facial Gua Sha strokes are slow and gentle. This makes it a comforting self-care ritual anyone with a few spare minutes can tackle. Join us as we break down the 5 reasons to love this ancient ritual, ranging from its depuffing to contouring effects.
Top 5 Benefits of Facial Gua Sha
#1 | Improve Circulation
“The goal [of Gua Sha] is to activate the lymph and stimulate the blood circulation,” Emilie Celine, Facialist and Gua Sha expert said in a recent interview with Mums in Heels. This is called lymphatic drainage—when all the excess water, metabolic waste, and environmental pollution gets flushed from your system. The result? It reduces puffiness and brings back a healthy glow to your skin.
#2 | Banish Sagginess
As we age and begin to lose collagen, our skin begins to sag, especially around our neck. Focusing the Gua Sha technique in the neck area delivers immediately visible lifting results. To boot, Emilie Celine adds that “starting Gua Sha routine here quickly allows nutrients to rise up to the face.”
#3 | Contour the Face
The Gua Sha Ritual - Photo courtesy of Maison Ito Zürich
When you examine a Gua Sha stone, you’ll see it has various shapes and curves. These allow you to gently scrape the tool across the contours of your face in chiseled areas like the cheeks and jawline. This will help bring forth a youthful shape to your profile in an instant.
#4 | Release Tension
Stress can manifest itself around the jaw and temple, sometimes even causing unnecessary headaches. If you spend a few extra minutes using Gua Sha along the jawline, you’ll feel the tension melt away with each stroke.
#5 | Smooth Texture
Did you know you could feel knots on your face just as you would while getting bodywork done? The good news: the sweeping movement in Gua Sha helps break up fascia—the connective tissue that hugs muscles and tenses up. You’ll notice your skin is smoother after just one session.
Jade Roller versus Gua Sha
Both tools are wonderful additions to any self-care skin routine. However, there are a few key differences. Modern Gua Sha tools are fashioned from materials thought to support healing such as quartz stone, nephrite jade and the silky-smooth Bian stone. They are designed to contour different areas of the face and neck using a flat surface to achieve greater pressure.
A roller, on the other hand, can only glide across the surface area. Although, they are typically made with jade which has a lovely calming, depuffing effect on the skin. “Rolling is comparable to a stretching session after the initial work out,” says Emilie Celine. “But a Gua Sha tool is stimulating and is what brings us these lovely health benefits.”
Bian stone tools - Photo courtesy of Maison Ito Zürich
Get Started with Gua Sha
Performing Gua Sha can be done alongside your moisturizing routine so that the tool can easily glide across the skin. All you need to do is apply light pressure with the flat surface of your tool, following a Gua Sha beginner tutorial.
For those days where you feel like getting pampered, you can let Maison Ito handle the ritual for you. You may want to try our Signature Face Massage and add The Ritual Gua Sha. This treatment offers a fusion of the traditional Chinese technique with modern skin care practices of facialist Emile Celine. You’ll see the best results with a series of 6-7 sessions combined with at-home use.
BY KALEENA STROUD & EMILIE CELINE
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