For those seeking a natural and painless technique to help reduce the appearance of wrinkles, soothe tired puffy eyes, calm tense face muscles, enhance circulation and encourage skin cell turnover, there's a relaxing facial massage method known as gua sha. It's been around for years and stimulates blood flow to help the face look more radiant. It's been dubbed 'Eastern Botox' and we're here to guide all newbies.
You can opt to have this massage at a spa or at home—where all you need is a facial massage tool, your choice of moisturizer and a few minutes. For the best results, we recommend finding a peaceful spot to do the massage after thorough cleansing of the face.
There are several ways to go about gua sha. Some recommend starting from the center of the face, others from the bottom of the face but we prefer working from the top down. The purpose of the massage is relaxation so go with what feels right. Adapt the massage to your liking and you'll be more likely to stick with it!
To begin, apply moisturizer generously to a clean face. We recommend a cold-pressed oil but any cream or moisturizer works. Start with the forehead, use smooth strokes away from the center and towards the temples. Strokes near the bridge of the nose should be in a downward sweeping motion.
Next, focus on the eye area. The skin around the eyes can be delicate so be gentle. Run the gua sha tool out from the inner corner of each eye to the corresponding temple. Spending time in this area can help with puffiness under the eyes, just be mindful of keeping moisturizer out of the eye and applying enough to keep your strokes smooth and gentle. (Avoid tugging on skin.)
Next, massage the cheek and nose area. In gentle sweeping motions, run the massage tool down the sides of the nose and towards the ears as you massage the cheeks. Once you reach the mouth, massage up and out from the center of your face towards your ears.
Finally, round off the massage with the chin and neck. Run the tool along the sides of the face from the chin towards the ears. Massage upward along the neck and out towards the shoulders near the base of the neck.
Voila! The face and neck will be thoroughly moisturized and you should begin to a change from regular massage after a few weeks.
Additional gua sha pointers:
- The tool should glide smoothly over the face. If this isn't the case, add more moisturizer as needed.
- Use varying degrees of pressure on different parts of the face. Feel free to spend extra or less time massaging different areas of your face.
- Daily practice is optimal but several times a week is plenty. Start with a few sessions a week and slowly work up to daily massage.
- Avoid directly massaging of broken skin, blemishes and other sensitive areas.
- Slight redness is common immediately after the massage and should dissipate within minutes.
- Clean your gua sha face massager after each session.
- Drink a glass of warm water after each session and get a full night's rest to boost the massage's effects.
What's your experience with facial gua sha? Do you have face massage tips?