I broke up with botox. It was like the boyfriend that you want to believe isn’t really that bad for you… but he actually is. I realized I could do better, and feel better about myself, and I said bye bye botox… and hello gua sha.
Like many women, I decided that I wanted to try botox. Let me start by saying I liked the way my face looked with botox. I felt like I looked more awake and the under eye puffiness was gone, too. But, every time I did it I was nervous. I was nervous about the side effects, I wasn’t entirely sure what they were injecting in my face and I definitely didn’t want it to be noticeable that I was getting it.
I wanted to look like me… just more awake. (hello motherhood) And I did. But I never felt 100% at peace about it.
Here I was cleaning up my diet, our environment, beauty products, etc… and I was injecting a neurotoxin in my face. After 3 or 4 botox appointments I said, no more. I stopped before I got addicted or I had an adverse reaction.
I looked for a safer, more holistic alternative and discovered Gua Sha.
What is Gua Sha?
Gua Sha is rooted in Traditional Chinese Medicine and translates as scraping. Gua means scraping and Sha means redness, which appears as toxins or the release of stagnant blood. “Scraping” or applying pressure to the skin increases circulation, and brings more oxygen and blood flow to the region. Gua She releases stuck toxins and impurities allowing them to enter the bloodstream and be released through they lymphatic system. Muscle tension is also released and alleviated through the process.
How to use a Gua Sha?
- Prep your skin by washing your face and doing your usual skin care routine. You want to make sure you have on a cream and/or a serum to help it move more freely on your face.
- Use gentle and light pressure. You can use more medium to firm pressure where you carry more tension such as your shoulders, neck and jaw.
- Use a 15 degree angle and support skin with opposite handing. Anchoring one side of your face while you pull the stone away.
- Start with your neck and repeat each step 3-5 times (up to 10 if you have time). Wiggle the stone slightly at the end of each step.
- I have provided a video here to show you the basics of how to use your Gua Sha stone.
How often should you do Gua Sha?
When I first started incorporating Gua Sha into my nightly routine I didn’t think there was any way I could do it every night because it took me a while to learn how to do it in a manageable amount of time. In the beginning I’d recommend starting with 2-3 nights per week. If you find your skin and your schedule can tolerate it, you can add more.
Keep in mind that one of the many benefits of Gua Sha is the time to connect with your body and practice self care. If you are feeling stressed about taking the time to do it, pass and wait until you can enjoy it and reap the relaxing benefits of the practice.
What are the benefits of Gua Sha?
- Promotes lymphatic drainage
- Decreases discoloration from sun damage and acne scars
- Detox and de-puffs (works great for under eyes!)
- Clears blockages and buildup of toxins and excess fluid
- Gently calms the nervous systems and helps you to feel less stressed
- Restores mobility and tissue elasticity
- Relaxes muscle tension and tightness
- Softens wrinkles on the skin
- Increases circulation and collagen production
- You’ll glow from the inside out!
If you have a rash, sunburn or blood coagulation issues I would advise you to not do Gua Sha.
Where do I buy a Gua Sha stone?
I have two Gua Sha stones and I bought them both from Primally Pure. I love them each for different reasons but they are both great quality and work very well for me.
Jade Gua Sha Stone: this stone is naturally cooling and calming and great for beginners. It’s has a longer edge that works great for bigger areas and like neck and face. It’s great for traveling as well because it’s a bit more compact and lighter weight.
Bian Gua Sha Stone: this stone has 30+ trace minerals, infrared rays and negative ions. It has more sides to allow different strokes to relieve tension. It is more substantial and I’ve even used this on my legs as well and it works great. This is my favorite… it feels so good.
Where can I learn more about Gua Sha?
I’m going to warn you that you can go down quite a rabbit hole learning how to do this! I have found some amazing people on Instagram that are helping me understand how to incorporate this into my life, and the importance of it. Jess from Beauty Roams is one of my favorites because she shares a lot about how Gua Sha helps her and her mother.
Primally Pure has a great blog post you can read here, too.
I hope you’ll give Gua Sha a try, and if you do… please come back and let me know how it’s going! P.S. Take pictures!!!