Facial Gua Sha is a facial massage technique using a special tool, and it is a best kept secret of the ancient Chinese aristocracy that literally erases lines before your eyes. Today I'm going to instruct you in how to perform the two most basic strokes to erase the "11's" between the eyebrows, review the basics of what it is and why it works (note that the video above shows a little more than just the forehead, but the instructions here are just for that most critical part).
It is best done by an experienced provider with specialized gua sha tools, but the most basic strokes can be done at home using simple tools and can still yield impressive results.
How To Erase Forehead Furrows, a.k.a. "11's"
The whole face, neck and decollette area can be treated by and improved with Facial Gua Sha and when performed by a professional you not only get the Botox-like effect of decreasing muscle contractions and smoothing the face, but also improvements in overall circulation, Qi flow, lifting and sagging.
At home, however, you can easily learn the basic strokes to work against what is usually our most prominent muscle contraction - the dreaded "11's" or forehead furrows. These lines are actually due to muscle breakdown related to repeated contraction and gua sha is a perfect tool to counter and reverse this action.
Here are the basics you need to perform this DIY Facial Gua Sha technique:
Now that you're armed and ready, here's the How To:
This process should only take a few minutes and it is an ideal routine to add in to a nightly cleanse & moisturize ritual. Since you're more likely to be "taking off the day" and cleansing the face at this time, and using a heavier more nourishing moisturizer, you should be all set to go only needing to add a Gua Sha Tool and few extra minutes to your routine!
You should also be able to feel an immediate change in the depth of these lines after treatment. You may not be able to see it right away, but you should feel it and with repeat application you will see it too! If you don't feel an immediate change don't be discouraged - it takes some practice to get it right.
What is Facial Gua Sha?
Gua sha is typically translated as "scraping" and, like its sister technique cupping, is a traditional Chinese Medicine myofascial release technique that is most commonly used to treat pain though it also has application for relieving colds and flus.
There isn't any actual scratching or breaking of the skin involved, but a smooth tool is used to quickly and deeply massage different parts of the body - usually the back - and, when done both deeply and correctly, the result is impressive and swift pain relief accompanied by red to purple marks under the skin much like cupping. These marks are temporary and fade quickly.
This is not the only way to perform Gua Sha, however, though it is the most common. Facial Gua Sha involves the same tools and deep resculpting massage in the face but uses a slow and methodical application that does NOT result in any facial marking. Only deep facial muscle relaxation. In fact, many of my patients fall asleep during Facial Gua Sha sessions!
What is a Gua Sha Tool? What Kind of Gua Sha Tool is used for Facial Gua Sha?
A Gua Sha tool is a specialized smooth tool that is traditionally made of jade or horn, but can also be made of plastic or ceramic. They come in an array of sizes and shapes. The simplest gua sha tool is actually a ceramic Chinese soup spoon - it fits well in the hand, has both wide and narrow ends and is easy to find!
In facial gua sha, tools of jade and horn are preferred. Jade tools are especially smooth, cool and have special energetic properties which make them more energetically conductive. Horn is more "neutral" but also natural and can be shaped to any size or smoothness for use.
At home, however, a simple Chinese ceramic soup spoon is an excellent and inexpensive choice!
What Does Facial Gua Sha Do?
Facial Gua Sha helps lift, firm, tighten and reshape the face. It can:
How Does Facial Gua Sha Work?
Facial Gua Sha can actually be likened to a natural DIY Botox treatment. By deeply massaging the face, we can relax muscle contractions and effect a smoother complexion. This results in deep lines lessening and fine lines sometimes disappearing altogether given time and attention.
Facial Gua Sha also improves circulation which means that anything you put on the face is better absorbed by the skin. Lotions, creams and masques all have a stronger effect when combined with Facial Gua Sha treatment.
Energetically, Facial Gua Sha strengthens the energetic channels and improves Qi flow in the face. One of the primary channels represented on the face is actually the Stomach channel and this channel is responsible for muscle strength and tone and for lifting and holding - which, for the face, translates to lifting and sagging. By strengthening this channel line specifically, we can slow the hands of time (and gravity!).
Facial Gua Sha - At Home DIY Botox
My favorite part of Facial Gua Sha and especially the combination of Facial Gua Sha and Facial Rejuvenation Acupuncture is the fact that you can get a natural botox-like effect with repeat use. It is totally natural and can help you both look and feel your best over time. Since we can't divorce the face from the rest of the body in Chinese Medicine, even a facial treatment can still strengthen and treat the body. Due to the specific channels represented in the face, facial treatments usually have the strongest effects on digestion and anti-aging.
Thank you for tuning in! Please don't hesitate to contact me online anytime and if you have questions put them in the comments and I'll answer as best I can.
Until next time, Yours in Health,
Rebecca M H Kitzerow is a Licensed Acupuncturist practicing in La Center, Washington. With over a decade of experience she has won 10 Nattie consumer choice awards from Natural Awakenings Magazine since 2014.