Recently, I learned about Gua Sha, and can’t get over how much it has helped my skin, pain levels, and overall appearance. If you are interested in learning what Gua Sha can do for you, as well as seeing how you can get the benefits in just under 5 minutes a day…this post is for you.
I have always experienced TMJ and facial pain, as well as migraine headaches, and chronic sinus congestion, but recently it’s really been bothering me more than ever. Also, I just feel like my face is constantly swollen and puffy! I was doing some research to see how I could use my Jade roller to help with this, when I discovered Gua Sha. It’s basically like a more intense version of the Jade roller, and I’m obsessed! The Gua Sha tool is also affordable, tiny, and light weight so you can keep it with you wherever you go! Most importantly, incorporating Gua Sha into your routine is quick, easy, and super effective! You can get the benefits in less than 2 minutes.
I decided to try Gua Sha out for facial massage, after reading that it could help contour my puffy face, reduce swelling, improve sinus congestion, relieve TMJ pain, help relieve tight neck muscles, and prevent migraines. After watching a few videos, I learned that I could even use it on my feet for my plantar fasciitis. Seriously this little tool does sooo much!
LET’S BREAK IT DOWN:
Gua Sha is an ancient technique used by many Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) practitioners, for a number of different health concerns. It works by moving stagnated blood and lymph, and increasing circulation to affected areas. One of its main uses is pain relief, but it has many other benefits, like I was just mentioning.
Practitioners lubricate the affected area and then use the edge of the tool with scraping like strokes. This breaks up stagnated blood and lymph to improve blood flow to the area and supports lymphatic drainage. It also helps to break up fascia, and knots or adhesions in the muscle, which is why it can be so great for tight muscles, and things like plantar fasciitis.
Facial Massage Technique:
If your main goal for this tool is to reduce swelling in the face, improve the tone and texture of your skin, and reduce and prevent the signs of aging, you’re in luck because this technique takes less than 1 minute. Increasing blood flow to the face helps boost natural hydration, improves elasticity, and makes your skin look plump and healthy with a glowy flush. It also helps your skin get rid of oil and grime that can clog your pores.
You want to move from the bottom of your neck, up to your forehead. After applying a facial oil or cream, start at the bottom of your neck and lightly stroke upwards. I use about 10 strokes for each region of the neck. Always stroke up! Then I move to my jaw line, and using the groove on the tool, I scrape from my chin outwards to the end of my jaw bone…again 10 times. Then I use the curved part of the tool for the middle of my cheek, and then move back to the groove when I get to my cheek bone. The groove fits perfectly on the cheek bone, and I find that it really helps give my cheek bones some more definition…I love it! Next it’s time for your under eye area! Use one of the smaller, more pointed areas and be very, very gentle. Stroke from your inner eye to the outer part of the eye. Obviously repeat on the other side so you’re nice and even. For your chin, nose and forehead, use whichever part of the tool that feels the best for you, and stroke upwards 10 times for each part.
SINUS CONGESTION AND PRESSURE:
I’m no expert, but after watching hours worth of videos, and studying the information that came with my tool, I found a quick routine that has worked wonders for me. As I’m doing the facial massage technique I mentioned above, I pay extra attention to the areas around my nose, and my cheeks, which are home to your maxillary sinuses. When you get to your forehead, concentrate right between your eyebrows. Then, start at the inner end of your eye brow and stroke at a 45 degree angle to the outer part of your forehead. This helps to drain the frontal sinus. If my description doesn’t make sense, you can refer to the picture below. There are also acupressure points on the scalp for sinus congestion. Start on the left side of your forehead and move in 2-3 in sections down the side of your head, down to the base of your neck. Repeat on the other side!
To help with stiff neck muscles, apply oil to the back of the neck and then scrape over any area that feels tight. Try to start at one end of the muscle and stroke in compete strokes to the other end. I start at the back of my neck, and move from the base of my head downwards. Then I use the dipped groove of the tool to cup the side of my neck. I also scrape out my traps. I then move to the from of my neck and focus on my SCM muscles. To help locate those muscles, turn your head to one side and take a quick, deep breathe in from you nose. They should pop out at you!
TENSION HEADACHES AND MIGRAINES:
Doing the basic facial massage technique alone, and then scraping out the knots in my neck has really helped to reduce my tension headaches, but these are some other specific points you can target.
Scrape upwards between your eye brows. Scrape over your temples from the inner part of your face, outwards. Then go over the headache points right in the middle of the scalp. I start at the top of my forehead, right in the middle and then scrape in 2-3 in sections all the way back to the base of my neck. You want to go straight down the middle, like you are splitting your scalp in half. Then go to the back of your head, right at the base of your head and start from one side and scrape up in 1-2 in strokes. Do this 10 times over each section until you have covered the whole rip of the neck.
I know this might be confusing to follow over text, so I’ll be posting a few short videos on my Instagram. Make sure to check it out in the next couple of days!
I hope this post makes you want to incorporate Gua sha in your daily routine. It’s also a great little self care practice, because I find it to be really relaxing!
// Dr. Nikka Kanani, ND
If you’re interested in learning more about Naturopathic Medicine and my services, see www.DrKananiND.com or email me at Contact@DrKananiND.com