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Gua Sha Goes From Traditional to Trending – But Does it Really Work?

You’ve probably seen this unassuming beauty tool making big waves in the beauty scene and your Instagram feed, which has probably piqued your interest.

We’re talking about Gua Sha, a top-trending beauty technique that has got thousands of women and men scraping crystal rocks over their faces. It’s believed to bring many beauty and wellness benefits to the face, like depuffing, relieving tension, lymphatic draining, microcirculation, glow, and reducing acne, fine lines, and wrinkles.

This article explores Gua Sha and gives you everything you need to know about using it. 

Table of Contents

A Resurgence From an Ancient Tradition

No Sorcery, Just Stone

What Does Science Say?

Is it Safe For Everyone?

Keeping Your Gua Sha Glow Up for Long

A Resurgence From an Ancient Tradition

Gua Sha has its roots in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) and has been practiced from as early as the Ming Dynasty, around the 15th century. It translates to “scraping sha-bruises.” It is the practice of applying pressure on the skin to relieve tension and improve blood circulation. 

There are two types of Gua Sha: Gua Sha for the body and Gua Sha for the face. Body Gua Sha for muscle recovery is more intense and leaves red marks in its trail, so it’s best left to professionals. Facial Gua Sha, on the other hand, is gentler, and you can DIY it as part of your beauty routine. 

The philosophy is the same – it releases harmful elements from the body while stimulating blood flow and healing. 

No Sorcery, Just Stone 

The process is relatively straightforward. First, you run the angled, flat stone on your face upwards and outwards, starting from the center of your face. Since you hold it with your hand, you have complete control of the degree of pressure to apply and on which skin area. The key is to do it outward and upward and in one direction, not back and forth, and to apply a thin coat of face oil first to make the scraping motion easier. 

Professional practitioners recommend the following guide:

  1. Start at the upper area of your face. Place the Gua Sha stone on the middle of your forehead and gently scrape your skin surface with it going towards the temple and the hairline. Repeat gently three times on each side.
  2. Next, close your eyes and gently run the stone across your eye area and under the eye, moving outward to the temple and the hairline. Repeat three times in both directions. 
  3. For the cheeks, place the stone at a 45-degree angle on your laugh line. Sweep it outwards, going to the temple in a lifting motion. Repeat from 8 to 10 times on each side. 
  4. Lastly, place the Gua Sha in the middle of your chin and gently scrape in an outward motion toward the ear, running the stone on your jawline and then down to your neck. Do this repeatedly three times on each side. 

There are a variety of stones and shapes available in the market, but you’re free to choose which one works best for you based on your beauty and wellness goals. The most common ones are rose quartz, jade, amethyst, and black obsidian. 

To help you choose, here’s what age-old Chinese healing wisdom says about these stones. 

Rose Quartz

Rose quartz is associated with love, compassion, and emotional healing. As a Gua Sha stone, it is believed to help lift the skin, generate skin cell renewal, relieve jaw tension, reduce wrinkles, and eliminate negativity and toxins, giving the skin a positive, youthful glow and firmness.  


This semi-precious stone is known to provide balance and healing where there are disruptions and instability. It balances the yin and yang energies and relaxes the nervous system. It helps with lymphatic flow and reduces facial puffiness, redness, or paleness. 

Black Obsidian

This stone is believed to possess strong energies and has the power to clear out negative energies from the mind and body. Moreover, as a Gua Sha stone, it helps rejuvenate the skin and relieves anxiety and tiredness. 


Amethysts have a negative charge and are believed to help combat bacteria, so it’s ideal for acne-prone skin. It also helps tighten the pores and improves skin elasticity. In addition, it attracts positive energy while alleviating stress, allowing the skin to become more radiant.

These stones may have various healing powers according to ancient Chinese wisdom, but they all work with the same philosophy as far as the Gua Sha treatment is concerned. So you can pick one and enjoy the Gua Sha benefits they share. 

What Does Science Say?

Gua Sha is rooted in ancient East Asia, particularly Chinese traditional medicine but does it all make sense when modern science weighs in?

Traditional wellness and beauty tools – whether it’s Gua Sha or aromatherapy- are often met with some skepticism. But some studies say that Gua Sha does help with microcirculation and may even be a factor in relieving pain in myalgia.   

Another study suggests that Gua Sha may be an effective pain reduction therapy for chronic neck and lower back pain patients. 

According to Chinese tradition, Gua Sha stimulates facial meridians or energy channels across the body to eliminate toxins, relieve tension, and move blood flow freely. To some degree, science agrees based on various studies.

Is it Safe For Everyone?

Facial and body Gua Sha is generally safe and is not supposed to be painful. The Gua Sha stone’s smooth and curvy edge should not cause any irritation as long as you use it properly – long, gentle strokes with just enough pressure as you scrape it against your skin. 

However, you should avoid it if you are on anticoagulant medicines that prevent blood from clotting to avoid any risks. Other conditions not advised to have Gua Sha are those who bleed easily, have deep vein thrombosis, have unhealed wounds, and those with pacemakers or internal defibrillators. 

Because Gua Sha focuses on moving blood around inside your body for optimum health and beauty effects, it is best to check with your doctor first if it is safe enough for your condition. 

You can always opt for other beauty-enhancing treatments.

Keeping Your Gua Sha Glow Up for Long

Gua Sha has a lot of testimonies and studies backing it, as well as profoundly rooted wisdom from centuries ago. So it can be an effective tool if you’re aiming for that radiant, youthful look that lights up your face.

But suppose the Gua Sha treatment is unsuitable for you, or you want to maximize its long-term effects. In that case, you can complement it with botox injections and accelerate your wrinkle reduction journey. It’s the perfect complement or alternative to your Gua Sha practice to keep your face looking young and rejuvenated for an extended time. 

If you’re concerned about the cost, options are available if you need payment terms that work for your budget. 

If you’re in Canada, a quick search on ‘botox payment plans near me‘ will lead you to Beautifi, a cosmetic treatment and surgery funding company that gives clients access to beauty treatments like rhinoplasty, tummy tuck, breast augmentation, with flexible loan terms

You can combine ancient and modern beauty treatments to get the best glow-up you can have.