A gua sha treatment would be incomplete without the gua sha stone, and picking out a specific shape and material matters a lot and can affect the results you want to achieve. Today we’ll be briefing you on how the gua sha tool’s material and shape work, and we’ll also help you pick from three of the best scraping tools available on the market.
How Does Gua Sha Work?
Gua sha is a healing method used in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). It’s mainly used to relieve blood stagnation which blocks the body’s qi (pronounced as “chee”) or energy, and promotes better blood circulation, making it a popular treatment for chronic bodily pains. In recent years, gua sha has also been used to improve the skin, particularly on the face.
Traditionally, this therapy involves a trained professional using a smooth-edged scraping tool to rub the skin in long, downward strokes (but you can also do this on your own). Afterward, some small, red, speckled dots appear under the skin called “petechiae” once you’ve done the treatment, but these shouldn’t be a cause of worry.
The treatment offers important health benefits, which include:
- Detoxifies the body – With the surrounding muscles relaxed, toxins are drawn out from deep within the muscles and body, allowing the body to flush them out.
- Prevents breast engorgement – This condition affects many breastfeeding mothers. One study discovered that women who had gua sha on them experienced less engorgement and discomfort.
- Promotes hair growth – Since the gua sha promotes blood circulation all over the body, the blood flow to the scalp will be better, supporting healthy hair growth.
- Reduces perimenopausal symptoms – A study on perimenopausal women found that having frequent gua sha sessions had significantly reduced symptoms such as insomnia, anxiety, fatigue, headaches, and hot flashes.
- Relaxes tight muscles – Gua sha is particularly beneficial for musculoskeletal problems, especially major ones like tightness in the shoulders, legs, and back. It can also help relieve tension, headaches, neck pain, or bodily swelling.
For the skin, it yields the following results:
- Lighter skin complexion
- Decreased inflammation
- Less puffiness
- Blotted out dark circles
- Increased collagen production
- Sculpted facial muscles
- Zero fine lines and wrinkles
- Improved blood circulation
- Firm tightened skin
Take a look at our Gua Sha Facial Chart for instructions as to how each movement needs to be performed.
Picking The Best Material
Choosing the right material for your gua sha scraping tool depends on what you want to achieve. The scraping tool is made out of a mineral, crystal, or a specific gemstone, and each material has distinct benefits to boot:
- Amethyst – Amethyst can help balance inflamed complexions and soothe breakouts. It can also oxygenate the skin and improve blood circulation, which can improve one’s sleep quality, which would result in an even healthier complexion.
- Aventurine – Known for its anti-inflammatory properties, aventurine is ideal for those with skin problems like acne, eczema, or rosacea, and it can also flush out blemish-causing toxins. This quartz can calm an irritated and restless mind and is said to attract good luck.
- Bian stone – Bian stone is considered the most authentic material used for gua sha and has been historically used in TCM. Since it’s heavier than other stones, it penetrates deeper into the skin, dredging the body’s channels, improving blood circulation, and purifying the blood and vessels. It also eliminates heat and removes unnecessary fats.
- Black Obsidian – is linked with the root chakra and is great for grounding your energies. It effectively draws toxins and impurities from the skin, softens it, tightens pores, and prevents further breakouts.
- Green jade – Another traditional option for gua sha tools, the green jade is used for contouring, lifting, and relaxing any tight muscles. This material works best to help dispel negative energy and create a more positive atmosphere.
- Opal – More than just a birthstone, opal can activate the body’s self-healing abilities. It can relieve soft tissue fibrosis and chronic inflammation, give a more “contoured” look to the face, and give you a more radiant appearance.
- Rose quartz – Using rose quartz is beneficial for acne-prone skin, removing fine lines and wrinkles and relieving eczema. It can also help with lymphatic drainage, reducing puffiness, and soothing the skin.
- Sodalite – Sodalite is best known for its harmonizing properties, which help relax overly-tight muscles and balance out uneven skin complexion. This material likewise helps improve one’s logic, intuition, mental clarity, and emotional balance.
- White jade – White jade helps the body in promoting its self-healing abilities. It can greatly reduce the appearance of puffiness and bags under the eyes, stimulate cell growth, balance skin tone, and improve the skin’s elasticity.
While not a quartz/stone per se, stainless steel gua sha tools are also quite popular. It works best for getting rid of puffy eyes and dark circles, as well as de-bloating the face. Additionally, stainless steel retains coldness longer, is cleaner, and is more sustainable than alternatives.
The Shapes Matter
Gua sha scraping tools come in various shapes, curves, dents, or edges, depending on the body part you want to use them on. Gua sha experts say that the tool’s shape is much more important than the material since the shapes carry out important functions. For example, the smaller shapes are for smaller areas like the eyes and mouth, while bigger shapes target broader areas like the cheeks, forehead, and other body parts.
If you’re new to the gua sha treatment, we recommend settling for a lighter, simpler-looking tool. Advanced techniques would require a heavier, complex-shaped gua sha stone.
The following are the more commonly sought out shapes:
- S-shaped gua sha – used mostly for the neck, shoulders, back, hands, and feet. Great for relieving sinus congestion and improving blood circulation.
- Fin-shaped gua sha – ideal for soothing pain on the shoulders, chest, arms, hands, and legs.
- Dolphin-shaped gua sha – This one is often used to target deep tissues, decrease facial wrinkles, and promote detoxification. It also relieves fatigue, refreshes the mind, and improves insomnia.
- Claw-shaped gua sha – used on the back, chest, wrists, abdomen, arms, legs, feet, and shoulders at the arch back.
- Butterfly-shaped gua sha – targets the face, legs, eyes, and back. This particular shape gua sha fits perfectly on all facial contours to create a deeply relaxing massage.
- Heart-shaped gua sha – helps ease tension, stress, and anxiety, promoting feelings of well-being. It improves circulation and skin tone, reduces puffiness, and smooths the look of fine lines and wrinkles.
- Wave-shaped gua sha – best for use in areas of the face that are more difficult to maneuver, like the brow bone and the areas below the eyes.
Combing your hair with a gua sha comb can also do wonders for the hair. It massages the scalp and provides an overall relaxing sensation in the head. It improves blood flow to the hair roots, which can facilitate further hair growth.
To help you get started with your gua sha journey, check these gua sha tools out.
Best Gua Sha Stones
SACHEU Beauty’s Stainless Steel Gua Sha tool offers a more sustainable, convenient, and cleaner way to enjoy the therapy and the benefits it yields. So how does it fare better than traditional materials?
Stainless steel is anti-bacterial and non-porous, which prevents bacteria build-up that can transfer to your skin. Materials like jade and rose quartz, both porous, can harbor bacteria if not cleaned properly. The material is more durable, break-resistant, long-lasting, and naturally cold to the touch, so you don’t need to put it in the freezer.
The steel’s cooling effect helps reduce puffiness, inflammation, fine lines, and wrinkles. It also drains lymph fluids from the face to enhance your natural contour and help release tension in the facial muscles, which helps prevent the development of new wrinkles.
- Made of quality stainless steel
- Made of 100% recyclable materials
- 100% safe and secure checkout
- Fast worldwide shipping
- Quick and easy returns
- A bit thick and heavy to the touch
How To Use
Start from the center of your face and scrape outwards in a scraping motion. Use the small divot on the nose bridge, between brows, jawline, and larger edges on cheeks and forehead.
Use it three times a week. Don’t forget to apply oil/serum with a lot of slip before proceeding with the treatment.
Empress Stone by Wilding proves that you can never go wrong with a classic like Bian stone, an amalgam of 40+ assorted minerals containing various healing properties. Each edge of the tool is specially designed to lift, sculpt, tone, and de-puff the skin with optimal results.
For example, the U-shaped edge hugs the angles of the jaw, cheekbones, brow bone, and the back of the neck over the spine, the pointed edge relieves tension, and the long edge does long strokes on the side and front of the neck, and underneath the cheekbones. The material also emits measurable ultrasound pulsation and negative ions that bring important antioxidant and anti-aging benefits.
The end results show a much clearer skin with minimized pores, a brighter complexion, lessened fine lines, and noticeably toned facial muscles. The tool is best used with Empress Tonic and Empress Oil.
- Made with 100% Bian stone
- Fair Trade
- For each purchase, Wildling plants trees in deforested areas around the world.
- Price is considerably high
- Shipping may take a while to arrive
How To Use
Hydrate with Empress Tonic and apply Empress Oil before starting the treatment. Use the edges on parts of the body you want to target.
Long-lasting results are best maintained with consistent usage. Use once daily up to 2 to 3 times a week.
Primally Pure’s Gua Sha Stone is made of sustainably sourced serpentine jade, a classic gua sha tool material that helps you achieve that noticeable glowing complexion by sculpting facial muscles, relieving the tension, flushing out toxins, depuffing the eyes, softening fine lines, and reducing wrinkles.
The stone also helps the body perform reparative functions effectively by facilitating lymphatic drainage, relieving muscle tension and tightness, clearing congestion, calming the nervous system, and increasing the flow of blood, oxygen, and vital nutrients to the skin.
- Made in the USA
- Uses naturally sourced serpentine jade
- No artificial ingredients
- Reasonably priced
- 100% money-back guaranteed
- Tends to break easily
- May take a while to take effect
How To Use
Apply your desired serum/facial oil product to freshly cleansed skin to provide proper slip and absorption.
Always use light pressure. You can incorporate more medium/firm pressure on specific areas where you carry more tension to relieve stagnation. Use a 15-degree angle (about a finger’s width between the skin + stone) and support the skin with the opposite hand. Wiggle the stone slightly at the end of each step to stimulate flow and release tension.
Clean the stone with soap and water or with a sanitizer after use.
Gua sha treatments are generally considered safe and painless, though they can still cause minor side effects like the appearance of petechiae, which can end up in minor skin bruising or bleeding, though these usually clear up within a couple of days. Others also experienced a temporary indentation on their skin after a session.
Not hydrating or lubricating the face before a session can hurt a bit. Improper sanitization of gua sha tools can also spread bacteria, so it’s important to always clean them thoroughly.
Picking the material and shape of your gua sha tool is very important, especially if you’re aiming to correct a particular flaw on your skin. The best combination can yield the results you want and even offer more. If you’re still not yet fully sure which combination works best for you, ask a gua sha technician for advice on your options.
Following a healthy regimen along with consistent gua sha treatments can help bring about better, long-lasting results that transform the skin and help create a semblance of overall wellness.