The Beauty Trend: The Gua Sha

Brought to you by: Ellidh Aitken


Self-care has been more important than ever over the past year. Not only to aid relaxation in times of distress, but also because beauty services have been largely inaccessible. During the pandemic, people have also had more opportunities to spend time on natural beauty remedies, resulting in unique tips and tricks going viral online every few months.

One current trend is the Gua Sha, a stone facial massage tool with roots in Chinese medicine. The Gua Sha is used to reduce inflammation and relax muscles. Online influencers are using Gua Sha facial massage techniques to release tension and increase blood flow, giving the skin a lifted and healthier appearance. The tool can also be used to encourage lymphatic drainage, effectively debloating the face.


However, the tool can traditionally be used all over your body to de-stress and treat muscle pain. This all goes back to the Chinese belief of qi energy which flows through the body freely to ensure good health. According to Chinese medicine, it is when this energy gets caught up that we experience chronic pain. Rubbing the skin and breaking up the energy promotes healing within the body, relieving us of discomfort.

When used on the body, the Gua Sha allows the practitioner to apply more pressure than their hands alone would allow. This can result in redness and bruising, though the results are impressive.

In 2014 a study found that Gua Sha therapy can reduce pain and improve motion in the face and neck. The study found that this was especially true for those with pain associated with myofascial trigger points, a problem which is commonly found in people who use computers regularly.


At home it is best to stick with the simpler and less aggressive form of using the Gua Sha for facial massage. It has been noted by physicians that when using the tool you should be cautious and careful, to ensure you do not damage your face and neck. This is the technique which has gone viral online and is prompting online sales of the tool to surge.

When buying a Gua Sha it is important to remember where the technique comes from, and who should be benefitting from its popularity. Despite some bigger brands releasing their own version of the tool, it is worthwhile doing some research on where to buy a Gua Sha. You can find small businesses selling Gua Sha on Etsy. They are often far cheaper than those sold by larger companies. You can also go further and find a Chinese owned business to purchase from.

To learn how to master the Gua Sha, you should turn to Chinese or East Asian practitioners and experts. TikTok is a great tool for this, there are even specific accounts which have been created to teach people how to use a Gua Sha safely and effectively. @222demi , @iamlaurachung , @laurel_acupuncture and @lanshin_skin all provide excellent tutorials and tips on how to get the most out of the Gua Sha.


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