After being in a socially-isolating pandemic for over a year, many of us are left feeling drained and mentally exhausted.
In an attempt to undo the pandemic’s nasty psychological effects, we’re doing as much as possible to take care of ourselves—setting boundaries while working from home, spending more time with family and pets, and using valuable free time to explore new hobbies—so that we don’tcompletely lose our marbles. We’re looking deeper into ourselves and finding the things that actually make us feel good, within reason and moderation. (Netflix and ice cream being the two exceptions, of course.)Gua Shamay be one of those things.
The examples mentioned above are all actionable things that relate to the concept of “self-care.” But what about the version of self-care we see on social media? You know, the one used superfluously in brand campaigns, listed as a benefit in product descriptions, and included as a consumer lifestyle aspiration? Frankly, it's amorphous and just vague enough to be applied to almost anything we do. And who doesn’t want to believe they’re combatting self-care simply by clicking on an influencer’s sponsored post for a jewelry brand? It’s easy and makes us feel like we’re doing something beneficial for our future selves.
As a result of this cultural phenomenon, we took a deep dive into the art of gua sha—a facial and body massage method with historical roots in China—and its potential for meaningful self-care.
A concept as important as self-care deserves deeper introspection and more meaningful action (on our parts, too): What does it mean to take care of yourself—body and mind? What is something we can do in our day to day lives that will make us feel better (andpossibly even look better)?
You may have seen or heard of the gua sha tool roaming around social media and even recommended to you by friends.
It’s a smooth, shiny scraper with rounded edges that, at first, looks like a shiny and oddly-shaped stone solely serving a decorative purpose. In actuality, it’s been around for centuries as a useful tool in caring for oneself. As the art of gua sha becomes more and more popular, it’s important to be mindful of its history, its cultural significance and how to properly use it as a tool for your body. This is so you also get the most out of it, too!
Absolutely. In short, the practice of gua sha was discovered in Ancient China as a type of full-body therapy and healing method. It follows the flow of meridians in the body, or the life force paths that make up qi energy. In Chinese philosophy, qi is present as the vital energy that exists in all living things. Over the years, it has been refined as practice in therapy, medicine and skincare. Today, it is widely utilized in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and has been praised by beauty practitioners around the world for its many body and mind benefits.
While gua sha has been praised for the noticeable improvement it can make on your skin, there are several other benefits to enjoy that go beyond the surface of your skin.
If you struggle with carrying lots of tension in your face and neck, gua sha might be the perfect solution to help alleviate this physical manifestation of stress. By applying deep pressure to targeted areas where you hold a lot of tension - like your jaw and forehead - you release built-up muscular tension and allow your face to relax. Like a jade roller, it’s a calming yoga practice for your face.
The manual movements of applied pressure also stimulate the lymphatic system, which contains a liquid that carries proteins, salts, and other substances throughout the body. It’s basically a way to keep the “motion of the ocean” going so that there aren’t any build ups or blockages in any one area. The result is a less puffy face, as the liquid moves out of the face and neck.
Okay, maybe the glow-up potential is real here. When you start clearing the skin of toxins, you’re attacking things like blackheads and breakouts. Additionally, it stimulates blood flow and oxygen to the skin which could mean good news for getting rid of fine lines, decreasing hyperpigmentation, and improving skin elasticity.
Beyond some of the incredible physical benefits of this ancient practice, there is a deeper advantage you can get from this: a mind detox. It’s common to feel more energized, concentrated, and “renewed” after performing gua sha on yourself or getting a gua sha facial. You’re doing something good for yourself and your brain knows it.
To get the most out of your gua sha scraper, you should know how to properly use it. Follow our step-by-step instructions for a satisfying facial, neck and shoulder massage.
Self-care means something different to everyone–and in such a tense period, trying something new can be an exciting stress-reliever. We think gua sha massages are worth giving a chance, especially given the great results people have had with it. You may find yourself less tense, with a clearer and glowing complexion, and even feeling more awake. Try it out!
Summer is just around the corner, which means a few things: amazing weather, extra hours of sunlight, and the need for a major skincare routine switch-up. That’s right—a change in wardrobe isn’t the only thing that’s in order before summer starts. Your skin’s needs also shift depending on the season, and knowing how to properly accommodate and implement these key changes is up to you.