Gua sha, aka Karokan, is a traditional Chinese medicine practice in which a shaped stone is used to scrape the skin to form a lite petechiae. Practitioners believe gua sha releases unhealthy elements from injured areas and stimulates blood flow and healing. Now, before you start thinking this is purely metaphysical (which I don't have a problem with because it's just unexplained science in my way of thinking) there is scientific basis behind this...so let's demystify Gua Sha and see how it can benefit you.
Facial gua sha utilizes a lubricating oil that nourishes and is absorbed quickly into the skin while providing the glide needed to not create dragging and tearing. Remember from our past chats that skin is thin and facial skin is thinner than body skin. To keep it in tip top shape we want to nourish and protect - aka, get those oils with their fatty acid components in and remove toxins by sending them out of the body through the lymphatic system. This is why I love gua sha.
So what does rubbing a stone over your face actually do and why should you care? Well probably most importantly it improves circulation. Getting blood moving and engaging the lymphatic system delivers nutrients to the skin and removes waste from the skin. Unlike the circulatory system, the lymphatic system has no pump. This is why giving your lymphatic system a boost to rid yourself of fluid retention and to give movement to toxin removal is a good thing. And I want you to do it properly so that you reap these benefits.
When you are practicing gua sha on your face you will keep the movements light. We are not after bruising! We are after movement of interstitial fluid. A little pinkness is normal, but if you are getting petichia you are scraping too hard. Lighten your hand next time. Light pressure is best. Some practitioners say to keep your gua sha in the fridge and use them cold. No. That is a great practice for rollers, and we'll explore them in another blog, but for gua sha you want to use stones that are warmer. You can carry it in your pocket or run it under warm water before you start. A warm stone will increase blood flow and get the lymphatic system moving.
You'll want to gua sha with a cleansed and toned face. Apply a quarter sized pool of Stone Massage Facial Oil to your entire face and neck.
Using the diagram sweep each area a minimum of three times. You will drag the stone rather than push it. Pushing can cause microtears in the skin tissue. Remember to warm your stone and rub it between your palms after you've oiled your face. This will help lubricate the stone as well. I start with the front of my neck, move to chin, cheeks, forehead, and finish with the sides of my neck. This way everything is being moved up, to the sides, and then channeled down to the lymph nodes in the neck. If your gua sha tool begins to drag then apply more oil. Use the stone at a nearly flat angle to encourage fluid movement and prevent bruising. Experiment with which contours of the stone fit the contours of your face - there's no wrong way to match contours so don't be hesitant to turn your stone to a different position.
Black Onyx grounds your body, mind, and soul. It encourages mental and emotional healing, and as it has great grounding energy is like a tonic for the nerves.