Gua Sha 101: Benefits, Tools, and How To Do It

Gua Sha 101: Benefits, Tools, and How To Do It

You might’ve recently seen or heard beauty gurus using gua sha in their wellness routines. They seem to be everywhere, but what exactly is it, and should you hop on this trend? 

Gua sha is a traditional Chinese healing and beauty practice that uses a handheld, heart-shaped ergonomic tool to press over skin. Usually made of natural gemstones, crystal, or metal, it’s often used for facial or body massage. The reason for its popularity in beauty? Cosmetically, it will give the appearance of a sculpted face along with smoother skin, however, the benefits of gua sha are more than skin deep; they’re therapeutic.

Ancient Origins

A predecessor to acupuncture, its origins date back to the stone age and is based on traditional Chinese medicine known for healing purposes. Gua means to stroke or apply pressure, and sha refers to a flushed complexion. The cause of redness promotes circulation and the healthy flushing of everyday toxins.

According to traditional Chinese medicine, chi is the energy flowing through our body and must be kept flowing freely to maintain health. It’s believed that stagnant chi is a source of inflammation and the root of many common ailments.

Vigorously massaging the skin’s surface is thought to help break up this energy, invigorate blood flow, release everyday toxins, support lymphatic drainage, and promote an immune response, thus promoting one’s good health.  

Benefits of Gua Sha

In modern western medicine, it’s understood that our cardiovascular system relies on the heart to pump blood through our body; however, our lymphatic system relies on body movement to drain everyday toxins. Lymph fluid moves through arteries and tissues to cleanse them before draining through the lymphatic system.

So, it is believed using the gua sha technique on the face and body helps this process along. A light stroke of a gentle facial gua sha tool is all it takes to help flush the lymph fluid into your body’s drainage system. Slow lymphatic drainage can result in a dull complexion, a puffy face, and even occasional breakouts.

Woman using a Gua Sha tool

With consistent use of a gua sha tool, you may notice any of these benefits for your health, beauty, mind, and body.

♦ Stimulates blood circulation
♦ Supports the immune system 
♦ Minimizes the appearance of cellulite by promoting cell rejuvenation
♦ Promotes physical and mental relaxation
♦ Energizes the body
♦ Supports lymphatic drainage
♦ Reduces the appearance of puffiness and under-eye dark circles
♦ Softens the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines
♦ Helps promote natural collagen production
♦ Contours the jawline and cheekbones

Over time, gua sha will promote the appearance of a defined jawline and lifted cheekbones. Your face will begin to look naturally contoured and have a vibrant, youthful glow.

How To Choose a Gua Sha Tool

You can choose your gua sha tool by the variation in size and shape, some being generic and beginner-friendly and others more targeted for the specific intended use. When in doubt, find one that has varying contours and edges. You’ll have more options to fit the right curvature and angles of your face.

Some believe an additional benefit of using a gua sha tool is the inherent energetic properties of the stone or crystal it’s made of. Different stones have specific purposes and meanings and can help you decide the color and the intention. Some are meant to “clear chakras, cleanse energy, and unblock chi,” which is essentially all similar in concept.

Rose Quartz

This pink stone represents compassion, beauty, and love. It is best suited for smoothing out the appearance of fine lines and getting rid of negativity. Rose quartz can either be used warm or cool, and it can enhance active ingredients used in skincare.

Black Obsidian

This invigorating stone is symbolic of strength, as it is made from the most powerful elements of fire, water, and earth. It leaves the skin feeling rejuvenated and is commonly used for therapeutic body massage for those who need some muscle tissue repairing and strengthening.


This is a commonly used stone and brings balance and protection. It’s very cleansing and promotes lymphatic drainage.


Thanks to its negative charge, amethyst acts like a magnet to remove negativity and everyday stress. It helps promote relaxation, is cooling on the skin, and helps reduce the appearance of pores.

How to use a Gua Sha tool

How To Use a Gua Sha Tool

The key is correct technique and consistency! You may consider having it done professionally first to see the technique for yourself and experience it done properly. Here are the quick and easy basics for beginners:  

Always start with a clean utensil. Make sure to wash your gua sha tool with soap before or after every use and store it completely dry. 

Cleanse your face and neck, then apply any lightweight facial serum or moisturizer of your choice. We suggest Tru Alchemy’s dual-action, deeply nourishing Glow Serum that uses activated vitamin C to support natural cellular turnover and rejuvenating bakuchiol that’s easy on the skin yet ultra-potent. Your skin should be slick to prevent friction and allow the gua sha to glide over the surface of the skin without tugging. The gua sha tool is the perfect way to get those luxuriously rich ingredients deep into your skin. 

Firmly holding your tool, begin with the small divot in your gua sha and start scraping from the center of your chin outward along your jawline toward your ears. Repeat this a few times, and follow the same movement on the other side.

Take the flatter curve of your tool and scrape from the center under your cheekbones to sculpt and lift the cheeks. Do a couple of horizontal lines, always using fluid motions upward and outward.

Place your tool flat against your forehead in a way that the largest curve is just between the brows, and gently pull it up towards your hairline.

How Often Should You Gua Sha

For beginners, it is recommended to incorporate facial massage and drainage three times a week to get a routine going for yourself. Once you’re consistent, work your way up to daily practice for the best results.

You can choose to do it in the morning to reduce puffiness and use that time to center your mind before a busy day. Or try our favorite method, and use it at night during your skincare ritual to relax your facial muscles before bed.

Final Thoughts

Leave it to a centuries-old skincare secret to make us go from discerning skeptic to loyal enthusiast. The results speak for themselves and are both instant and cumulative over time. It’s a win-win anytime we practice an affordable DIY technique that improves our physical health, calms our minds, and gives us chiseled cheekbones and glowing skin. So perhaps this handy tool is the nudge you need to prioritize self-care with a simple new yet old health and beauty practice.