I have to admit there have been more crests than troughs in the world of skincare. While a part of me embraces new technology that promises high results in no time, there is something so appealing about going back to ancient traditions. When it comes to beauty tools, there’s a square-shaped crystal tool doing the rounds: Gua Sha. Not as easy as running a blade on your skin, this ancient Chinese technique is all about chi known as prana in Ayurveda. I spoke to two experts, Dr. Nirupama Parwanda, a cosmetic dermatologist and Dr. Taruna Yadav, Senior Ayurveda Doctor at Forest Essentials, to figure out the true essence of Gua Sha.
The Basics Of Gua Sha
There’s more to gua sha than pretty pink crystals that remind me of the ocean. A gentle stimulation with these round edged crystals takes beauty to the next level. “As per Chinese medicine, our bodies have omnipotent energy known as ‘chi’ flowing through it. To ensure good health and skin, we must balance our chi and let it flow freely, explains Dr. Parwanda. Stress, inadequate diet and long laptop hours can eventually cause more than dull aches and pains. They can cause lymphatic build-up, restrict blood circulation and hydration cause lines, tiredness and puffiness. “Gua Sha is the practice of using a tool to move the blocked energies by creating a cutaneous stimulation where the skin is pressured in long strokes,” explains Dr. Yadav.
How It Helps
While the most immediate effects include instant relaxation, “it also activates the nervous system, thereby stimulating the chi or pranas,” says Yadav. When done right, it increases blood flow and helps aid lymphatic drainage, one of the most common outcomes of any massage. “There have been several tests on benefits of Gua Sha, and those include reduced inflammation and wrinkles, Dr. Parwanda.
What To Expect In A Session/ The right way to do it
Not as simple as using a jade roller, it’s all about technique when it comes to Gua Sha. When going for a session, an expert uses a crystal tool or scraping tool to scrape off your skin gently in a downward motion to promote blood circulation and to drain the lymph nodes of toxins. “ The strokes on the skin stimulates microcirculation of the soft tissue, which increases the blood flow, says Dr. Yadav. When opting for a session, make sure the therapist has knowledge and certification.
Facial Gua Sha: Natural Botox?
The results of this non-invasive massage technique has given it a new nickname amongst beauty enthusiasts: natural botox. But what is the right way to do it at home?
Choose the right tool: Try choosing a tool which pleases you aesthetically since it might help you relax more. “Rather than ordering a stone online try going out, pick a stone that is soft on your hand and makes you feel happy,” advises Parwanda. And what about the stone? While jade and rose quartz crystals make for healing gua sha tools, “Bian stones have the most ultrasonic pulses and the best range of frequency, ”explains Dr. Yadav.
Things You Need To Keep In Mind
Use the right oil: Traditionally Gua Sha was done with peanut or sweet almond oil but feel free to use a carrier oil or a base oil that suits your skin. Apply 6-10 drops on your face and neck.
Go Downwards: Start from the forehead and move the tool downwards to initiate the elimination. “Try and start your process from the left side to stir the feminine energy of your body. Don’t use excessive pressure–remember it’s not supposed to hurt or cause discomfort,” warns Parwanda. Use gentle strokes, especially around the eye area and avoid going over a particular area of the face more than 7-10 times. According to Dr. Yadav, regular gentle Gua Sha facial (once every two weeks) helps in firming skin, lightening age spots and improves dark circles too.
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