Facial Gua sha
Facial Gua sha is not complicated to do, it is, however, more intricate than it seems. So while it is true that you can just scrape a tool over your face, you can do so much more if you know what the tool is doing and what is happening underneath the skin. I put a lot of what I do in one of my books and you will be able to find lots of information but the basics are in the information below.
1. How does Facial Gua sha work?
Your face is made up of a crisscross of muscles, ligaments, nerves and connective tissue which over time and with certain key behaviours will display themselves on the surface of your skin in the form of wrinkles, lines, baggy areas and discolourations.
With Facial Gua sha, these features can be improved because the action of friction over the connective tissue under your skin, can help the flow of blood by vasodilating your blood vessels. This improvement of blood flow brings with it better nutrition and more flexibility of the underlying tissue and muscles.
There is a lot more to Facial Gua sha than this, however. The face can be treated via the body and if you have the knowledge of how the muscular system is not made up of individual muscles but is grouped across the body as an interconnected signalling system, then you have the tools to make more profound changes to your face. This is my approach to Facial Gua sha and involves treating other parts of your body in order to treat the face.
The fascia and muscle system in your face is actually organised within an interconnected group of muscles that stretch all over your body. For example, if you wanted to treat crows feet at the side of your eyes, you need to know that the Small Intestine tendinomuscular channel passes up the side of your cheek and over your temple. And it starts at the muscles of your little finger.
So in order to treat this area of your face, this muscle grouping of the abductor digiti minimi, flexor carpi ulnaris, triceps, infraspinatus, teres minor, supraspinatus and levator scapula muscles should be treated with Gua sha in conjunction with local treatment on your face.
There are other groups of muscles which can also have an effect on this area and also specific parts of those muscles which are more likely to be sore and need Gua sha scraping.
To restrict Facial Gua sha treatment to only the areas of the face is to misunderstand this vital connection of how the body feeds nutrients and blood to the muscles and tissues of the facial area.
2. What tools and equipment do you need for Facial Gua sha?
In order to do Facial Gua sha, you will need a tool but it can really be anything. You can even use your fingers as a tool (see my Facial Gua sha book!)
As it's your face, the tool has to be smaller and of a material which will be kind to your skin as you scrape along it. The edge of the tool must be smooth and rounded and you can sometimes find tools with notches and curves which can guide you along your jaw area.
You certainly do not need anything expensive nor technical. Even with the face, a Chinese soup spoon works just fine if that's what you want to use. Many people feel the need to buy special tools with fancy names and fancy prices but that's okay. They work fine too.
For more information about these see Gua sha tools
Chinese soup spoon
If you are going to scrape the skin of your face, you must have lubrication between the tool and your skin. Now exactly which form of lubrication you use all depends on what kind of skin you have, whether you have any allergies, your preferences etc. There really is no one catch-all Gua sha lotion. If you do a search on the internet I am sure you will find plenty of oils and creams suggested for Gua sha but all you need is lubricant which is not immediately absorbed into the skin and which will be kind to your skin.
3. What techniques are there in Facial Gua sha?
Do a search for Facial Gua sha, and you'll get all sorts of videos, photos and sites telling you to scrape your face this way and that and that miraculously, you'll look different overnight.
This is not my approach. Maybe one day I'll give my approach a fancy name and market it like the next big thing in beauty but for now, it's fine as it is. If you want to find out more about how I do things, get hold of my Facial Gua sha book as I explain it in detail there. But to put it succinctly, you have to treat your body and your face because they are interconnected. If you don't, you won't get the same results.
The main difference between body Gua sha and Facial Gua sha is the stroke you use. With Facial Gua sha, you need to pull the tool along the skin in one smooth movement, without the repetitious movement of the tool when scraping the body. I call this the 'SWEEP' technique.
You can use the SWEEP technique over the cheek and forehead area where there is sufficient room to maintain contact with the side of the tool and your skin.
You generally sweep in an upwards direction, towards your ear or temple in one smooth movement without lifting the tool off of your skin.