The Benefits of Gua Sha & Face Massage
At BECYCLE, we’re big believers in holistic health and love discovering wellness practices that actually work. We’ve been curious about Gua Sha and face massage for a while, so we decided to ask an expert to find out more. Jen Stoeckert is the founder of Minimal Beauty and draws on over a decade of integrated approaches to holistic skincare. Read on to discover the benefits of Gua Sha and face massage, plus Jen’s top tips for healthy skin.
1. What is Gua Sha and how did you discover it?
Gua Sha is an ancient Eastern Modality that uses a stone board/tool on the skin to create a light, intentional friction through specific techniques in order to stimulate blood flow, clear stagnation, tap into the energetic pathways of the face, melt facial tension, lift, sculpt and support the natural flow of lymphatic drainage. Facial Gua sha is performed much lighter vs body Gua Sha since the skin of the face is so delicate.
I discovered Gua Sha in 2015. I've always been fascinated with Eastern Modalities and have been working in Holistic Esthetics and wellness for over 10 years. I found my first Gua Sha tool on an acupuncture website in 2015 and knew I would love it for my clients and myself. Gua Sha specifically for the face started to become pretty popular about a year later, I'm assuming through curious minds like my own, and the rest is history. Gua Sha itself has been around for thousands of years and is often performed on the body by Acupuncturists.
2. What are the benefits of Gua Sha and face massage?
The benefits of both Gua Sha and face massage are endless. Movement in general is a key factor for healthy skin. Diet, environmental factors, stress, muscle tension, incorrect product usage, etc will overtime create stagnation and inflammation throughout the complexion, leading to undesirable concerns. In the case of acne, congestion and most aging concerns, stagnation is always present. By alleviating and dispersing stagnation through massage and Gua Sha, you increase the flow of blood, lymph and energy/prana in order to nourish skin and clear energetic pathways which enhance and support the skins own healing mechanisms.
During massage and Gua Sha, the circulation of blood delivers fresh nourishment, cell renewal is stimulated, our lymphatic system works to flush out metabolic waste, (especially beneficially in the case of acne), puffiness is lessened, facial expressions are relaxed, product absorption increased and skin is left revitalized and awakened. You must have flow if you want to glow and movement ignites this glow.
3. Would you recommend it for all skin types? Do you adjust for any skin issues/conditions?
All skin types and conditions will benefit from Gua Sha and face massage. The most common adjustment is often for inflammatory skin conditions such as acne, psoriasis, rosacea or eczema, which should never receive deep massage or traditional Gua Sha and massage techniques. Lymphatic drainage (which is a very light touch) is always recommended for the above concerns and there are techniques that can used from both Gua Sha and lymphatic massage modalities.
For other common skin concerns such as lackluster skin, aging concerns, fine lines and wrinkles, sagging skin and most all complexions in general will benefit from Gua Sha and/or face massage. Even for clients with balanced skin, I always recommend at home Gua Sha/face massage to continue to nourish and enhance their skin through these preventive and holistic skin practices.
4. How easy is it to learn Gua Sha/face massage for oneself?
I think it's pretty easy to learn massage for oneself but to take that a step further, I would recommend finding a holistic practitioner to work with and support you in getting intuitive with and understanding your skin. From there, you can be sure you will have the correct products and techniques in your tool box to nurture your skin through massage and other holistic modalities. I offer long distance consultations from my website for those who would like to work with me directly.
5. What other techniques would you recommend for healthy skin?
I'm a huge believer of cardio workouts for glowing skin and often recommend clients to work up a sweat at least a few times a week. For inflammatory conditions, such as acne or rosacea, I'll help them modify since the heat from exercise can become tricky to work around when skin inflammation is present but I'm all about movement on many levels for skin health.
I also have my 3 S's: stress, sleep and sugar. These 3 factors will make or break the health of your complexion. Sugar is a killer of collagen and feeds acne. Stress, especially chronic, wreaks havoc on our hormones and glandular system, with the results often showing up on our complexions and the skin must always, always receive adequate amounts of sleep in order to repair and replenish itself. Healthy skin truly comes from within.
Interview by Stephanie Cusack - marketing/events manager and yoga teacher at BECYCLE.