Have you discovered the ancient eastern self-care art of Gua Sha yet? It’s effective, quick and easy to do at home. Here’s how.

When it comes to the ancient wellbeing practices of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), you’ve most probably heard of acupuncture, acupressure, perhaps even cupping. But are you on board with Gua Sha, the eastern self-care practice making a buzz in western skincare right now?

Gua Sha (pronounced gwa sha) doesn’t require a qualified practitioner to administer it; in fact it is part of the ‘Yang Sheng principle’ of TCM, meaning ‘nourishing life’, a set of daily ‘self-care’ practices we can all do easily at home to maintain and nourish our own health and wellbeing. Gua Sha can be added into your daily skincare regime at home, with minimal time, skills or products required.

So, what does it actually involve? Using a tool, traditionally made from jade, the practice itself is all about achieving ‘sha’ – similar to the flush you get after a professional facial – by sweeping the tool, which is especially contoured for you to work along the jawline, temples, eye sockets and nose, repetitively across the face to increase blood flow to the surface of the skin. An oil or serum is all that is required to give the Gua Sha tool enough slippage to work its way around the face.

Skin Benefits

In as little as one minute each day, you can wield your Gua Sha tool to achieve some pretty impressive results. The repetitive rubbing of the facial skin in fluid continuous strokes increases the circulation, encouraging a rush of blood and with it oxygen and nutrients, which repair and rejuvenate the stimulated skin. It can help tone and smooth skin; relax tense facial muscles (great for those who hold a lot of tension in their jaw); reduce inflammation and depuff; encourage lymphatic drainage, and even help relieve congested sinuses. The benefits are not contained to the face and can be used on the neck, decollete, neck, back and shoulders to release tension, too.


Katie Brindle, one of the UK’s leading Chinese medicine practitioners, developed the Hayo’u Method of Gua Sha to ‘bridge the gap between ancient wisdom and modern living’ after 20 years in practice. It offers quick, daily rituals that take minutes to perform at home but are rooted in thousands of years of ancient Chinese wisdom and medicine. There are easy-to-follow video tutorials to show you how to properly work with your Gua Sha tool on her website and Instagram channel.

When choosing your Gua Sha tool, always buy from a reputable retailer to ensure it is genuine and not acrylic. Which crystal you choose for your Gua Sha tool depends on the benefits you are looking for. Jade is the traditional mineral used for its cooling, decongesting and detoxifying properties, while rose quartz is a popular choice for its calming and healing abilities.

Finally, Lisa Eldridge’s 20-minute facial massage technique video may be six years old, but if you are interested in facial massage and are yet to invest in a Gua Sha tool, this is a great way of achieving similar results, with just your fingertips. Her glass-like complexion is testament to the fact it works.

The Kit

The essential piece of kit is your Gua Sha tool. Odacite has a range of hand-carved crystals to choose from, depending on the benefits you are looking for.

Hayou’s precision beauty restorer is carved to offer targeted relief around the eyes and lips, as well as hard-to-reach angles, such as the side of the nose (a key acupressure point). It has a comfortable, ergonomic grip and allows you to work in more detail with finer, smaller motions.

If you’re looking for a glow-inducing facial oil to give your Gua Sha tool suitable slippage, this nourishing oil from Ayurvedic brand Fushi is great. The vegan oil is full of Kalahari melon seed oil to increase skin elasticity and Ayurvedic herb Manjistha to promote long term skin radiance for a seriously dewy, plumping effect.

If you’re after something a little lighter, Votary’s Super Seed Serum is great for sensitive skins. With a dose of brightening Vitamin C and peptides to boost collagen production, it will help firm and awaken skin – the perfect Gua Sha side-kick.

If you want to learn more about Gua Sha, Yang Sheng and the art of Chinese self-healing in general, Katie Brindle’s book offers a great overview of the ancient self-care practice.

By Lydia Mansi
July 2020


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Lydia Mansi

Lifestyle Editor

Lydia is an all-round lifestyle guru, tireless champion of women in business and our resident expert on beauty.