Considering DIY Gua Sha? Here’s why it’s not advisable

Close-up of woman treating face with guasha massage

Here’s a truth in life you can’t change: You can’t do everything yourself. Much less gua sha, a traditional Chinese medicine technique that requires training and experience. 

It might be tempting though. After all, how hard can it be to run a tool across your face in one direction multiple times? For Gua Sha facials, the risks are not apparent until something goes wrong. Before you go online to get your own Gua Sha facial tool, here are some things you need to think about.

Understanding the risks and disadvantages of DIY Gua Sha facial

Lack of professional expertise

Good Gua Sha facial practitioners have experience and are able to vary their strokes and focal points based on each individual. 

Experienced Gua Sha facial practitioners are also able to communicate their intent effectively. They will be able to explain the benefits of what they are doing to the recipient of the treatment and give advice on what should or should not be done. 

For example, if you’re on blood thinners, a Gua Sha facial can increase the risk of blood clots as Gua Sha tends to increase blood flow to the area that is being treated. A good Gua Sha therapist would know what questions to ask, so that such risks are avoided.

Good Gua Sha facial therapists also have a gentle touch, and will be able to deploy their  techniques without causing undue pain or discomfort. This is especially important for the face, where any bruising will be immediately apparent.

Incorrect technique and excessive pressure

Gua sha is a technique that involves scraping the skin with a smooth, flat tool. This can cause bruising if the tool is used too harshly or in the wrong areas. The delicate skin of the face is especially susceptible to bruising from gua sha. Bruising from gua sha is usually temporary and will go away on its own within a few days. However, it can be unsightly and uncomfortable in the meantime. In rare cases, incorrect Gua Sha facial techniques can even cause scarring if the tool is used too harshly or if the skin is already damaged. 

Limited knowledge of facial anatomy

The face has a network of delicate blood vessels that are close to the surface of the skin. If the practitioner applies too much pressure during gua sha, it can cause these blood vessels to rupture, resulting in bruising.

Additionally, several important nerves are located near the surface of the skin. If the practitioner applies too much pressure or uses the tool in the wrong way, it can cause nerve damage, which can lead to numbness, tingling, or pain in the face.

There are also muscles that are responsible for facial expressions. These muscles can react poorly if pressure is applied in the wrong way, resulting in pain and limited facial mobility.

The benefits of professional Gua Sha treatment

When done correctly, Gua Sha facials help to rejuvenate the face, improve your outlook and reduce inflammation through lymphatic drainage. All these benefits can be yours if you get gua sha treatment with a professional. 

Here are ways a professional can value add: 

Expert assessment and tailored treatment

Gua Sha

Every individual’s skin has its unique characteristics and concerns. A professional can evaluate specific requirements, such as areas of tension or congestion, and adapt the Gua Sha facial technique to address these needs. 

Without appropriate technique, there is a risk of causing bruising or even capillary damage. Professionals are trained to know how much pressure to apply, the movement direction, and the areas to focus on or avoid to ensure safety.

One primary benefit of the Gua Sha facial is the promotion of lymphatic drainage, which aids in puffiness reduction and skin detoxification. The lymphatic system follows distinct pathways, and only a knowledgeable practitioner can guide the tool to stimulate effective drainage. 

Moreover, the integration of Gua Sha with other facial treatments can enhance overall results. By incorporating it into a broader skincare routine, it complements other modalities like masks or massages.

Certain skin conditions or health concerns might necessitate a modified approach to Gua Sha or even contraindicate its use. An expert is equipped to discern these situations and advise appropriately. 

Additionally, they can guide clients on aftercare and home maintenance, ensuring the continued benefit of the treatment. In essence, while Gua Sha facials might appear straightforward, its application requires expert insight for the most beneficial and safe outcomes.

Proper technique and tools

Gua Sha

The proper technique and tools in a Gua Sha Facial are paramount for both safety and efficacy. When Gua Sha is not correctly applied, there’s a risk of causing undue stress on the skin, which can lead to issues like bruising, redness, or even broken capillaries. On the other hand, a correct application ensures the skin is treated with care and gentleness.

The choice of tool is equally significant. Various Gua Sha tools are designed for particular purposes and facial areas. By selecting the appropriate tool, one can ensure that the facial contours are adequately addressed, and the technique’s effectiveness is optimised. For instance, specific tools are tailored for the delicate areas around the eyes or the contours of the jawline.

Holistic skincare

At its core, the Gua Sha facial is rooted in Traditional Chinese Medicine philosophy, which focuses on the interconnectedness of the body and mind. Holistic skincare considers not just the surface symptoms but also the underlying causes of skin conditions, including emotional, environmental, and lifestyle factors. In the context of a Gua Sha Facial, it’s not just about scraping the skin, but understanding and addressing the broader factors that impact skin health. 

Today’s Gua Sha facials often incorporate serums or oils. The right technique enhances the skin’s absorption of these products, boosting their benefits. Additionally, recognising that certain skin conditions or sensitivities might require an adapted approach ensures the treatment is individualised, reducing potential adverse reactions.

By adopting a holistic approach, practitioners can ensure that the Gua Sha treatment not only rejuvenates the skin externally but also promotes overall well-being and balance from within.

Gua Sha facial by SkinLab The Medical Spa

A rejuvenating Gua Sha facial is within reach. All you need is the support of experienced, well-trained professionals who know how to apply the right strokes for your Gua Sha facial treatment. 

At SkinLab, Singapore’s largest medical spa chain, our highly trained therapists endeavour to give you the best care and treatment, so you walk out of the door looking and feeling your best.

Contact us now.

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