By Kachina L. Smith, D.Ac., L.Ac.
For centuries, the wisdom of Chinese medicine has consistently provided remarkable, even miraculous results for so many people worldwide. Among the many modalities within Traditional Chinese Medicine are cupping and gua sha (pronounced gwa sha), both of which facilitate natural healing processes. They are useful for addressing musculoskeletal issues such as aches, tension, and constriction.
You may be familiar with cupping from the famous circular markings on Michael Phelps’ back during the Olympics; you may have even seen people within the community proudly display theirs as well. Did you know cupping and gua sha aren’t just for aches and pains? Adding these to your beauty regimen can improve your skin, increase muscle tone, relieve puffiness, and in some cases, reduce wrinkles and fine lines.
Cupping has been documented in ancient texts about healing from as long ago as 1550 BC. Cupping is the application of plastic bell-shaped or rounded bowl-like glass “cups” to the skin using suction, created by air pump or heat, over affected areas. They release stagnant qi (vital energy) within the superficial muscle tissues and stimulate better circulation of blood and fluids.
Facial cupping requires the use of specialized smaller cups that do not leave any markings or redness after treatment. Using a gliding motion across the face and neck, the gentle suction helps the lymphatic fluid that is causing your puffiness, under-eye circles, and acne to drain and clear. Cupping over time can also plump fine lines and wrinkles.
Gua sha is the stroking of the skin and superficial muscle tissue using a flat jade stone, wood, or plastic tool to alleviate inflammation, break up forming scar tissue, and improve circulation. During the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) in China, they used jade stones to scrape the skin all over the body to treat diseases.
In terms of skincare, gua sha results in a more sculpted jawline and cheekbones, raised brow arches, less redness and a glowing appearance. Using a jade tool and gentle light pressure, you’ll find gua sha provides lift, smooths sagging, and reduces puffiness of the skin on the face, neck, and décolleté.
Specific stroking patterns across the skin with the gua sha tool promote lymphatic drainage, which helps rid the body of toxins, waste, and other unwanted materials. Some people with allergy and sinus issues can also find relief.
With repeated use, you’ll notice tighter, smoother, more toned skin. People will ask you “What’s your secret to such a beautiful complexion?” Including cupping and gua sha in your healthy skincare regimen will result in natural elegant beauty.
Witness the benefits of gua sha for yourself in our Gua Sha Lift Facial.
Or you can experience both cupping and gua sha in our AcuGlow treatment.