The latest Tik-Tok beauty trend that is sweeping the globe: Does Gua Sha actually work?

Posted on 9 May 2021
By Heidi Hewlings
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If you’ve been scrolling on Tik Tok at all recently, you may have come across the bizarre new beauty trend known as ‘Gua Sha.’

The name, pronounced ‘gwahshah,’ comes from the Chinese word for scraping, and is a technique used in traditional East Asian medicine.

Aiming to move energy around the body, the treatment involves using a tool to rub the skin in long upward strokes.

Dr. Sheel Desai Solomon, a board-certified Raleigh-Durham North Carolina dermatologist said: “It’s a treatment that involves scraping a flat jade or rose quartz stone over the skin in upward strokes to relax stiff muscles and promote tissue drainage.”

It’s basically one of those ‘alternative therapies,’ that sits in the same category as acupuncture and homeopathy.

No one really knows whether or not it works, but seemingly the order of the day is to throw money at it, to find out.

Videos have been plastered everywhere of people claiming to have achieved chiselled jawlines and killer cheekbones by rubbing a piece of plastic up and down their face.

As mad as it sounds, there could be some theory behind the wacky new trend.

It turns out there is some truth in massaging the face to reduce puffiness and to make facial features appear more defined.

The action helps to break down scar tissue and connective tissue, improving movement in the joints.

The scraping of the skin stimulates microcirculation of the soft tissue, which increases blood flow.

Performed with a smooth-edged small instrument known as a gua massage tool, rubbing the skin’s surface is believed to reduce inflammation and promote healing.

Although we have mainly seen the technique applied to the face, it can also be carried out on a person’s back, buttocks, neck, arms, and legs.

Some people who have used it themselves have said it is a short-term fix for puffiness, although it is unlikely that there will be any long-term benefit.

The action can even cause bruising, which often appears as purple or red spots known as petechiae or sha.

Others, however, have described the treatment as ‘the best massage of their lives’ having experienced dramatic results.

It’s believed that gua sha can also help with migraines, sweating, insomnia, neck pains and back pains.
A 2014 medical study found that gua sha improved the range of movement and reduced pain in people who used computers frequently compared with a control group that had no treatment.

Similarly, In a 2017 study, weightlifters who had gua sha felt that lifting weights took less effort after treatment.

This could pump strength into the theory that the therapy, is in fact more effective than we think.