Statement of Possibilities | Facial Gua Sha
Gua = to rub
Sha = reddish rash (petechiae), blood stagnation, or flow to surface of skin
Sha or light bruising is the most common potential risk of Gua Sha. Sha represents the toxic energy that is released when the technique causes blood to flush to the surface of the skin. It’s the blood rising to the surface as energy is released. The petechiae is a sign that toxic “wind” energy is present below the surface of the skin. The red marks will only appear if you have stuck energy, or stagnation.
While “sha” is the objective of Gua Sha for the body, it’s not the intended outcome and/or goal of facial Gua Sha. However, it’s important to understand that as part of the healing process and/or effectiveness of Gua Sha, experiencing redness or small bumps on the face is normal and may not be the cause of aggressive scraping.
Experiencing “sha” or light “bruising” is most common in the following areas:
- Deep lines & wrinkles (i.e. the 11’s, crows feet)
- Hyperpigmentation or pigmented spots
- Jawline or Brow
How do avoid?
- Use light pressure, especially around the jawline and areas of hyperpigmentation.
- Be present and pay particular attention to how the skin looks and feels as you work.
- Don’t muscle it. When in doubt, lighten your touch and allow the skin to adjust to the movement and shifts happening below the surface.
- Work with your skin, so you’re not forcing it. Allow the skin, tension and muscles react to the movement and let the stone and technique do the work.
How long does “sha” last?
Typically, any redness will subside within 1-3 days. It’s common to see significant improvements in the skin afterward, but be advised that it’s not an invitation to work deeper to speed up results. Keep the area warm and avoid direct pressure. You can use light lymphatic sweeps below to continue to flush the area.
Gua Sha may temporarily exacerbate the expression of acne and bring small bumps to the surface of the skin
as your body has the opportunity to bring more blood, lymph, and fluid (with all its healing agents) to the face,
to process old bacterial overgrowth or other lingering impurities of the tissue. Acne usually resolves faster
than usual after gua sha treatment, but if it is consistently flaring for more than a couple days, please stop and
call or email your service provider to determine the cause and whether it's technique based, or larger issue
that needs to be addressed in a different way.
Contraindications for Facial Gua Sha
Do NOT apply direct pressure:
- over sunburns
- over rashes, other than eczema and mild rosacea
- over open wounds
- over fresh bruises (older bruises are ok)
- over an uncleaned face with makeup on it (can cause acne)
- with any contagious skin conditions
- with any blood disease including hemophilia (can lead to bruising/redness)
- with a very weak body constitution (recovering from serious illness, severely anemic)
- over any skin growths (tags are ok, just go gently over them)
- when pregnant use only under direct guidance of an experienced practitioner in facial gua sha as it can
be too stimulating and deplete energy further afterward. Light lymphatic sweeps are okay with a
pressure of 0-2 on scale of 10. Avoid deep and downward pressure on shoulders.
- with chronic disease causing weakness
Be cautious with gua sha if you:
- are a very easy bruiser
- take medications that thin blood, such as coumadin
- take over the counter pain medications that increase bruising, such as aspirin and advil
Delay Treatment 6-12 weeks if you:
- Received a topical peel or laser treatment that has removed tissue (resurfacing)
Gua sha is healing to the epidermis, so it can be used to help heal from damaging procedures such as
strong peels, but the counsel of a Licensed Professional is recommended. A clean, chilled stone can be
applied flat on the skin without ANY movement to calm inflammation and cool the skin.
- Botox or Dermal filler or injections
Gua sha can cause the body to metabolize fillers and botox so the effect will be shortened, and there is a
risk of moving the injectables to other areas of the face.
Use caution during and after using Retin-A. The active ingredient tretinoin can cause mild increase in
irritation when using facial gua sha, so just be extra gentle with your pressure when concurrently using a
product containing tretinoin.
- After any cosmetic surgical procedures (3 weeks)
Depending on the surgery, lymphatic drainage techniques under the treated area and gentle
movements on the neck can be used to encourage healing and the health of the tissue.
Gua Sha Facial Rejuvenation techniques are gentle and designed to work with and support the natural
function of the skin. You may feel some tenderness when working on/around tight or tense areas, but it
should NEVER be painful or hurt.
Always support the skin and work with light to no pressure—just the weight of the stone with the proper technique.
Gua Sha / Dermal-friction Technique: Friction is applied topically to the skin using a smooth object to
relieve symptoms, providing immediate pain relief and increased mobility. Transitory petechiae (small
red or purple dots), reddish areas, and muscle soreness are common side effects and should resolve
within 48 hours. Client is advised to keep the area protected from wind, cold, and direct sun until the
coloring marks fade. I understand that I may refuse or stop the treatment.
Gua Sha or Gua Sha Facial Rejuvenation. Adverse effects may include those applied to the modalities
listed above and include the possibility of unsatisfactory results or exacerbation of the problem. Just
like with any facial treatments, results are not guaranteed to be permanent. Subsequent alterations in
facial appearance may occur as the result of the normal process of aging weight loss or gain, sun
exposure, or other circumstances not related to an acupuncture facial. A Gua Sha Facial Rejuvenating
treatment may not arrest the aging process or produce permanent tightening of the face and neck. A
series of weekly Gua Sha Facial Rejuvenation treatments and a regular self-care routine is recommended
to maintain the benefits and long-term results.