By Dr Stephanie Flockhart (BHsc)
Doctor of Chinese Medicine.
Stephanie is Doctor of Chinese Medicine, Acupuncturist and PSYCH-K Facilitator. Health is Stephanie’s top value and currently building an online community where women can feel nurtured, empowered and supported.
“As a modern Acupuncturist, I believe in the integration of Eastern and Western philosophy, creating a well-rounded framework for healing that is inclusive and holistic for all. When you are feeling beautiful, balanced, radiant, compassionate and accepting of yourself, you reflect this to those around you.” - Stephanie.
We’re so happy Stephanie has shared her beauty tool expertise with us.
Traditional Chinese Medicine has revered the beauty ritual as an essential part of their routine. Beauty tools, like the Gua Sha, have been used for centuries in Eastern Medicine, beauty and health care. Creating your own natural beauty ritual will result in not only a glowing complexion but improved internal health to boot! In Traditional Chinese Medicine, we are big believers in addressing all things holistically and the way beauty is approached is no different.
Learning this Gua Sha routine is effective and simple enough to incorporate into even the busiest of schedules. Slowing down for 2-5 minutes to be present and mindful during that time will benefit your health in a myriad of ways, so you will be radiating with beauty from the inside out.
Embrace your inner Venusian Goddess energy and love yourself enough to do this!
When you’re starting your Gua Sha routine there are a few key things you need to know.
How does it work?
Using a Gua Sha tool (a crystal or jade stone usually shaped like a crescent moon) you gently press down and follow the contours of your face. This technique boosts the circulation to the skin, flooding the face with nutrients and naturally building both elastin and collagen.
Puffiness and congestion are also drastically reduced as this technique encourages the flow of lymphatic fluid. This action is of great importance, as facial lymph fluid is unable to flow by itself. If performed properly from the very first use you will notice an improvement in skin texture, a beautiful rosy glow, and a rested appearance. You will appear from the bathroom looking and feeling as though you had just been on vacation or returned from the greatest massage of your life! Although, be mindful that consistency is really the secret to the results we all dream of. Everyone is willing to try something for two weeks until the next Vogue article they read… But trust me, with long term, consistent use, Facial Gua Sha has truly the power to reduce visible signs of ageing, including fine lines and so much more.
Areas to focus on
When starting your Gua Sha routine it is important to start by releasing the neck and shoulders before beginning to work on your face. Promoting relaxation and boosting circulation to a stiff neck and tight shoulders increases blood flow to the face, which is half the battle when seeking a radiant complexion! Then you’re free to start on your face. Your new mantra is “Up and out”! Imagine a line drawn down the middle of your face. Start in the middle and always work the Gua sha tool out and slightly up toward the outer edges of the face. I suggest starting on one side of the face, working from the chin, cheeks, under eye area, eyebrows and forehead up. This will give you the opportunity to really notice the changes from the side you’ve just Gua Sha’d to the opposite side. You can notice results instantly and this positive reinforcement is just what we all need to keep us consistent and showing up for this beauty ritual regularly. If we had rock hard abs after one F45 session, we’d be up at 3AM everyday pumping iron right?
Once you have worked on those key areas, you can then come back and focus on any wrinkles or fine lines. Using your Gua Sha tool promotes the production of collagen and elastin, which plumps out and “softens” those pesky fine lines.
You want the Gua Sha ritual to feel gentle and relaxing, yet firm enough to bring a lovely rosy glow to your face. It is normal to feel an invigorating sensation as the Gua Sha is stimulating the movement of the lymphatic system, blood circulation and Acupuncture points. Be mindful to adjust your pressure around the delicate eye area from medium, to feather light.
Morning or Night?
One of the biggest concerns when it comes to starting a Gua Sha beauty ritual is when is best to actually do it? I personally like to include the Gua Sha into my morning “getting ready” regime, and allow an extra five minutes to make sure I can fit it in, without rushing mindlessly through it. I prefer the morning as I notice a huge improvement in the overall appearance of my face, from the way beauty products sit on my skin, to how awake and relaxed I appear. Other people find that mornings are a little chaotic and if you’re stretched for time opting for an evening Gua Sha routine will be much more effective. It is important to be very intentional with this practice and use this time as an opportunity to slow down and take time for yourself.
The Benefits of Gua Sha
+ Drains lymphatic fluid (which is often filled with toxins and waste) out of the cells to be cleansed.
+ Lifting and tightening of the skin.
+ Aid in elimination of dark circles under the eyes.
+ Improves the appearance of dark spots and hyperpigmentation.
+ Assists in the healing of pimples and reduces both the frequency and severity of skin breakouts.
+ Improves product absorption.
+ Brightens and promotes a radiant complexion.
+ Eliminates and improves the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines.
+ Offers a natural alternative to injections and face-lift surgery (when practised on a regular basis at home or when receiving treatments from a licensed practitioner)
+ Benefits those suffering from migraine and TMJ disorders, as it reduces tension in the jaw, face and neck.
Tips to enhance your Gua Sha practice.
~ Focus on each area without rushing. Allowing five to ten slow but firm strokes.
~ If you find the tool isn’t gliding easily and becoming “stuck”, add some more oil.
~ Aim to direct your tool so it is almost flat on your skin.
~ Finish your Gua Sha ritual by placing the pointed end of the tool in the depression found in front of your ear. Move the tool up and around the ear, then continue the stroke down the neck. This action drains any toxins that may have accumulated during the routine.
~ Personalise your ritual and play around with what feels best for you.
Traditional Chinese Medicine has always understood the importance and power of a daily beauty ritual. It is time to let go of the eternal search for the ‘quick fix’ and embrace looking inward, creating beauty rituals that tap into our inner beauty and allowing it to shine through.
By Dr Stephanie Flockhart