I’m a huge advocate of ageless beauty. Ageing is not a bad thing – the Chinese philosophy is that beauty isn’t just found in the young. The wisdom, experience and contentment that comes with age should be celebrated and is reflected in our faces.
Focus on your health and beauty will follow. Shiny hair and glowing skin are signs that your body is in balance. You can have radiant skin at any age, it’s about an inner glow, hydrated nourished skin rather than sallow, dehydrated, lifeless skin. And that’s why gua sha is so brilliant, because it speeds microcirculation and directs oxygen to the skin, to nourish it from the inside out.
Gua Sha is a type of therapeutic self-massage technique that you can do on yourself using a round-edged tool. It’s been widely practiced in China for thousands of years. ‘Gua’ means to scrape or rub, whilst ‘Sha’ describes the temporary redness that results.
The boost to your microcirculation during gua sha floods the skin with fresh nutrients, over time increasing levels of collagen and elastin. Done regularly, it smooths and plumps the skin. Also, Gua Sha is great for reducing morning puffiness and congestion, by gently encouraging the movement of lymphatic fluid, which can’t flow by itself. It only moves when we move – or when we move it. Gua Sha releases tension in facial muscles and soothes sore eyes and skin, making your complexion look brighter and generally more radiant.
However, it’s about more than simply the physical action. Gua Sha is hugely relaxing and pleasurable, providing a moment to de-stress from the day. Our skin and our brain have the same ectodermal origin. In simple terms, this means they are affected by the same neurotransmitters. Massage sends mood-boosting ‘feel good’ signals to your brain.
Stress is a major factor in poor skin. Both acute and chronic stress increase levels of toxicity and inflammation inside the body, disrupting circulation. Also, our skin has a protective barrier formed of healthy oils known as lipids. Stress reduces this barrier, causing lipids to evaporate and resulting in fine lines and dry skin. Even with the best skincare this rich, moist barrier is hard to replace. Gua Sha not only physically releases the tension that we store in our faces, it’s also really effective at replacing that lost hydration.
Jade Gua Sha from the Hayo’u Method
Using a tool to massage is better than using your hands. Why? Because your fingertips are among the most sensitive parts of your body. They are densely packed with thousands of nerve endings. And your brain can confuse the signals when it feels sensations in both the skin you are massaging and in your fingers.
Gua Sha gives you an immediate and visible effect, providing that same healthy glow that comes from a good night’s sleep or an invigorating walk in the fresh air. It’s great for attracting those ‘Oh you look well!’ comments.
It’s also really important to me that my tools are environmentally friendly. If you invest in a gua sha tool, it’s a one-off purchase, reducing the need for disposable products which contribute to a sea of plastic. I love it because it’s a cost effective and comprehensive beauty and wellbeing solution. You don’t need to splurge on expensive facials when you can do this at home every single day. Home Gua Sha as a treatment is practical, hard-working and offers you full flexibility. You can do it in front of the tv, on the school run or during a flight. I’d say give it a try and see for yourself!
Find out more about the Hayo’u Method