Gua Sha Do's and Don'ts


Originating from Traditional Chinese Medicine, Gua Sha is an ancient healing technique that involves scraping the skin with a stone tool to improve circulation and promote healing. The practice of Gua Sha provides many skin benefits such as reducing stress, draining stagnant lymph and fluid from congested areas, promoting oxygenated blood flow (hello collagen!), and improving your skin’s overall health. But all of these benefits are harder to attain unless you master the correct Gua Sha techniques.

When it comes to facial and skincare, Gua Sha is typically used to reduce facial puffiness. There are definitely other ways to use a Gua Sha stone which help release tight muscles or fascia (in fact, I love using my stone in this way), but if your aim is to detox and de-puff then you will need to focus your efforts on working with the lymphatic system, not the muscular system or connective tissue network (this requires a completely separate training and understanding). 

In short, the lymphatic system is responsible for keeping you healthy. It does this by monitoring the body for foreign invaders, sites of injury or acute infections. It sends important healing fluids and cells to these sites of injury, "cleans" the area out, and then carries the waste through its delicate vessels to designated lymph nodes, where it can be processed out of the body. I'm simplifying the process, but that is essentially what our lymphatic system is doing for us.

Where does facial puffiness come in? We start to see facial puffiness with the accumulation of toxins (in our food/air/environment), daily stress and lack of mobility. Because of this, the lymphatic system can get overworked, overburdened and move waste out less efficiently than we want it to; hence, inflammation and puffiness start to become more visible on the face. And this is where a Gua Sha practice comes in. 

Unfortunately, it's not uncommon to feel like you're not seeing the results you want with your Gua Sha tool, and that may be because you're unknowingly using your tool in a way that is preventing the flow of lymph and the removal of fluid retention. I created a short checklist for you to help you get started. If you want to start seeing more sustainable results (and quickly too), use this short list of Do's and Don'ts before your next facial Gua Sha practice. 




  • Do: Drink plenty of fluid before and after 
  • Do: Use a facial oil to allow your gua sha tool to glide across your skin easily
  • Do: Open the lymph system in the neck first and end with drainage at the terminus (collarbone area). 
  • Do: Use strokes moving from the center of the face to the outside, every few strokes take your tool down the neck to the terminus 
  • Do: Use both hands. Using one hand to move your gua sha stone and the other to hold your skin taught. This will help prevent skin tugging and helps release more fluid. 
  • Do: Make it a regular practice - doesn’t have to be every day but at least 2 times a week is a great start.
  • Do: Clean your tool either before or after your session - gentle soap and water or alcohol swabs work fine. 



  • Don’t: Hold your tool at a 90 degree angle. You should always hold your tool somewhere between a 15 to 45 degree angle to ensure effective lymphatic drainage.
  • Don’t: Slouch. Sitting up straight  allows more effective lymph flow.
  • Don’t : Move too fast. Lymph moves slow so we want to move at the same pace for optimal detoxification. 
  • Don’t : Use too firm of pressure, lymph vessels are delicate and superficial. Using too much pressure will compress the vessels and nothing will move. 
  • Don’t: Skip the neck. The sides of your neck are the gateways to the face and serve as essential lymphatic drainage pathways. Make sure you always start your Gua Sha at the neck and work your way up to your forehead, and then back down again. 



By following the proper techniques outlined in this guide, you can harness the healing power of gua sha effectively and safely. If you want a more comprehensive and informative guide to mastering gua sha, sign up for the Beauty Shaman’s Skin Within Studio where you’ll have access to all of our online classes!


Here's a free class to get you started!


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