Hailed as “the original form of at-home self-care,” or “a lymph-flushing skin care darling” for its “surprising beauty benefits,” Gua Sha has created a media stir with many major skin care brands pairing Gua Sha facial tools with their products. Gua means scraping in Chinese, and sha refers to disease. It usually involves repeatedly scraping along the skin with a piece of smooth wood or, if you have the money, jade. While the resulting redness that often appears after a treatment can appear somewhat frightening, this treatment goes far beyond skin deep.

The concept of gua sha is closely related to the body’s acupoints and meridians – the invisible energy pathways that run through the body to channel one’s life energy in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). If anything that disrupts the smooth flow of that energy, clogged pools of energy can form leading to an illness. Gua sha is seen as a way to scrape or smooth out these clogged pools and get energy flowing again. “Gua sha was really frowned upon and made fun of [in the West] up until very recently. It wasn’t the trendy, desirable thing. It is now all over social media and wellness blogs,” said Ivy Lee, a Chinese-American acupuncturist in a video posted on Instagram, speaking up about the cultural appropriation of gua sha. She noted that in the predominately white wellness industry in the US, it could be considered inauthentic and disrespectful for non-Asian wellness practitioners and companies to claim their Gua sha-related products or services are “the only” or “the first,” or try to teach or sell a misinformed or diluted version of gua sha without understanding tradition.

Cultural barriers The story depicted in The Gua Sha Treatment, a Chinese film released 20 years ago, poses a stark contrast for gua sha’s perception in the West in relation to its current popularity. Screened at the Cannes film festival, the movie depicts a grandfather from the Chinese mainland in the US using gua sha to treat his grandson, who has a fever. The temporary bruising and redness on the child’s back left by the treatment was misconstrued to be evidence of child abuse, which leads the family to be taken to court. In the judge’s chambers, the father Xu Datong tries to explain the body’s complex network of energy pathways, but the English-speakers either do not have the patience to listen to what the father is saying or are unable to understand the explanation, which leads to an unfortunate lawsuit that tears apart the family. The film has been chosen by some Chinese teachers for intercultural communication-related courses as it dramatizes the cultural misinterpretations about gua sha and other issues that were common in the West. Some who have watched the film said they sympathize with the cultural plight of the Chinese immigrants, while some pointed out that the misunderstanding regarding gua sha hints at the larger misconception about Chinese culture in general and the inequality of cultural power between countries. The gua sha facials currently trending in the West are making some people wonder, are they advocating authentic gua sha used in TCM or simply exploiting a tradition they don’t understand for profit?

Cultural appropriation or adaptation?

Scraping areas on the face does indeed exist in TCM gua sha, but this form of gua sha is very different from the traditional gua sha applied to other areas on the body that most Chinese know about or practice, Sun Haishu, an attending physician at the TCM Clinic of the China Academy of Chinese Medical Sciences in Beijing, told the Global Times.

Sun explained that gua sha for face isn’t commonly used for treating diseases; rather it is categorized as a cosmetic treatment under TCM. While it can be used to treat diseases such as melasma, usually it is sufficient to scrape the face until the skin feels slightly warm, rather than waiting until redness or bruises appear as is preferred in gua sha on other areas of the body.

The various materials used as scrapers can vary according to type of treatment as well as the wealth of those undergoing gua sha.

Legends tell of empresses and concubines in ancient China using pieces of jade to scrape their face, which can be considered as a form of gua sha.

While rose quartz stone and jade seem to be trending choices for gua sha facial tools in the West, Sun noted that other materials can be used depending on the circumstances. Copper, horns of some animals, pointed stones, and various metals such as gold are just some examples. But the most typical material in ancient times was jade.

A risky scam?

Some dermatologists say gua sha facials have little effect, explaining that studies have shown impressive results for traditional body gua sha, but not treatments for the face.

“It is advised to be cautious when dealing with the danger zone triangle of the face. Other than that, in most cases, there isn’t any risk for doing a gua sha facial, even if you do it at home,” Liu Pangong, an attending physician at the Beijing First Hospital of Integrated Chinese and Western Medicine, told the Global Times.

Given how it stimulates the facial muscles, acupoints and meridians and blood circulation and its removal of clogs in the meridians, both Sun and Liu agree that gua sha facials can be beneficial as a form of at-home self-care so long as the proper methods are followed.

Sun further added that if one can learn more about TCM theory, that would surely be better. Acupoints, meridians, the strength of scrapping, the materials and oils used, the physical condition of individuals; there are many variables involved in gua sha.

“TCM has a truly long history. For the average person in China, it would take some effort to learn about it. As such it may be difficult to understand in the West. Different epistemologies result in different methodologies… Looked at in a positive light, the questioning and disputes concerning gua sha probably show people’s desire to know more about TCM theory,” Sun noted.

Gua sha is not the only type of TCM that the West has been showing an interest in.

Sun gave an example about the spike in interest in cupping therapy after US swimmer Michael Phelps was seen with large purple circles across his back and shoulders. Phelps went on to win a gold medal at the Rio Olympics in 2016. Sun said that given such interest in the TCM treatment, hopefully it may be a matter of time before the West understands and recognizes the health benefits that TCM theory and application can offer.


In traditional Chinese medicine there are three treasures of the human body. These are the Jing(essence), the Qi(energy) and the Shen(spirit). When all three work harmoniously together the body is healthy and the mind is strong. The Jing represents the reserves we have in our body and this is split into prenatal (before birth) and post natal(how we look after it after birth). This is strongly related to our kidneys(like our health bank balance) So if you don’t take care of your important organs like your liver(the engine of the body) your Jing bank balance gradually decreases and may even go into overdraft esiecialkyvas we get older which can cause illness to occur. So protect your three treasures to live a long, happy,healthy life! The candle also represents the three treasures in that we can’t burn the candle at the top and bottom at the same time or we will have no candle left! With many skin conditions like acne and rosacea, we need to dig down to the root cause of the problem and stimulate the body through the skin to heal itself from the inside out just as importantly as what we put on the skin from the outside in to achieve radiant healthy skin and a radiantly healthy body too! It’s so logical and simple!

What time is it? Good question! In Traditional Chinese Medicine(TCM) there are twelve main meridians(energy channels) in your body and the twelve major organs are linked to the meridians. Each organ is linked to an ‘active’ time during any 24 hour period and has different needs both on a nutritional, physical and emotional level. In TCM everything in the body as in life, nature and the universe is about balancing the yin and yang(more on that in my other blog post) so that by following the clock it helps us to understand how we can look after ourselves to give the best to each organ/function so they all can work together like clockwork! This adds a whole new dimension to your health! In all Face Reflexology and Gua Sha tutorials we can use this to understand your body and which organs we need to rebalance to assist in the healing process to achieve your optimum results to look and feel the best you can be! So fascinating!

I believe there is no better drink to boost your skin and your health!

So what’s so go about it?

Well.. there are so many benefits but here are just a few!

Our bodies are made up of approximately 60% water and lack of hydration can severely reduce the effectiveness of all organs and functions in the body including increased constipation, headaches, decreased kidney and liver function to name but a few.This may then show in the skin as the largest organ of elimination of the body as rosacea, acne, psoriasis, dermatitis, dark pigmentation and other skin imbalances.

Honey and lemons are well known for their natural antibiotic and immunity boosting benefits including reduction of phlegm and coughing related conditions and detoxification effects to flush the liver and kidneys improving the overall functioning of the body and may even help regulate your weight if there is not too much honey in the drink (contains natural sugars).

Lemons contain nutrients and beneficial compounds that may help reduce the risk of chronic illnesses like heart disease, esophageal cancer and diabetes. Lemons may also help prevent kidney stones.
Honey lemon water can be enjoyed at any time of the day, including as a relaxing pre-bedtime drink!

How do I make and take it?

Its so simple!
Just mix the juice from half of a lemon or add a slice of fresh lemon and a teaspoon of raw, high-quality honey into a cup of hot or warm water and enjoy!!

Crystals are one of the oldest firms of healing and have always been used for spiritual and protection purposes going right back to ancient times! They have also been used for cosmetics, jewellery, and ritual purposes and are an integral part of Mythology. Crystals speak to us in so many ways and give us so much! Its no surprise that we still love and use them today!

Each type of crystal has different properties, not only the colour, density and feel but the type of energy that it generates and gives to the recipient. That why Crystal Gua sha tools are so attractive and special! The Gua Sha tools I gave curated for my initial myskinserendipity Gua Sha collection are made from green Jade for the heart, healing and balancing many organs and functions of the body and Rose Quartz for the heart, healing and unconditional love💖I will be adding aventurine jade which is a gorgeous deeper green colour for releasing negative energies, good luck, peace and harmony. Crystals need to be cleansed under rubbing water, even better in the healing powers of the sea, then can get recharged in the light of the sun(careful of a fire hazard) and in the light of the moon(full moon is best) to infuse it with positive intentions! Indeed, when you start you self care treatment using your crystal Gua Sha it is good to set an intention to ask your tool to help you heal whatever you need assistance with for your skin, mind, body and spirit and your tool will certainly deliver! They are so magical! So the myskinserendipity Gua Sha collection has been born from ancient earth to bring healing and happiness to your life! They have definitely brought it to mine! I would love to know what is your favourite crystal and why? Then I can expand the range to what you love!