Gua Sha is one of the most talked about self-care techniques that involves scraping and massaging the skin with a crystal to help stimulate the flow of blood, fluids and energy around the body. It is a holistic practice which is now loved by many celebrities such as Gwyneth Paltow and Elle McPherson, who are said to include Gua Sha facials in their skincare routines.
Chinese medicine practitioner, best-selling author and founder of The Hay’ou Method, Katie Brindle is a rising star in the wellness industry sharing her expertise in Chinese medicine to encourage people to use simple self-care techniques and Gua Sha tools to nurture the mind, body and spirit.
We chatted to Katie about all things Gua Sha and to learn why we should be adding this to our beauty regime..
What inspired you to set up The Hayo’u Method?
Actually I wanted to be an opera singer! But I had a car accident, and that dream was taken away from me. After I found the cure for my health issues came from Chinese medicine, I was inspired.
I studied Traditional Chinese medicine and qualified as a Five Elements Chinese medical practitioner. I quickly realised that the prevention and self-treatment of illness was the secret of longevity in ancient China. When my patients practiced the self-care techniques I suggested in between treatments, they would get better so much more quickly. There is a great Chinese proverb – ‘Dig the well before you are thirsty’ in Taoist philosophy which is based on the principle that it is far better to stop yourself getting sick than waiting to get sick and then fixing it.
And so I created The Hayo’u Method. Hayo’u is a gua sha tools and wellness brand, combining the ancient wisdom of Chinese medicine with innovative tools that achieve long lasting results in just one minute of daily use.
What is Gua Sha and what are the benefits of Gua Sha?
Gua sha is an amazing therapeutic healing technique, that has been widely practised in China for thousands of years. It involves using a round-edged tool, traditionally made from materials such as jade or metal, to press-stroke the skin until redness appears. You can even use a jam jar lid!
Gua sha has been used to treat a whole range of conditions from fever to chronic cough and migraines.
But that’s not all. Gua sha is also renowned for maintaining and strengthening the constitution, directly support the immune system and even improving your sleep.
What is the difference between facial and body Gua Sha?
Well, simply that you practice facial on your face and body on your body – it’s exactly the same technique, you just use different tools! We use crystals on the face and metal on the body.
Facial gua sha is a game changing technique for transforming your skin. Gua sha activates the healing mechanism of your skin to stimulate collagen and elastin to lift, plump and sculpt; leaving you with a radiant glow.
Using a gua sha tool allows you to work deeper into the muscles and fascia than by using fingers alone, so you can consciously release where you are knotted or tight.
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.
Will it help minimise fine lines and wrinkles?
Yes! The technique boosts microcirculation, which stimulates the production of collagen and elastin.
Will it help with weight loss?
The tool to focus on for weight loss is really the Beauty Restorer comb. Body combing with a jade comb promotes lymphatic drainage, encourages the circulatory system to clear toxins and stimulates the energy channels to rebalance the body; making it effective for weight loss, water retention and reducing cellulite. In fact, our own jade comb is an award-winning anti-cellulite tool!
‘Dig the well before you are thirsty’, the Taoist philosophy is wholly based on the principle that it is far better to stop yourself getting sick than waiting to get sick and then fixing it.
Will it help reduce acne scarring?
Gua sha brings fresh blood to the surface of the skin. This stimulates skin cells regeneration, hence reducing the visibility of acne scars. But please do not gua sha over acne itself. You have to work around it until the acne itself has gone.
Can it help relieve migraines?
Yes. You can work around the neck, shoulders and head to allow Qi and blood to circulate freely to the head. I’d also recommend daily gua sha around the cheek bones. And often working on the chest will help, as the culprit is commonly excess heat in the body.
How often should we Gua Sha?
You can do it as often as you like, just make sure you wait for any redness on the skin to fade before you re-treat. Start by focusing on the chest, neck and upper back because it helps to clear lymph, moves blood and reduces inflammation – which weakens one’s immunity. The lymph nodes and tonsils are all in that area, so this motion keeps them clear and working at full capacity.
You can reach most areas of the body yourself; and rope in a friend or partner to treat your back.
What is the difference between Gua Sha and a roller?
Using a Gua Sha tool allows you to work deeper into the muscles and fascia for a more effective tension release. The curved points are used to activate specific acupressure points on the face and ensure good Qi flow. It’s the next level of beauty treatment. In fact, the Jade roller was traditionally used after facial Gua Sha to calm the skin after the real work had been done!
What is your favourite Gua Sha crystal tool?
That’s like asking me to choose between my children! I love all of them!
The Beauty Restorer is my go to beauty tool, every day without exception. It just gives me the most gorgeous skin no matter how I’m looking before.
I love the Rose Quartz Precision because it works! Just a few small strokes and my lips are plumped, eyes are bright. It’s also an amazing prep for make-up.
And the Beauty Restorer Comb is a proper multi-tasker. It boosts blood flow and stimulates acu-points on your scalp, whilst targeting cellulite and releasing stagnation in the body.
What are your 5 favourite beauty products you cannot live without?