Does gua sha help with lymphatic drainage?

Diving into science behind the social media sensation

Gua sha saw its debut in the stone Age as a cornerstone of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). According to the principles of TCM, your qi (pronounced "chi"), or energy, must flow smoothly through the body so you can feel your best. When it becomes trapped in an area, health problems occur. In TCM, it is said that the "scraping" motion of the Gua Sha relieves several health conditions by promoting the flow of both qi and blood to the affected area.

 While the energy aspect of Gua sha has yet to be proven by Western medicine, the Chinese were right about one thing: Self-massage using Gua sha stones is incredible at promoting circulation. Today, this ancient practice has taken the internet by storm, where social media influencers boast anti-aging and sculpting effects, showing off snatched jawlines and glowing skin.

 But how true are the claims made on their behalf? Can Gua Sha truly make your face go from puffy to chiselled in a matter of weeks? Keep reading to discover the truth about Gua sha - Does it really help with lymphatic drainage, or is it just another Tiktok trend?

The science-backed benefits of Gua sha

Gua sha's social media fans cannot stop talking about their mind-blowing physical transformations. While science has yet to support the truly dramatic claims of online users, do not give up on these tools just yet. Their use offers many other proven benefits: 

  • Increases blood circulationPoor blood circulation can contribute to wrinkles, inflammation, and a dull complexion. You increase blood circulation when you apply gentle pressure to the areas most affected (in this case, your face). The increase in blood flow gives your skin a healthy glow, reduces inflammation, and promotes the healing of things like acne scars.
  •  Increases lymph circulationGua sha can help you to guide excess lymph back into your lymph nodes, giving your face a contoured, less puffy appearance. 
  •  Reduces tensionMost of us hold stress and anxiety in our jaw and neck. Gua sha can help release the tension in your muscles thanks to the same gentle pressure you might experience during a massage. When your muscles are released, it might give the temporary appearance of a more sculpted face.

Gua sha in the medical world

Gua sha is more than just a beauty tool. In fact, studies have shown that Gua Sha might help reduce the severity of the following health issues:

  • Muscular tension

  • Tension headaches and migraines

  • Neck pain

  • Swelling and puffiness

  • Inflammation

  • Sinus pressure

  • Acne

When used in conjunction with acupuncture, Gua Sha may also help to reduce:

  • Anxiety

  • Fatigue

  • Insomnia

  • Perimenopausal symptoms

The benefits listed above make a lot of sense. After all, Gua sha is essentially a DIY massage tool that promotes healthy blood and lymph flow - And we all know how incredible massage is for you. Studies have even shown that long-term use of this tool might even permanently improve the health of the body's blood and lymph vessels.

Does Gua sha help with lymphatic drainage?

Long story short: Yes, Gua sha can help to drain the lymph from your face, reducing puffiness and dark circles. Careful, though - If your lymphatic system is blocked for a medical reason, Gua sha alone won't provide you with the treatment you need. Instead, you might turn to lymphatic drainage massage, a gentle form of massage that encourages lymph flow and reduces swelling, providing instant relief from your symptoms. 

Learn more about lymphatic drainage massage here

Proceed with caution! 

There are potential risks involved with the use of Gua sha for self-massage, such as dermatitis, minor burns, and infection. Therefore, educate yourself on the proper Gua sha techniques and side-effects before use here.

Let's begin!