Gua Sha is an ancient Eastern Modality that uses a stone board/tool on the skin to create intentional friction through a variety of specific techniques. Gua Sha supports the lymphatic system, muscular system, skeletal system, fascia and activates circulation. In addition, Gua Sha techniques work to stimulate blood flow, improve circulation, clear stagnation, tap into the energetic pathways of the face and body, release muscle tension and promote lymphatic drainage.
Gua Sha has been practiced for over 700 years, with some of the first records dating back to the Ming Dynasty 1368-1644 A.D. Although it is said to have been practiced even further back than that. It is still widely practiced today by many Acupuncturists and Doctors of Oriental Medicine.
Gua sha can be practiced on any area of the body to gain its benefits, and is often fused into the practice of holistic esthetics modalities with gentle adjustments. Gua Sha flushes stagnant waste that hides in joints and tissues, which clears space for healthy nutrient exchange throughout the complexion and assists the skin’s own natural intelligence and healing. Due to Gua Sha’s ability to clear stagnant fluid, it also works to create a lifted and sculpted appearance for the face. Gua Sha overall increases vitality and instinctively leaves skin replenished and rejuvenated. The benefits of gua sha massage are truly endless for a healthy and glowing complexion.
How to Use Gua Sha for Eye Lift
Because Gua Sha can be used to melt muscular tension and soften tissue adhesions, it’s also an incredible way to open and lift the connective tissue around the eye area. The eye area can hold a massive amount of tension due to normal everyday eye strain from working on computers for long periods of time to squinting outside in sunlight.
Our main eye muscle, the orbicularis oculi, is a circular sphincter muscle that surrounds the entire eye and can enclose the area when it becomes chronically tense. With the right techniques, a simple Gua Sha routine can release tension and fluid that collects in the orbicularis oculi. This opens the eye area while creating a softer and lifted appearance. This routine can be done in less than 10 minutes so let’s dive into the details.
Step 1. Open the Upper Eye Area
Begin by holding the stone at 45’’ angle, almost flat on the surface of the skin. Hug the inner corner of the eye and start of the inner brow area. Because the eye area is a sensitive area, I recommend or compare to to use the pressure of writing or as a sculptor works around curves and shapes of clay. This is not a deep pressure.
Begin by flushing from the inner corner to the outer corner of the eye area. If you have a lot of tension, work in layers to melt through the tension to soften and open each layer before the next. This gently melts through tension and flushes fresh blood to the area. Movements are deep and slow. You can use the stone to gently nuzzle in the inner corner of the eye to brighten the area if you have a lot of pooled blood or stagnation in this area that creates a dark appearance. Nuzzle the area and continue sweeping and flushing the stone outwards.
Step 2. Friction Activation
Once we’ve opened up under the brow bone, come into light friction in the crows feet area. Friction uses quick and light movements back and forth with your gua sha stone ridges or teeth. This technique helps to bring blood and oxygen flow to the area and “plump” up the area. Fine lines and wrinkles “sink in” if that makes sense. Light friction stimulates and wakes up the area. Hold the skin taught and light cross friction areas of concern. Most importantly, this is not an aggressive move! It is a light cross friction to break up surface stagnation and activate the area.
Step 3. Cat Eye Sculpt
With stone laid flat to the skin, stoke outwards and upwards with a “lifting” of the area. This continues to flush fresh blood into the area and begins to sculpt the outer corner of the eye upwards. This opens the outer eye area in the opposite direction that it tends to enclose inwards with age and tension.
Step 4. Under Eye Drainage
Place stone on the outer corner of lower eye. Give 1-3 light surface skin light tugs to lightly stretch tissue in order to promote lymphatic drainage and flush lymphatic fluid from the area. Move to the center of the under eye area and repeat. Move to the inner corner of the under eye area and repeat. Repeat 1-3 times. Complete this movement by lighty flushing the stone along the eye bone from the inner corner outwards. This is a light lymphatic flush with no pressure in order to clear fluids.
Step 5. Complete Eye Lift
Flush from the upper corner of the eye outwards and bring stone into the hairline. Sweep gently around the lower and upper eye area to flush the entire area. moving to brighten and awaken. Smooth the brow bone, flush the under eye area. If you are working on clearing fluid and puffiness, give a few flushes down the neck to give an extra lymph drain.
What To Use With Gua Sha for Eye Lift
There are a ton of gua sha tools available but this white jade stone by Dela Heart is my personal favorite, as it truly hugs the face contours perfectly. The shape of this stone offers a variety of edges that can be used for lifting, sculpting, friction, drainage and clearing techniques. The teeth are designed for friction techniques shared in step 2 above. And are great for overall flushing stagnant fluid from the skin.
You’ll find this balm in my personal skincare repertoire. I share it with students in my professional esthetician trainings and I’m obsessed with its soft and grounding aroma. The soft aroma alone is spectacular for the eye area. Heavy fragranced products, natural or not, may tend to aggravate the eye area if you are at all sensitive to scent. A little goes a long way with this buttery smooth balm, which makes it an incredible, long lasting balm for Gua Sha and face massage rituals.
Formulated with supportive herbs to help flush and move lymph in the area, this eye balm is the perfect finishing touch product for movement focused eye rituals. Botanicals including cranberry, bilberry and helichrysum support connective tissue health, sooth the area and relieve puffiness. Recommend to remove any excess balm from your gua sha ritual with a warm cloth. Follow with a light layer of Laurel Eye Balm and use tapotement around the eye area to activate and work botanicals deeply into the skin.
There you have it! A quick and supportive eye lift ritual to awaken the area on days that eyes may be feeling stressed and need a little lift.