By Chrisanthi Kaliviotis

Trends move very quickly in beauty land, particularly when it comes to tools and devices. First, we were rollin’ (jade rolling, that is). Then we were Gua Sha-in’. But now, we body Gua Sha-in’. Yes, that flat, smooth, heart-shaped stone has made its way down south — and to great effect.

Long before our IGTVs were filled with beauty queens pulling pretty slabs of stone across their face in the hope of carving Bella Hadid-like cheekbones and bouncy skin à la Hailey Bieber, Gua Sha was a technique used way back in the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), a type of traditional Chinese medicine. Google the term, and you will likely see some very interesting, rather alarming images of full-body bruising, but this is Gua Sha in its purest form: the skin is scraped to produce light petechiae, a release of toxic bodily matter from the blood inside fatigued or injured muscle areas, which in turn stimulates new oxygenated blood and promotes the flow of energy and all-round healing.

The modern beauty version, however, is much less abrasive and involves no bruising (phew), instead leaves you with beautifully plump, rosy, radiant-looking skin (among a host of other benefits). It works on a similar principle of ‘pulling’ or ‘scraping’, but is performed with a light hand, a precious stone – Rose Quartz or Jade – and the aid of a facial oil. But the big trend for 2021 is body Gua Sha, which unlike its crystalline counterpart, uses a metal device to relieve pain, release tension and reduce inflammation.

Acclaimed Chinese medicine practitioner, best-selling author and Net-a-Porter beauty expert, Katie Brindle preaches the practise of Gua Sha wholeheartedly. Her brand, Hayo’u, distills thousands of years of Chinese wisdom into potent little devices that promise big on self-care. Hayo’u’s ‘Body Restorer’ is her tool of the trade for a body reset. Made from stainless steel, this massage tool works to relieve muscular pain and soothe headaches, so you get a better night’s sleep (and we all need that). And Brindle’s tip for pure body bliss? “Use the Gua Sha tool in the shower.” ‘Cause a Gua Sha (in a hot shower) a day, keeps counting sheep at bay.

It’s also great (and safe!) for pregnant women trying to rid their body of the inevitable fluid that abounds, as discovered by CEO and Founder of Imbibe, Felicity Evans. “During my pregnancy, I was desperate to find something non-invasive and safe that could help me with the excess fluid I felt like I was carrying and make me feel ‘in’ my skin again,” she explains. “So we created ‘Contour’ —  a lymphatic drainage and micro-trauma tool that can be used over your whole body, rather than just the face.”

Hayo'u Body Restorer

Shop on Net-A-Porter

Imbibe Contour Body Gua-Sha

Shop on Imbibe

Imbibe’s full body copper Gua Sha “works by creating micro-traumas on the skin’s surface which encourage fresh blood flow and fresh Collagen production (i.e. fresh skin).” It’s also a great at-home lymphatic drainage massage. “Apply a little pressure (not too much) and stroke across your body towards your heart.”

When it comes to technique, place the concave curved side skin-down and using long, firm, sweeping strokes, glide the Contour from your ankles UP over calves, thighs, abdomen and buttocks towards the heart. Using the same motion over your neck, chest and arms, trace DOWN towards the heart.

Remember, to get your Gua Sha on, skin must be well lubricated — either wet or oiled up — as the tool needs to glide without tugging the skin (aka unsolicited friction!).

And all it takes is 60 seconds to get everything flowing and glowing and gorgeous again. Even the busiest of busybodies have time for that. 

Chrisanthi Kaliviotis is a journalist, editor, copywriter and creative consultant across fashion, beauty and lifestyle brands and publications. She has worked with some of Australia’s leading publications & global brands in her 10 year stint, her most recent being with Grazia Australia and Broadsheet, she enjoys longs walks on the beach, Greek food, great wine and doesn’t mind letting her hair down for a good time…