We can’t open Instagram, TikTok, and the like without seeing someone rave about Gua Sha. While the practice is experiencing a surge in popularity, it has been around for millions of years. Yes, millions. Gua Sha dates back to the Paleolithic Age 2.5 million years ago, though the current practice really took shape in ancient China during the Ming Dynasty (1368 and 1644). Since then, those who practice traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) have used the technique to alleviate pain or inflammation, increase blood flow, and release tension in the body and face.
We’ve seen the videos of influencers and beauty experts showcasing their complexion transformation after using a Gua Sha tool for a set amount of time. The evidence is there to support Gua Sha’s benefits for the body and face, but we were curious if the technique could do anything for the skin and hair. Can Gua Sha be used for hair growth? What else can it offer? And how can one use Gua Sha for the hair and scalp correctly?
To answer all these questions and more, we spoke with Sandra Lanshin Chiu, Licensed Acupuncturist, Herbalist, and founder of Lanshin. She shares everything you need to know about using Gua Sha for hair growth below!
Gua Sha is incredibly beneficial for the face and body, but can it benefit the hair and scalp in any way?
First things first, we needed to know the hair and scalp benefits Gua Sha had to offer. Surprisingly, Sandra says that following the most common Gua Sha technique already aids the hair and scalp.
“Gua Sha done on the body and face can benefit the hair and scalp by treating specific areas like the neck, which opens circulation into the head/scap/face,” she notes.
However, Sandra doesn’t recommend performing Gua Sha on the scalp the same way you would perform it elsewhere on the body.
“Gua Sha is not performed on the scalp itself, because you would not “Gua” or “scrape” the scalp and hair. That said, Gua Sha tools are very useful for doing acupressure or massage techniques to benefit scalp health,” she mentions.
So, how does Gua Sha work to boost hair growth?
As Sandra mentioned, Gua Sha can be used as a form of acupressure. This is what really stimulates hair growth.
“Acupressure on the scalp using Gua Sha tools can help improve circulation to the scalp, which can support healthy hair growth,” she shares.
While you may be eager to try this practice, it’s not for everyone.
“If someone has an active hair loss condition like alopecia areata, then I would rely on internal herbal treatment and stress management over acupressure or other scalp stimulation techniques,” Sandra stresses.
What is the best method for using a Gua Sha stone on the scalp?
The usual scraping technique should not be used on the scalp. We repeat, you should not scrape your scalp with a Gua Sha tool. Instead, Sandra suggests using the tool in a circular motion.
“As a licensed TCM practitioner, I would use a Gua Sha tool to gently circle specific acupuncture points or areas of concern on the scalp,” she explains. “I like to circle both clockwise and counterclockwise at each point. I would also do Gua Sha on the neck to open important channels of energy and circulation that feed the head/face.”
Lanshin Intro Gua Sha Tool: $62
What should people know before using and purchasing a Gua Sha tool?
Before trying this technique yourself, Sandra highlights how critical it is you check with a doctor first.
“Anyone with the following health conditions should first check with their MD or healthcare provider before practicing Gua Sha or doing scalp work: high blood pressure, risk of clotting disorders, vertigo, or any other chronic illness where caution must be exercised with massage,” she points out.
Additionally, you should be weary of where you get your information from.
“Gua Sha is a medical practice,” she states. “So just as you wouldn’t seek advice from an influencer about doing your own injectables, you should seek guidance about Gua Sha from licensed TCM practitioners.”
This doesn’t just extend to the technique you use, but also the tools you use.
“I recommend buying from brands owned by TCM practitioners, especially those from the East Asian culture where Gua Sha comes from,” Sandra mentions. “Anyone selling the tools should have the education and clinical experience to teach and support consumers practicing facial Gua Sha.”
What are the best Gua Sha stones to use?
There are a number of Gua Sha tools on the market right now. We highly recommend purchasing one from Sandra’s company Lanshin. They offer a number of spoons and tools that will work for your needs. And if you need some extra guidance on how to use your Gua Sha tool, Lanshin has a few tutorials ready for your viewing pleasure.