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Gua Sha Facials & The Lymphatic System

Have you ever wondered why rose quartz or jade crystals are used in some facials?

Our Gua Sha facial is based on the ancient Chinese medicine technique that focuses on lymphatic drainage. In the following blog we will provide insight into both the history and functions of the lymphatic system and how these ancient traditions are harnessed in the treatment room in our special Gua Sha Detox facial.  

History of the lymphatic system:

Although the lymphatic system has always existed, it has been historically misunderstood and underutilised. Throughout research found in the production of this blog had a timeline spanning from 500BC to the 2000s full of so many dates of discovery.

Many books and papers were written about the lymph system and later deemed untrue or wrong. The system was first noted in 500BC; referring to a ‘milky fluid’ found during autopsies that we know now as lymph or interstitial fluid.  However, it wasn’t until the 1600’s until it was referred to as ‘lymphatics’ and closer to 1700s when lymph circulation was described by Francis Glisson. 

The most recent discovery of lymphangiogenisis (the creation of lymphatics) was published by Escobedo & Oliver in 2016. There is still so much more to learn from lymph; nevertheless, our understanding and use of lymphatics has come a long way. 

Functions of the lymphatic system:

The lymphatic system has many functions, such as:

  • Homeostasis of fluids in the body- Homeostasis means to achieve equilibrium or balance.
  • Immunity- lymph fluid contains lymphocytes/white blood cells that are immune cells that help to fight invading microorganisms/bacteria.
  • Fat absorption 
  • Nutrition (waste removal) 

Unlike the cardiovascular system which has the heart to pump blood through the body, the lymphatic system requires pressure from our muscles contracting to move the lymph fluid around the lymphatic system and to nodes for waste removal. 

Pathway of lymph:

The lymphatic system works alongside the cardiovascular system. According to Tortora, 2019; about 20 litres of filters from the cardiovascular system; from blood into the interstitial space and is required to be returned to the system to maintain homeostasis (balance). 

The way the systems interact is blood capillaries carry blood plasma to the interstitial space which are picked up by the lymph vessels and travel through the lymph nodes, then the lymph ducts, into the jugular subclavian veins. The two veins combine to the create the superior vena cava.   

Signs of poor lymph function:

  • Puffiness or swelling
  • Sullness/dull complexion 
  • Poor healing 

Lymphatic treatments:

We have a new facial treatment that we have introduced at Complete Skin & Beauty, called the Gua Sha Facial. If you haven’t heard about Gua Sha before; it is an ancient Chinese medicine technique that has been used for decades. Gua Sha provides a beneficial treatment that utilises a Jade or Rose quartz stone specifically designed to improve lymphatic circulation, release muscle tension and reduce puffiness in the skin. 

There are a variety of stone shapes and types that can be used depending on the treatment area (face or body).

During treatment, a balm is applied to the skin to help with the glide of the stones and a specifically designed sequence of lymphatic drainage is performed, moving lymphatic fluid through the vessels to the lymph nodes, the lymph nodes then filter through the fluid with the help of lymphocyte to remove any foreign material and return the filtered fluid back to the circulatory system.

The most important thing to remember with lymphatic drainage is the pressure used and the direction in which the treatment is performed. The lymph vessels are very tiny so if we use too much pressure you can restrict them, halting any kind of benefits. The average lymph vessel is 10 to 80 μm (micrometres) in diameter, compared the aorta which is around 25 millimetres.

Another benefit of the treatment is the use of the gua sha stone on pressure points for muscle tension, areas such as the jaw and the temples can help release tension that increases muscular pull to create wrinkles.

Check your local Complete Skin & Beauty Salon price list to see if they offer this amazing facial.

Emily has been a beauty therapist for 5 years now and has been completing a Bachelor of Dermal Sciences over the last three years. This degree covers the skin in its entirety; including skin conditions, disorders, learning about related body systems such as lymphatics, and modalities related to skin such as Laser/IPL, RF (radio frequency skin tightening), Body Sculpting, Dermal Needling, Electrolysis and Chemical peels. She is a keen reader and loves documentaries, cuddling with her cat and her new hobby of gardening. 

Dermal Clinician
Complete Skin & Beauty Bendigo


Campbell, I. (2017). Protective mechanisms of the body. Anaesthesia & Intensive Care Medicine, 18(3), 138-140.

Natale, G., Bocci, G., & Ribatti, D. (2017). Scholars and scientists in the history of the lymphatic system. Journal of Anatomy, 231(3), 417-429.

Randolph, G. J., Ivanov, S., Zinselmeyer, B. H., & Scallan, J. P. (2017). The Lymphatic System: Integral Roles in Immunity. Annual review of immunology, 35, 31–52.

Sneddon, M., & Elwell, R. (2020). Essential to health yet overlooked: the vital role of the lymphatic system. British Journal of Nursing29(13), 744–747.

Tortora, G. J. (2019). Introduction to the human body, 11th australia and new zealand edition. ProQuest Ebook Central

Tsepkolenko, A., Tsepkolenko, V., Dash, S., Mishra, A., Bader, A., Melerzanov, A., & Giri, S. (2019) The regenerative potential of skin and the immune system. Clin Cosmet Investig Dermatol. 12, 519-532. 

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