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What to Know About Gua Sha, the Old-School Crystal Skin Tools Taking Over Instagram

Like its close cousin, the jade roller , facial gua sha is a massage technique designed to relieve tension in the muscles of the face, boost blood circulation and encourage lymphatic drainage to banish bloat. It helps break up fascia — the connective tissue that hugs muscles but can sometimes interfere with optimal circulation — and can even help to make your face look slimmer (albeit temporarily). Devotees swear by its ability to ward off headaches and jaw pain and brighten skin (due to the boost in circulation). Some even consider it a Botox alternative for its ability to unkink settled-in muscle folds.

"Imagine you have a leg injury: The muscles are all knotted up from the trauma and there is scar tissue restricting circulation. You'd be sent for physical therapy to help release the muscles and break down the scar tissue, so that your leg could heal," explains Plug. "The chronic stress of our day-to-day lives plays out on our faces as a furrowed brow, a clenched jaw. Facial gua sha is a therapy we can apply to uncoil the daily buildup of stress we experience in the face, and restore health, vitality and glow."