What is gua sha?
Gua sha is a traditional Chinese medicine ancient healing technique that has been used for centuries to treat a variety of medical conditions. It involves the use of a smooth-edged tool to massage and scrape the skin.
If you have visited traditional Chinese medicine practitioners to relieve symptoms and treat ailments, you may have experienced gua sha techniques -even with a Chinese spoon! Performing gua sha can help improve blood flow and circulation and promote healing. In this blog post, we will discuss the history and benefits of gua sha treatment.
What is gua sha therapy and how does it work
Whilst being an ancient chinese medicine technique, the practice of gua sha is still used today as a way to promote healing and well-being. Gua sha works by stimulating circulation and lymphatic flow. The scraping action is said to help break up stagnation and move energy through the body. Proponents of gua sha believe that the therapy can help to relieve muscle pain, joint pain, neck pain, chronic pain, reduce inflammation and boost immunity.
While gua sha is generally considered safe, it's important to consult with a qualified practitioner before trying the therapy particularly if you have any existing medical conditions.
The history of gua sha
The first written record of gua sha dates back to the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). Gua sha was originally used as a folk medicine practice to treat colds and flu, but it eventually became a mainstream therapy in TCM - traditional Chinese medicine. The name gua sha comes from the Chinese word for “to scrape.” Gua sha involves scraping the skin with a smooth instrument to promote circulation and encourage healing.
Gua sha is believed to be beneficial for a variety of health concerns, including pain relief, colds and flu and digestive problems. Fans of gua sha say that the practice can help to move stagnant qi -energy - in the body. In TCM, qi is thought to flow through pathways in the body called meridians. If qi becomes stagnant, it is believed to cause illness.
Benefits of gua sha therapy
Gua sha is a traditional Chinese therapy that involves using a tool to massage the skin. As already mentioned, this therapy is said to improve circulation, reduce inflammation, and relieve pain. Gua sha is often used as a treatment for colds and flu, as well as for pain associated with arthritis, headaches, and backaches.
Some studies have shown that gua sha may be effective in reducing the symptoms of these conditions. In addition, gua sha massage is said to improve overall health by boosting the immune system, reducing stress levels and improving sleep quality. While more research is needed to confirm these claims, there is no doubt that gua sha is a safe and effective way to improve your health especially when performed by a professional.
How to perform gua sha on yourself
Gua sha massage is a safe and easy therapy that you can perform on yourself at home. However, it's important to consult with a qualified practitioner before trying the therapy. This is especially important if you have a medical condition or are taking medication.
First, choose a gua sha tool that feels comfortable in your hand and has a smooth surface. You can find gua sha tools made of different materials such as jade, stainless steel, clear quartz or ceramic as mentioned earlier.
Next, find a comfortably place to sit or lie down.
Once you're seated or lying down, gently hold the gua sha tool in your hand and begin scraping it across your skin. Be sure to use light pressure and long strokes. You can use the gua sha tool on any area of the body that feels stiff or painful. It is best when using any gua sha tool on your body to use a body oil to ensure the gua sha doesn't drag across your skin. You may also wish to practice gua sha in the shower or bath and use water to allow the gua sha tool to glide across your body.
If you're new to gua sha, it's best to start with a small area of the body and gradually increase the size of the area you're treating.
For more instructions on how to use your gua sha tool in a safe and effective manner, I highly recommending watching videos by Katie Brindle who as well as developing gua sha facial and body tools is a doctor of traditional Chinese medicine.
Facial Gua Sha
Gua sha can be performed on the face, neck and décolletage, and is often used in combination with other beauty treatments such as facials and massages. While the exact benefits of facial gua sha are still being studied, many believe that the practice can help to improve skin tone and texture, reduce puffiness and wrinkles, and promote a youthful-looking complexion. The practice is said to improve circulation, increase collagen production and brighten the complexion. This is due to the positive effects on lymphatic drainage and blood circulation.
Facial massage using gua sha has been gaining popularity in recent years and is now a modern practice. There are a number of beauty products on the market that claim to offer similar beauty benefits. However, it's important to be careful when using these products, as it's easy to damage the delicate skin on your face. Just be sure to use a gentle touch and avoid any areas that are particularly sensitive. It is most important to use a facial oil before using any facial tool and avoid broken skin. Wellness professionals recommend the use of a rose quartz gua sha, jade gua sha tools or a nephrite jade facial tool.
Risks and side effects of gua sha therapy
As with any kind of therapy, there are some risks and side effects associated with gua sha. The most common side effect is bruising, which usually disappears within a few days. It is also possible to develop petechiae, small bruises that appear as red or purple spots on the skin. In rare cases, more severe bruising can occur which may require medical attention.
There is also a risk of developing blood blisters, which are more often seen in people who have thinner skin. If you experience any pain or discomfort during the treatment, be sure to let your therapist know so they can adjust the pressure accordingly. Overall, gua sha is considered a safe and effective therapy when performed by a trained professional.
There are many gua sha benefits in treating various health conditions such as chronic neck pain, tight muscles and muscle pain and is a massage technique that can be used on connective tissue to relieve tension in the body. It has even been said that gua sha can help with perimenopausal symptoms - something definitely worth investigating further!
Whilst there are many different gua sha tools that can be used on the body and for the face, my favourite for the body is the jade gua sha called the Jade Body Comb Massager and for the face is the Rose Quartz Beauty Restorer.